Ra (Utopia album)

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Ra
Ra Utopia.jpg
Studio album by Utopia
Released February 4, 1977
Recorded at Bearsville Sound Studio, Utopia Sound and Turtle Creek Barn
Genre Progressive rock, art rock
Length 53:04
Label Bearsville
Producer Todd Rundgren
Utopia chronology
Another Live
(1975)Another Live1975
Ra
(1977)
Oops! Wrong Planet
(1977)Oops! Wrong Planet1977
Singles from Ra
  1. "Communion with the Sun"
    Released: February 1977
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars[1]

Ra is the second studio album and third release by Utopia on Bearsville Records in 1977. Replete with an elaborate $250,000 stage show featuring a 22-foot-tall (6.7 m) pyramid and golden sphinx which took 18 months of prep, Ra was Rundgren's most ambitious live undertaking.

The cornerstone of the album and show is Singring and the Glass Guitar, which comprises solos by each band member battling the elements: water (drums), wind (bass), fire (keyboards), and earth (guitar). At the pinnacle of the live show, Rundgren played the final guitar solo while repeatedly climbing and flipping off the pyramid.

The album was modestly successful, peaking the Billboard Top 200 at #79.[2]

Track listing[edit]

A number of Test Presses and a very limited amount of vinyl and 8 track tape (cassette release unknown) pressings were pressed using a rejected master tape that includes an alternate mix of the album. The songs "Communion with the sun" and "Sunburst Finish" are almost entirely different takes, Communion with the sun having a more aggressive drum track, alternate vocals and instrument solos. Sunburst Finish lead vocals are similar but backing vocals are different and some backing vocals are missing. "Singring and the Glass Guitar" is slightly different as the intro to Willie Wilcox' drum solo is missing. All other tracks on the album are indistinguishable from the final master.

With the exception of the European pressing, the only way to tell if a particular copy of an LP or tape is from the rejected master is by playing it. On European pressings, A1 and B1 will be written into the dead wax of the vinyl. It is unknown as to exactly how many pressings were made.

Side one[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Overture: Mountaintop and Sunrise/Communion with the Sun" Herrmann / Rundgren 7:15
2. "Magic Dragon Theatre" Rundgren, Sulton 3:28
3. "Jealousy" Rundgren, Wilcox 4:43
4. "Eternal Love" Powell, Sulton 4:51
5. "Sunburst Finish" Powell, Rundgren 7:38

Side two[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Hiroshima" Powell, Rundgren 7:16
2. "Singring and the Glass Guitar (An Electrified Fairytale)" Powell, Rundgren, Sulton, Wilcox 18:24

Personnel[edit]

Production

  • Producer: Todd Rundgren for Alchemedia Productions, Inc.
  • Engineer, Calligrapher, & Voice of the Story Teller: John Holbrook
  • Assistant Engineer: Tom Mark
  • Communion with the Sun & Jealousy recorded at the Turtle Creek Barn using custom equipment owned and operated by Yes engineer Eddie Offord
  • Musical arrangements by Utopia

Charts[edit]

Album - Billboard

Year Chart Position
1977 Pop Albums 79[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2011). "RA - Utopia | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 8 July 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Ra in the Billboard Charts, Allmusic. Retrieved July 31, 2011.