Friday, October 15, 2010

Richard Pryor Live! (1983)

I found this one, still sealed, at Golden Oldies in October of 2010. This was the final Laff release, and--oddly enough--completes my collection. By the cover graphics, it's trying to look like an official release (shades of Here And Now), but the cover drawing of Richard keeps it in the amateur section.

This one is a bizarre cross between repackage and ripoff. The first half of each album side contains material from previous albums, while at the same time, presenting material from a release also titled Richard Pryor Live! , an album on the exploito label Phoenix 10. I've seen it around, with a poorly-processed head shot of Richard on the front cover, and was also released as a picture disc.

Side one kicks of with "Black Ben The Blacksmith/Prison Play" (uh-gain!), only this time, the tape source sounds really flat here. The remaining eleven minutes come from the other Live! album, coming from the Troubadour. Richard's fire-and-brimstone preacher is here, with the ever-hilarious tale about eatin' a sammich "in the year nineteen-twunny-naaaaahhnnn!" (though there is a funny variation where the preacher is trying to hit on one of the ladies who comes up to be healed!). There's also a good bit about a lineup at the police station, with a car thief who has every excuse in the book about why he was caught stealing a car. The last bits are about war movies, and movie stars going to the bathroom. No differences in these performances.

Side two consists mostly of side two from The Wizard Of Comedy, all the way up through "Country & Western Show". The last seven minutes are from P.J.'s, and here's where it gets weird---the bits pick up just where we left them on side one! He tells of the game about "who can poo-poo in their pants the most", but then it goes into the same bits from before about movies stars in the bathroom, war movies, and then the submarine routine. Even though it's two different recordings from two different venues, it's jarring to hear the same routines almost back to back.

This was Laff's final Richard Pryor release, and it's not too hard to see why. Two years later, the label itself would be history.

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