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SUN RA: Nuclear War
From the Unheard Music series, a studio recording from 1982 which John Corbett thinks is to the '80s what 'Space is the Place' was to the '70s: a classic. However Ra was unable to sell it to a major label (perhaps because of the language, mainstay of rap today but scary for major labels then. ...'nuclear war, it's a motherfucker. If they push that button - your ass gotta go.... you can kiss your ass goodbye. What you gonna do without your ass? &c). It was eventually picked up by Dick O'Dell in the UK for his post punk label 'Y', but they released only two tracks of it on a 12 inch single. Two years later the whole LP was prepared for release in Italy but was never adequately distributed. So for most Ra fans this is the first opportunity to hear it. Good sound, fine arrangements. The title song is a gem and exquisitely realised. For the rest a 12 piece Arkestra which includes Gilmore, Allen, Thompson, Jacson and the incomparable June Tyson. Mostly Ra compositions, with a classic version of Ellington's 'Drop me off in Harlem' and Chaplin's 'Smile'. Plenty of synthesiser and electric keyboards from Ra throughout and some fine drums (Samarai Celestial credited). Apart from the great title track however, this is the straighter '80s swing style Ra.