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This blog post is part of a series of posts on legendary space-jazz pioneer Sun Ra, in preparation for the Sun Ra Arkestra’s concert in Maastricht 18/03/2017 (tickets available => here). Together with his ever changing Arkestra, Sun Ra was one of the most prolific recording artists in the 20th century. His albums are also some of the most collectible vinyl in the world, in the words of Gilles Peterson, Sun Ra was “the ultimate artist for any vinyl collector.”

This was due to his rather extraordinary approach, many of his albums were on his own Saturn Label and pressings were often limited to fewer than 100 copies, there was no reliable cataloging system, sleeves were often hand painted, and albums were regularly rereleased with new titles or new sleeves or entirely different track listings. In the words of Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) “Ra was more punk than punk even pretended to be.”

We wanted to do a post on the rarest Sun Ra vinyl out there. However, the world of Sun Ra collectibles is about as mysterious as the man himself. With even the best scholars disagreeing on the rarity of different albums, we decided to make a different kind of list. A better list. A list of our favourite Sun Ra Album titles!!

From playful to poetic, esoteric to mysterious, funny to downright weird, these have got to be some of the best album titles in the known universe.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments bellow. If we missed any of your favourites please add a few more!

1. Super-Sonic Jazz – 1956 
Le Sun Ra and his Arkestra 
El Saturn Records

SuperSonicJazzSunRa-1

This album title is still the best description of what Sun Ra and his Arkestra sound like (to us at least).

2. The Nubians of Plutonia (aka The Lady with the Golden Stockings) – 1958-1959
Sun Ra and his Myth Science Arkestra 
El Saturn Records

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A somewhat confusing title since Sun Ra said he was a Saturnian. Still, it does paint a great mental picture of colorfully dressed space-Egyptians.

 

3.  Art Forms of Dimensions Tomorrow- 1962 
Sun Ra and his Solar Arkestra
El Saturn Records

Artforms-sunRa

A very cryptic, abstract yet poetic title.

4. Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy – 1963
Sun Ra and his Myth Science Arkestra
El Saturn Records

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This is perhaps the most accurate description of music in general.

5. Other Planes of There – 1964 
Sun Ra and his Solar Arkestra
El Saturn Records

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We have no idea what this title means and we’re not even going to start to try to decode it, but we love it anyway.

6. Pathways to Unknown Worlds – 1973
Sun Ra and his Astro Infinity Arkestra
Impulse! Records

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This title seems to describe human life in general in an eerily accurate way.

7. What Planet Is This? – 1973 
Sun Ra and His Space Arkestra
Leo

Sun Ra - What Planet

We imagine Sun Ra woke up every morning with this question on his mind.

8. Some Blues But Not That Kind Thats Blue – 1977 
Sun Ra
El Saturn Records

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A fantastic title complete with punctuation peculiarities (which you can be sure was on purpose since Sun Ra was a smart guy/Saturnian).

9. Destination Unknown – 1992 
Sun Ra & his Omniverse Arkestra
Enja Records

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The perfect description for what was one of the last albums Sun Ra released.



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