Moondog was ahead of his time in the 60s, and to be honest he’s probably still ahead of our time.
The sheer surrealist lunacy of some of his music is breathtaking, but when he makes music with easily recognisable melodies and rhythms, it’s obvious that he was a brilliant composer.
“Bird’s Lament” is a song written to commemorate Charlie Parker, the Jazz musician. It is a chaconne, which means a short, repetitive piece, and in the album is called “Lament 1”.
The piece makes good use of brass to create feeling of mystery, and was in fact covered to great effect by the London Saxophonic Orchestra.
The original is faster and more sonically diverse. It’s a serious sort of song, commemorating a death, but the variation does put you in mind of a bird.
Moondog himself was a notable eccentric, known to many as “The Viking Of Sixth Avenue” because of his habit of walking around New York in a strange Viking costume.
He was also blind from age 16, which makes his achievements all the more impressive.
“Lament 1 (Bird’s Lament)” was released on the 1969 album Moondog.