Friday, February 29, 2008


Moondog? You might know he was some iconic self-created musician with a fetish for Viking gear. Blackstone? The name might conjure up a magician or the name of a finance company.
But as the late 60's festered into the 70's, a group called Blackstone recorded this tribute to Moondog, and stuck it on their debut album. Their record label had high hopes. Quoting the album notes:
"Noise proves nothing," Mark Twain once wrote, "often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she had laid an asteroid." Blackstone, the young men who make their debut with this album, are destined to make a lot of noise in the music business...after five months of intensive rehearsals in a New Jerey garage, they came to the studio and laid the asteroid contained herein..."
Let's not dwell on "laid the asteroid..." it's just not fair to pick on a band just because it never succeeded. Actually, ONE member definitely did. It wasn't lead vocalist Tom Flynn, but the drummer Max Weinberg. Yes, once he shaved off the walrus mustache, and found another Jersey boy by the name of Springsteen, Max was on his way.
Here's "Moondog," a pretty good ballad from the Blackstone album.
The guys in the band probably knew of Moondog the way most in the tri-state area did; as this blind nutjob in a Viking hat who staked out a piece of Manhattan for "performance art" (before there was a term for it). He earned spare change and, way after this particular tribute song, a lot of respect as some kind of legend.
With moody organ leading the way, and Max offering a cane tap for a beat, the pithy opening lines: "A blind man sees more than I can. He's learned to love and understand." More pith: "He's got a lot of life left in his soul, and that Moondog can learn to rock and roll." With a Ringo chug, Max gets his drum kit in gear and tries to put some backbone into Blackstone (yes, "there will be violins on this track") and his drums help push out some of the overweening sentiment.
Hit the link and get your taste of this bar band with a conscience, as they sing the praises of Moondog...little realizing that he would go on to his own record deal, have Janis Joplin cover one of his songs, and generally do a whole lot better than any band member except Max.

MOONDOG by BLACKSTONE Listen on line or download. No porn ads, pop ups or other patoots.

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