Sun Ra and his Intergalaxtic Arkestra's Second Star to the Right: Salute to Walt Disney goes way beyond novelty. Novelties are hardly this entertaining or enduring. Ra got into a Disney phase around 1989 when asked to interpret "Pink Elephants on Parade" from Dumbo for a pop tribute album to Disney called Stay Awake. Ra was so taken with Disney's music and images that he started to play shows dedicated exclusively to the man. When performing this material, the Arkestra went so far as to wear the patented Mouseketeer ears and had a dancer dressed in a Dumbo costume! The chosen compositions run the gamut from the more obscure to themes every kid of all ages could sing along with: "I'm Wishing," "Second Star to the Right," the eerie "The Forest of no Return," and "Someday My Prince Will Come." The titles sound as if Ra could have written them himself. The arrangements are in the same swing manner as his Fletcher Henderson tributes. June Tyson's vocals bring a romantic appeal, while bassoonist and percussionist James Jacson does his best Louis Armstrong impression, leading the sing along on "Zip a Dee Doo Dah." This may not be an essential disc for the Sun Ra novice, but if you wonder what it would have been like hanging out at Sun Ra's commune in Philadelphia watching Dumbo with the rest of the Arkestra (a favorite Ra practice in his later years!), get this immediately. As a footnote, this joyous Leo release is from an audience tape, and while the fidelity is good, audiophiles should be advised that it does have muddy moments.
Second Star to the Right: Salute to Walt Disney Review
by Al Campbell