by carl wilson

First, We Take Putnam County ...
Then We Take the Shadow World!

Above left, Orleans' 1976 album Waking and Dreaming, with new congressman John Hall the naked guy in the centre. Of all the other naked guys. And above right, a photo that I think might be Pat Patrick with the Sun Ra Arkestra in 1968... unless it's Charles Davis? Photo by Lee Santa.

A couple of musical grace notes to this very good day (Gin for Rummy! Senate on the verge! Bernie Sanders! Et! And cetera!):

When former Orleans singer and No Nukes benefit concert organizer John Hall made an unexpected breakthrough in winning a Congress seat last night, he didn't just add a delightfully fromage-aroma'd 1970s rock star to the legislature - he also became perhaps the first ex-music critic to hold U.S. federal office. (Any others?) According to E&P;, Hall was once a writer for Crawdaddy, penning among other things a cover feature on Stevie Wonder.

It's also, of course, sweet revenge for the Bush campaign using Orleans' Still the One as a campaign song in the 2004 election - an appropriation that drew Hall's heated objections. It's almost as if Springsteen had run in the midterms in the eighties to get his own back from Ronald Reagan after the Born in the USA debacle. (More: The Nation pre-analyzes Hall's win.)

More amazing yet, it turns out that Deval Patrick, who's just become the first black governor of Massachusetts, is the son of baritone saxophonist (Laurdine) Pat Patrick, who played with Coltrane, Monk and Mongo Santamaria among others, but mostly in the Sun Ra Arkestra from 1954 until his death in 1991. Boston's Weekly Dig ran a good piece about the connection. Lest you have any starry-eyed idealizations of what it would like to be the kidlet of an Arkestra-naut - sounds like Deval's childhood flat-out sucked. Because surely only the happiest, most adjusted of men would join an all-male semi-secret society devoted to playing the drunken-elephant-honking, parade-band anthems of a guy who steadfastly claimed to be an angel from Saturn. No escapist urges there. Talk about fatherhood material. But Pat was a great baritone player, often doubling with the somewhat better-known (and still living, I think) Charles Davis. (See here for a discussion of their joint influence.)

Perhaps Deval will bring some of his dad's originality and improvisational flexibility to Beacon Hill. His own biography, which starts on the south side of Chicago, sure makes it seem that he's got some of those traits.

(PS: None of the above is meant to imply that the Dems aren't still 90 per cent bleah. But at least for today, all is forgiven: Hip hip hoorah for the lesser of two bleahs!)

| Posted by zoilus on Wednesday, November 08 at 1:54 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (7)



Marshall Allen -- I was not confident about "Marcus," so I googled, and found "Marcus" listed with Sun Ra -- whoops! Should have looked further. (Hanging my head in embarrasment . . . )

Posted by john on November 9, 2006 4:35 PM



I saw the Arkestra in about 1985 or 1986. During band introductions, Sun Ra forgot to introduce Tyson. John Gilmore smiled so sweetly and quietly said to him, "You forgot June." Sun Ra didn't hear him. Gilmore said it again, "You forgot June." And then Sun Ra warmly introduced her.

Gilmore and Marcus Allen were amazing.

Posted by john on November 9, 2006 12:45 PM



Doug, if I'm getting the Miers reference and your subsequent comment about Space Is The Place, are you saying that June Tyson's was somehow unqualified to be part of the Arkestra? I don't agree.

I'm not sure about the Miers comparison - Tyson didn't join the band until it had been playing for about 15 years; it's not like she was a longtime confidant of Mr. Blount. Also, she was a vital part of expanding the Arkestra show (dancing, psychedelic lights) of the late 60s, not to mention her incredible vocal contributions and stage presence.

I also wouldn't go citing anything in SITP (a somewhat fantastical movie that Sun Ra didn't write or direct, to which he offered vague and contradictory notes) as absolute proof of Sun Ra or the Arkestra's POV.

That said, I agree with Carl in principle that the Arkestra probably was/is an "all-male" mentality for the most part, but wanted to point out Tyson's exceptional status.

Posted by dacks on November 9, 2006 11:27 AM



June Tyson was the Harriet Miers of the Arkestra.

Recall the climactic scene from the Space is the Place movie:

The Overseer and his girls arrive at an up-market brothel where he has arranged rest and recreation for the NASA agents. Once again the women seem ready to entertain Jimmy and again the Overseer excludes him from the bedroom. When the agents arrive and clumsily try to start partying , Candy (the black girl) jokes about "rocket experts that can't get it up." The farce turns ugly as the enraged agents give all the women a savage bloody beating.

Posted by doug on November 9, 2006 8:13 AM



june tyson was a man?

Posted by dacks on November 9, 2006 6:56 AM



At the very least, maybe we'll all get our heads out of our asses and come up for air. So long Rummy.

Posted by Half on November 8, 2006 10:19 PM



I'll take 90% bleah over 95% medievalist hierocratic neo-feudalist lootocratic plutocratic bully-coward freaks any day. Though I have to hand this to the Bush team -- they brought a (neo-feudalist brand of) surrealism into politics in a big way, with their scorn for "reality-based" policy. Reality is often largely bleah -- or worse.

Great post & pics -- thanks.

Posted by john on November 8, 2006 4:54 PM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson