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The Moondoggies: Don’t Be A Stranger [Album Review]

Written by Fense

Wow, everyone seems to be channeling 60s and 70s folk these days and you can add The Moondoggies to that ever-growing list of bands. Don’t Be A Stranger can be found somewhere between the folkier side of Crosby Stills Nash and Young, and country-ish side of Neil Young himself. All this is apparent in opener “Ain’t No Lord”. Hell, you can even toss The Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd and Grateful Dead in as further influences.

Now, that doesn’t mean The Moondoggies aren’t worth a damn, cause I’ll tell you now: they are. Don’t Be A Stranger is that perfect road-trip album for driving along I-90 as you head through the rural areas of the country, or as you burn up the pavement on rural back roads. Roll down the windows. Crank up the tunes. Yeah.

The backing music may side on the folk and country of the 60s and 70s, but the vocals have an added soul in them–there’s a heartfelt, if not spiritual, element that push forth the better side of Summer Of Love, minus much of the psychedelic and pop elements, of course. It’s like Summer Of Love for the Midwest.

And Midwest is right. The Moondoggies inject several tunes with a religious aspect that is impossible to overlook–but don’t let that sway you, they’re spiritual along the same lines as The Cave Singers. Listen: It’s time I start changing from “Changing” and Jesus gonna save my soul from “Save My Soul” and If you’re sick and you wanna get well / Tell Him what you want from the soulful hand-clapper “Jesus On The Mainline”.

All this leads you to think the group could easily be from Ohio or Kentucky or even Nebraska or Tennessee. You wouldn’t think The Moondoggies hail from an urban location like Seattle, but they do. Proggy folk? Country-tinged jams? Sure thing. These songs are just as fitting for ol’ country church sing-a-longs as they are for that old popular country tavern.

Photo by Greg Lutze.

Don't Be A Stranger by The Moondoggoes

Hardly Art [CD, 2008]

1. Ain’t No Lord
2. Black Shoe
3. Ol’ Blackbird
4. Save My Soul
5. Changing
6. Night & Day
7. Undertaker
8. Jesus On The Mainline
9. Long Time Coming
10. Old Hound
11. Make It Easy
12. Bogachiel Rain Blues
13. I Want You To Know

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