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The Singles

16 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 24, 1996
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Sun Ra maintained a big band from 1955 until his death in 1993, even though he was even further out on the fringe of the music industry than Charles Mingus, who only held onto smaller groups. Sun Ra consistently maintained he came from another planet-and his taste in clothes and harmonies lent some credence to the claim-but he also felt he could connect with a broad terrestrial audience, which is why he continually released singles on his Saturn label. Some of these singles were his trademark space-jazz, but most of them were more down-to-earth-doo-wop, blues, R&B vocals, swing standards, novelty songs and big-band dance numbers. Yet they all had the Sun Ra touch, which made them weird and worldly all at once. --Geoffrey Himes

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. A Foggy Day - The Nu Sounds
  2. Daddy's Gonna Tell You No Lie - The Cosmic Rays
  3. Dreaming - The Cosmic Rays
  4. Daddy's Gonna Tell You No Lie - The Cosmic Rays
  5. Bye Bye - The Cosmic Rays
  6. Somebody's In Love - The Cosmic Rays
  7. Medicine For A Nightmare - Arkestra
  8. Saturn - Arkestra
  9. Supersonic Jazz - Arkestra
  10. Happy New Year To You - The Qualities
  11. It's Christmas Time - The Qualities
  12. Muck Muck - Yochanan
  13. Hot Skillet Mama - Yochanan
  14. Great Balls Of Fire - Arkestra
  15. Hours After - Arkestra
  16. Teenager's Letter Of Promises - Juanita Rodgers
  17. I'm So Glad You Love Me - Juanita Rodgers
  18. The Sun One - Yochanan
  19. The Sun Man Speaks - Yochanan
  20. The Sun Man Speaks - Yochanan
  21. October - Sun Ra
  22. Adventure In Space - Sun Ra
  23. Message To Earthman - Yochanan
  24. Message To Earthman - Yochanan & Sun Ra And Arkestra
  25. State Street - Sun Ra

Disc: 2

  1. The Blue Set - Sun Ra
  2. Big City Blues - Sun Ra
  3. Tell Her To Come On Home - Little Mack
  4. I'm Making Believe - Little Mack
  5. The Bridge - Sun Ra
  6. Rocket # 9 - Sun Ra
  7. Blues On Planet Mars - Sun Ra
  8. Saturn Moon - Sun Ra
  9. The Sky Is Crying - Lacy Gibson
  10. She's My Baby - Lacy Gibson
  11. I Am Gonna Unmask The Batman - Lacy Gibson
  12. I Want An Easy Woman - Lacy Gibson
  13. I'm Gonna Unmask The Batman - Sun Ra
  14. The Perfect Man - Sun Ra
  15. Journey To Saturn - Sun Ra
  16. Enlightenment - Sun Ra
  17. Love In Outer Space - Sun Ra
  18. Mayan Temple - Sun Ra
  19. Disco 2100 - Sun Ra
  20. Sky Blues - Sun Ra
  21. Rough House Blues - Sun Ra
  22. Cosmo-Extensions - Sun Ra
  23. Quest - Sun Ra
  24. Outer Space Plateau - Sun Ra

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 24, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Evidence
  • ASIN: B0000014N7
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,102 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By gtra1n VINE VOICE on June 1, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This is a treasure-trove of some of the most unexpected and fascinating music from Sun Ra. As a lot of the descriptions point out, this is mostly R&B style pop music - it was all literally made as 45' singles, meant for juke-box play. The surprising part, of course, is that one of the great avant-garde jazz musicians would make these records, but on reflection it's really not so strange. The avant-garde in jazz, with Sun Ra and the Art Ensemble as great examples, have always had their roots deep in blues, R&B and other African-American pop music, not necessarily out of necessity but out of love. Just listen to the blues in Ornette Coleman's playing, or read Lester Bowie's stories about playing in funk bands. Even Coltrane paid his dues by 'walkin' the bar' in R&B bands.
Unlike other comments, I think this music is perfect for a Sun Ra fan, as I am, because as a true lover of his music, you have to let the man do what he wants and not pigeon-hole your own listening with your expectations. Expect that unexpected with this set, which is by turns charming, funny and bizarre, but always true and sincere. A must, a real must for any true Sun Ran fan.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 18, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I am relatively new to the world of Sun Ra (started 7/99). Someone mentioned him to me and I decided to start my Sun Ra collection the way I started my collection with most rock groups and that is with a compilation of hits or singles. I bought this and was immediately put off by what I heard. I later tried "Other Planes of There" after hearing a extraordinary Sun Ra song on a college radio station, and that was the real start of my Sun Ra collection of nearly 70 cds. This singles compilation remains a high point in my collection.
The reason this isnt the place to start is although it is a singles compilation, which I still cannot believe they were able to compile considering how obscure a great deal of them are, but alot of what is on here is Sun Ra in a support role to another act. The other act being a Rhythm and Blues act with performances I have grown to love, even though they are not typical Sun Ra by any stretch of the imagination.
If you are a seasoned veteran of Sun Ra from any period the 50s, 60s,70s, 80s, buy this album and let it grow on you. If you are interested in Sun Ra and wonder where to start I would ask yourself Big Band?? or Free Jazz?? If the answer is just swing and a good time start with "Jazz in Silhouette". But if you want free jazz taken further than John Coltranes deepest dreams. Try "Atlantis" and the peek of the genre "Magic City".
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Scott McFarland on October 23, 2000
Format: Audio CD
The music on here is not typical Sun Ra. Evidence have done a wonderful job of collecting rare material into an informative, well-presented package. Unfortunately many potential fans may try to start an investigation of Ra's music here, when much of the content here is not reflective of Ra's jazzier, more arranged LPs. What is here is interesting, but it is by no means Ra's best stuff - though there are some real pearls of beauty in here.
Here's to the unmasking of the Batman.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Mark on January 18, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This cd release is a stunning glimpse into Sun Ra and his celebration of Black Music. I was floored at the first listen and continue to be so when I put it on. To think of what this man did for black music in general, this CD package should be heard (perhaps even purchased) by ALL who think of themselves as music enthusuiasts. It is very important stuff! Sun Ra was producing and selling his own records YEARS before anyone else had done this. I am a big Sun Ra fan, and have a very good cross-representative collection of his material, and Singles is perfect to fill it out and to force one's self to really think about what it is that Sun Ra was all about.
All of this said, it likely is not the First thing someone should by, more likely the 5th or more. Start with The Futuristic Sounds, or Angels and Demons at Play or Outerspaceways INC, if you like wilder music. Most of his work is pretty hot in my book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By bukhtan on November 2, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I got a kick out these two CD's but I am:

A) a Sun Ra fan of long standing, and

B) interested in where music really comes from, and not just the high points.

These recordings, some of them anyway, are odd even within Sun Ra's idiosyncratic world. Sun Ra is one of those jazz musicians who usually think in terms of the total composition, integrating a number of soloists into that framework. Jelly Roll Morton, Ellington, and, sometimes, Miles, Mingus & Monk work this way. Some of these "singles" are one-dimensional novelty numbers. Some are cute, like the "doo-wop" songs, e.g. "Dreaming". Valuable if you find this kind of music charming but otherwise wouldn't come in (voluntary) contact with it. Others are just raucous, like the Yochanan pieces, though even these have a kind of urban rustic charm, especially "Hot Skillet Mama". (The liner notes indicate that the fine tenor player John Gilmore called Yochanan, billed as the "space age vocalist" in the day, a "no-talent hanger-on" and swore he'd never recorded with him.)

Other pieces connect more directly with Sun Ra's oeuvre. Some, like "Saturn", are similar to more familiar recorded versions of the era or later. Many of these recordings are rough in comparison to Sun Ra's other work, with a rehearsal or impromptu feel, e.g. "Love in outer space" with June Tyson & John Gilmore singing. The liner notes are very good, placing the guy who said variously that he "came from nowhere here" or "Saturn" very firmly in the grimy contexts of Birmingham, Chicago and Philadelphia. Includes some interesting photos.
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