Friday, October 22, 2010

Black Ben The Blacksmith (1978)

I found this one at Golden Oldies in 1997, after a long dry spell without finding any of the Laff albums for a while. This cover shows Richard as a stablehand, putting a shoe on a horse, which doesn't seem to tie in with any of his movies. Then there was a reissue of this in 1982 with a different album cover and title: "Show Biz".

This would be the start of the Laff albums using different sources for material, often in the middle of a routine, or even before one was over.

"Prison Play" from the first album opens up side one, but nothing new, or anything different. The rest of the album side is also from the Troubadour, but in slightly lesser quality audio. He talks about feeling really energetic and juiced up ("I Feel"), then it cuts into his days growing up with the gangs on the back streets of Peoria, this routine being one where all the smaller guys gather up to watch the bigger guys have it out. Then it goes into a bit about being in jail and getting beaten up by one of the officers for stepping out of the chow line: "He didn't call me a nigger or nothin', 'cause there was a lot of colored cats hangin' around...he said things like, "Y-y-y-you dark person!".

Side two opens up with the opening part of the "Wattstax Monolouge", recorded at the Summit club in 1972, but with laughter edited in from another source, as the original source sounds like there's only a handful of people around him. Then it goes into the "TV Panel Show" routine (under the name "Black Nationalist") from the first album, same edits and all. After that, it goes into the middle of the famous "Wino & Junkie" routine, a bit about an angry father in the the neighborhood warning all the guys to stay away from his daughter, and then a bit about a TV show they used to watch in the old days, featuring an old singing cowboy, accompanying himself with a battered, out-of-tune guitar. (A better version of this can be found on The Wizard Of Comedy ).

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