15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 28 June 2005
This is one of the most accessible recordings by Sun Ra (formerly refused by a major like Columbia) but the Maestro is in total command of his art and the Arkestra in full glory! So if you need one essential recording of their eighties output this is it...Anyway there's no experimental free music here but mostly beautiful synth/organ driven grooves in a space-jazz context, very listenable and full of ideas. The title track, originally issued as a 12" maxi-single on the Y label (UK) is a pure masterpiece of black popular art: a sort of jazz-hip hop anthem sung by Ra that was a classic in the Arkestra live sets during the eighties (see "Live at Praxis 84" or the "Mystery Mr.Ra" video) inspiring later recordings like Guru's Jazzmatazz and others. The cover versions here are fantastic examples of how Ra & his Arkestra could send Duke Ellington or Charlie Chaplin flying on a magic carpet! And now the bad news: the source is the original vinyl and not exactly in the mint condition. The problem is that obviously we are not talking about a low-fi acetate from the 20's but a 1982 recording; even the original Saturn masters from the late fifties sound great (see the Evidence discs). The liner notes say that the Unhear Music Series used the best possible LP for this remastering. The cd label is a replica of the Italian LP label and you can even read "Distribuzione Dischi Ricordi" on the cover. It's a real mystery (or a spell by Mr.Ra himself?) that the masters don't exist anymore because Ricordi (now BMG) was one of the biggest Italian labels, publishings & distributors not exactly a small indie company. A strange fact indeed: this is the only reason I gave it 4 stars...Maybe the original masters will see the light someday...
I can only add that as usual with Ra this great black music stands above all technical imperfections and even if you're not a big fan you'll find Nuclear War a real pleasure! Ultrarecommended!
This wonderful album was eventually issued in 1984 by the British independent label Y RECORDS but had limited circulation. It was recorded in New York during September, 1982 with Sun Ra(piano, synthesizer, organ, vocals); June Tyson(vocals); John Gilmore(tenor saxophone); Marshall Allen(alto saxophone, flute); Danny Ray Thompson(baritone saxophone, flute); James Jacson(bassoon, infinity drum); Walter Miller(trumpet); Tyrone Hill(trombone, vocals); Vincent Chancey(French horn); Hayes Burnett(bass); Samarai Celestial(drums) & Atakatune(conga, percussion).
The eight varied tracks are a mix of Ra originals and standards. 'Nuclear War', simultaneously hilarious and chilling, is an early protest rap("If they push that button your ass gotta go") which Sun Ra offered to COLUMBIA RECORDS who declined. It was released in 1982 by Y RECORDS as a 12" single b/w 'I Want To Be Happy' featuring underrated vocalist June Tyson.
This is one the most enjoyable and accessible albums in Sun Ra's bewilderingly vast catalogue and deserves to be much better known.
BTW ~ The Y RECORDS master tape for this album was lost so the cleanest possible vinyl copy was used for remastering.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 10 February 2009
My review of "Nuclear War" cd was automatically copied & pasted by Amazon from the ATAVISTIC cd version. I never heard the Japanese version of this album, hopefully was taken from the master tape... any update is welcome!