“Full Moon” Fever

Following the recent use of Eden Ahbez’s “Full Moon” in the FX series Fargo, there has been a wave of interest in the song and the album it originally came from: Eden’s Island.

Of special interest for us here are the new covers of “Full Moon” on YouTube.

The first I noticed was a straight poetry reading of the song, recited quietly and earnestly by a novelist named Jason Goldtrap. At times, he sounds a bit like poet Rod McKuen, whose soft, husky baritone had a soothing effect on spoken word albums from the 1960s and ’70s.

More recent is a version by an artist named Tommy Foley, who does a ukulele, guitar, and bass version (see below).

These instruments are shown being played on the right side of the video screen, whilst the left side shows Foley himself acting out the song’s lyrics, as filmed on the shores of Lake Michigan.

I suspect these are not the last covers. However, there was one earlier version that merits mentioning.

The Wondermintssoundtrackers of the first Austin Powers movie and backing band for Beach Boy Brian Wilson since 1999did a version of “Full Moon” back in 1998, for a compilation album called Delphonic Sounds Today: Del-Fi Does Del-Fi. By far the most produced of the three cover versions, it begins with a chorus of the “Eden’s Island” title song, then dips rather quirkily into a lush, irony-filled version of “Full Moon.’ Indeed, the singer sounds slightly nerdy, almost as if attempting to lighten the heaviness of Ahbez’s original and have a bit of fun with it.

I should also note that a few other covers from Eden’s Island have been recorded over the years. First was the title song, which fellow exotica pioneer Arthur Lyman recorded in 1963 for his Blowin’ in the Wind LP.

The second was done 41 years later when folk singer Victoria Williams recorded “Mongoose” for her Sings Some Old Folk Songs album of 2004. 013a

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