Sun Ra Arkestra: Live At The Red Garter (Transparency 0319) (3CD)
The latest release from the Transparency label presents an expanded version of the Red Garter tape recorded in July 1970 across two CDs along with a third disc containing 82 photographs of the band by Lee Santa—a really nice bonus. The cool thing is that the liner notes are written by the one-and-only Sam Byrd!
The Transparency edition is taken from a slightly better source than the circulating CDR as it is a bit longer and appears to present the music in its proper sequence. Certainly, the sound quality is marginally improved. But make no mistake: this is rough going. Derived from a monophonic amateur recording made from the audience, all the attendant noise, distortion and balance problems remain intact. While the music is great (featuring the great Alan Silva on cello), the sound quality is still pretty dreadful.
Even so, Transparency should be commended for making some of the rarest Sun Ra material available to the masses. And kudos to Sam for his astute liner notes. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: he is the one who should be writing Sun RaSunday! As for me, I am just now trying to get back into it. Stay tuned…