March 1, 2015
Sun Ra Sunday
While I was record shopping in Birmingham, Alabama I made a point of driving out to the Elmwood Cemetery to visit Sun Ra's grave. The humble marker was not easy to find--even with a map!--but it was incredibly moving (if a little bit creepy) to be standing at the site of Sonny's earthly remains.
Someone had left behind a pair of joss sticks (which I was unable to get lit in the wind) and some plastic flowers atop a small pile of pinecones. I found a pinecone and put it on the pile and looked around, surrounded by miles and miles of dead bodies, their grey stone sentries looming across the landscape. I'm pretty sure this not where Sonny wanted to wind up.
I swept off the gravestone and paid my respects. I apologized for letting him down with the Sun Ra Sunday project--and, I swear, I could hear him laughing at me down there under the ground. Well, maybe I'll get back to it one of these days. Making this pilgrimage was inspiring--and there's not much time left for me on this planet!
In the meanwhile, check out Sam Byrd's excellent post over at World of Abstract Dreams for an excellent overview of the recent iTunes-only remasters (which I don't have). There's also another vinyl-only release out on Roaratorio, a previously unheard studio album from 1974 called, Sign of the Myth. You don't need me to tell you that it is essential listening; if you are reading this, you need it.
Sun Ra may be gone, but his music lives on.