Monday, July 11, 2005

Space is the Place

I know, I know...where the hell's the damn Country and Western I'm supposed to be posting all the time. Fear not, you'll get yr fill soon enough.

Til then, and cuz I feel like it, a little (all that)Jazz of a sort today. Or maybe it's not jazz. Could be doo wop, or blues, or just good ol'fashioned pop music. From Saturn.

I'm a big fan of Jazz as a genre, some styles more than others. But, truth be told, I'm a novice when it comes to talking about it. I simply don't know enough to intelligently discuss it. Particularly when there are blogs out there specializing in Jazz. I've also noticed when making mixes that it's tricky to isolate individual songs on most albums, as they're often of a piece, if not musically then thematically. Anywise, a wise fool once said to stick with what you know. And, you know, I don't know much, but I, erm, know what I like, or sumtin'.

Sun Ra came to Earth, for a brief time, from his home planet of Saturn. Some would like to insist otherwise, but pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Look no further than his obscenely large (and hard to collect) body of music as proof that the man was nothing less than otherwordly.

He's classified as Jazz (or, avant-Jazz, whatever that is), with big band and swing overtones early on, but seems equally comfortable stylistically in warped R&B, street corner DooWop among the stars, and Rock and Roll as heard bouncing off the tin insides of a lost spaceship somewhere out in the cosmos. I've rarely, if ever encountered an artist harder to pin down. Probably the way he liked it.

There's as many Sun Ra recordings as there are stars in the sky, under various combos and names. A couple of good places to start searching are here and here. Way more info than I can provide on the man himself can be found here and here.

Couple tracks, then, to whet yr appetites for a lifetime of collecting and record bin trawling. One from We Travel the Spaceways, and one from one of my favorite records of all time, the dark Walt Disney tribute, Stay Awake. His choice of Disney cover, in particular is brilliant and apt, and watch for the drunkenly chanting Arkestra.

Sun Ra and His Myth-Science Arkestra: Interplanetary Music (mp3)

Sun Ra and His Arkestra: Pink Elephants on Parade (mp3)

Saturn is a proudly independent planet.


guapo said...

well....I`m going to Saturn!

FMF said...

Much thanks for the Stay Awake track. Is that album still in print? I never seem to be able to find it, and I'm a huge Sun fan, forty or fifty albums already and god knows how many to go.

Also, if there's one thing the Arkestra never was, it was drunk. They were pretty much a prototypical straight-edge commune. Ra didn't even like them to have sex.

sleepybomb said...

ya gotta admit, this is about as far from country as the laws of the universe allow.
i just really dig 'pink elephants . . '.
there'll never be another like ra!