NUCLEAR WAR (1982) by Sun Ra & His Outer Space Arkestra on CD
Nuclear War stands as one of the great monuments in the latter part of Sun Ra's enormous oeuvre. It's an LP that by all rights should have been one of his breakthroughs, featuring one of the tightest versions of the Philadelphia-Era Arkestra in a program that includes an appealing mix of standards and Ra originals. The title track is arguably to the 80s what "Space Is The Place" was to the 70s - Ra's anthem for the decade, a piece that perfectly reflected certain apocalyptic aspects of his philosophy and his underlying quest for a better future. but it's sermon like call-and-response (a common Ra format since the late 60s) with what John Szwed refers to in his Ra biography as "A Rare Antitechnological Moment" inspired by the Three Mile Island disaster- an event that occurred, as Szwed points out, rather close to the Germantown Arkestra Headquarters. "If they push that button, your ass gotta go," warns Ra. "Now whatcha gonna do without your ass?"