Sun Ra Arkestra – Nuclear War Y Records Y RA 2 (1984)
A thoroughly enjoyable late period album from the Sun Ra Arkestra. The title track with its sing-speak vocals from Ra and a few bandmates is something unique, even for this eccentric group of performers. While “Nuclear War” may be the main attraction, there is a lot more to like. Much of the rest of the album is pretty mellow, with Ra mostly playing what sounds like a roller rink or baseball stadium organ. Anyone wanting to call this interstellar lounge music has probably hit it on the head. While the performances hardly aim for the stratosphere there is an energy that the Arkestra wouldn’t be able to muster a few years on (compare Mayan Temples). This is just pleasant, guileless music. So if you can’t appreciate the grooving sax on “Blue Intensity,” June Tyson‘s breathy vocals on Charlie Chaplin‘s “Smile” (Michael Jackson‘s favorite song), or the gentle if slightly off-kilter big band charts sprinkled through other cuts, then, well, you might want to take your blinders off and give this another try. The same recording sessions produced Celestial Love and A Fireside Chat With Lucifer.