That Time Sun Ra Played On The Batman & Robin Novelty Record

In 1966, a novelty record of the best kind (well, in my life it was the greatest album I had as a kid for a few weeks) was a children’s album called Batman and Robin, essentially to ride the popularity wave of the Adam West Batman TV series. The album was mostly instrumental, which excited me to no end for some reason, but I just realized who played on it: While it was credited to “The Sensational Guitars of DAN & DALE,” the actual studio band was made up of members of Al Kooper’s Blues Project and Sun Ra’s Arkestra

Bruce Eder’s deeply-researched Allmusic overview:

No, Batman and Robin doesn’t match the importance of the Blues Project’s own official recordings, or anything that Sun Ra was doing officially, but what a chance to hear these guys kicking back for a half-hour’s anonymous blues jamming. Everything here, apart from the Neal Hefti “Batman Theme” is public domain blues built on some familiar material (including Chopin, Tchaikovsky, and Bach), one cut, appropriately entitled “The Riddler’s Retreat,” quotes riffs and phrases from a half-dozen Beatles songs, and another, “The Bat Cave,” that’s this group’s answer to “Green Onions” (and a good answer, too). Along with Sun Ra, who dominates every passage he plays on, Steve Katz and Danny Kalb are the stars here, romping and stomping over everything as they weave around each other, while Gilmore, Allen, and Owens occasionally stepping to the fore, Blumenfeld makes his percussion sound downright tuneful in a few spots, and some anonymous female singers throw out a lyric or two on a pair of cuts, just as a distraction.

This year marks the 101st anniversary of Sun Ra’s birth. I’m going to play this album in his honour all day.

H/T to Dangerous Minds