The Viking of 6th Avenue

In the late 1940s the blind, Louis Thomas Hardin (Moondog), rejected the conventions of society and made his life on the streets of New York, his clothes were bizarre, based on his imagined vision of the Norse god Thor. Viking gods and Indian chiefs shaped Hardin’s life and music. As a child he was a drummer at school and played tom-tom drums on the lap of Chief Yellow Calf at the Arapaho Sun Dance, the rhythms of the Native American’s made their mark and appear in his earliest recordings.

Another influence on Hardin was a dog that would constantly howl at the moon, he took the name Moondog in the hounds honour. With his Viking helmet, poetry and drums Moondog was not easily missed and soon became a recognised character to the Jazz musicians and club goers of 52nd Street. Moondog’s first two LPs, released on CBS Records, are curious artifacts, mixing drumming and Jazz with environmental sounds, traffic and boat horns.

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