Sun Ra: Nuclear War
Sun Ra (keyboards, vocals)
Nuclear War (Atavistic Unheard Music Series UMS/ALP222CD)
June Tyson (vocals), Tyrone Hill (vocals).
Recorded: New York, September 1982
Rating: 80/100 (learn more)
Did Sun Ra really think he could get this song played on the radio? The same two bars and two chords repeated over and over for nearly eight minutes? Ra and his backup singers reciting FCC-unfriendly lyrics that contain a 12-word noun commonly heard in the R-rated films of Quentin Tarantino? The record is credited to the whole Arkestra, but only Sun Ra’s unadorned keyboard playing and Samarai Celestial’s slow-groove, disco-flavored drumming can be detected on this tune. The story goes that Sun Ra was dismayed that Columbia Records declined to issue the single. Yes, OK, “Nuclear War” is a tongue-in- cheek novelty record for grownups, but it’s also oddly infectious music. Hey, Yo La Tengo thought so. The indie-rock band recorded a long EP featuring four completely different versions of the song that are also worth checking out.
Reviewer: Steve Greenlee
Tags: 1980s jazz