Rich Memories

My first “official” introduction to Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor (outside a small font credit to a sample used on the Beastie Boys’ Ill Communication), was this $4 purchase from good ol’ Half Price Books, 1977’s Richard Pryor’s Greatest Hits. I knew little to nothing of the man prior (or should I say Pryor… no) to this album, forgetting completely that this was the same Wonder Wheel-wielding genius from the slightly racist The Toy film (1982), so let me put it lightly by stating that my feeble mind was completely blown into some previously unknown realm of human consciousness upon first spin. Everyone I knew who cared to listen heard this album, with a slightly obnoxious and giddy introduction by me, and to this day, Richard Pryor’s Greatest Hits is still, by far, one of my all-time favorite records. It doesn’t hurt that it was probably one of my first 20 records purchased, but the content certainly (and quite vulgarly… let’s say “honestly”) speaks for itself.

Reflections of the Hypothetical

DitchIf circumstances prohibited you to purchase only one more record before you died, what would it be?

Stipulations:

– Purchase needs to be new; no duplicate purchases (a 3rd copy of Richard Pryor’s Greatest Hits does not qualify… as awful as that sounds)

– Purchaser understands that no other record will be obtained after said purchase, and that this particular record will “complete” purchaser’s collection (or some type shit)

– Purchaser understands the depressing limitations that once and for all, the hunt is finally over (bummin’ me out, man)

Talk amongst yourselves…

(Photo is a desktop reflection of June 8th’s posting, for those of you keeping score…)

Hey! Let’s Party

HeyThis cover couldn’t be more immediately deceiving… a bunch of privileged white kids dancing to brown-eyed soul from the great Afro-Cuban genius, Mongo Santamaría. With 1967’s Hey! Let’s Party, Mr. Santamaría fashioned a thick-lined afterparty staple with his horn-heavy deviance into the wonderful world of (a blanket term) Latin Jazz.

Pryor dug him (in both his screenplay contribution to Blazing Saddles as well as his empowering standup), as so you shall too.

“Look, Man! I’m Ain’t Fallin’ for No Banana in my Tailpipe!”

AxelWhere would members of the court, and high majesty be without the jester… the ushered in, and ushered out comedians to provoke wine-spilling punch lines of the grotesque nature? Likely, they’d be suffocating within a bubble of discomfort and self-loathing. Let’s take today, this 19th of December, and celebrate those who have made us laugh: Mothers, fathers, great aunts, gone, but not forgotten grandparents, and yes, Mr. Eddie Murphy. Richard Pryor he is not, but damn if this man is not a needed commodity, every groovy-once-in-a-while.

The Very Best

Best of RichThe Very Best of Richard Pryor is hardly what it claims. But as I’ve said, and will continue to say as long as I have life in my chest, it does not get any funnier than Richard Pryor.

Another Laff Records rush-to-get-it-out, recycled-without-a-hint-of-shame, X-Rated, listen-after-your-parents-have-long-gone-to-bed release, The Very Best of Richard Pryor embezzles from “Craps” After Hours (1971), Are You Serious??? (1976), Who Me? I’m Not Him (1977), Black Ben the Blacksmith (1978), Outrageous (1979), and what sounds like a Scotch tape merging of cutting room floor excerpts. This is all, of course, certainly not to say that The Very Best of Richard Pryor is without merit, and shouldn’t be owned by everyone who enjoys the idea of laughing until you cry.

RIP Richard Pryor.

Laff

LaffRecording only one, proper album for Laff Records, Richard Pryor saw many, recycled releases throughout the label’s tenure, up, and until to their ultimate demise sometime in the 1980s. Among the two I just acquired (Who Me? I’m Not Him and The Very Best of Richard Pryor), Laff Records released the following slue of cut and past jobbers showcasing the funniest man alive (RIP Richard Pryor): “Craps” After Hours, Rev. Du Rite, Are You Serious???, Insane, L.A. Jail, Holy Smoke, Who Me? I’m Not Him, Black Ben the Blacksmith (I just passed this one up on 8-track), The Wizard of Comedy, Outrageous, Supern!gger, Richard Pryor Live, and The Very Best of Richard Pryor. Milking the money cow that was Mr. Pryor proved to be profiting for the “adults only” label, and as far as I’m concerned, the more Richard Pryor, the merrier.

…Is it Something I Said?

PryorAs the kickoff to your working week comes to lethargic, sluggish conclusion, allow the angel whispers of Richard “I Hope I’m Funny” Pryor lull you into a comedic coma. Richard Pryor released well over 20 albums in his famed stand-up career, and each of them is, without hesitation, absolutely perfect. 1975’s …Is it Something I Said? is certainly no exception.

Standouts (and there are a ton) include, but are not limited to When Your Pryor_BackWoman Leaves You, Cocaine, Shortage of White People, Mudbone – Little Feets, and Our Text for Today. Between 1971 and 1975, Rich released three back-to-back-to-back works (the holy trinity of recorded stand-up) that stand unmatched, some 40+ years later. If you ask me, and you didn’t, every fan of the laugh needs to own 1971’s “Craps” – After Hours, 1974’s That Nigger’s Crazy (that is a wild one), and this, 1975’s ...Is it Something I said? Treat yourself to the finer things in life, and enjoy yourself (yore-sell) some Richard Pryor.

Remembering the Classics

BeethovenDon’t forget to appreciate the classics… set aside the hip-hoppery of N.E.R.D., Dre, the Fat Boys, and Lords of the Underground… extinguish the fiery rags of Rocket from the Crypt, Todd Terge, and MOTOR… cast away the modern indecency of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Richard Pryor, and Lard… and carve out some well deserved time to remember the classics. For me, it gets no better than Beethoven… or Brahms… or Wagner… or Stravinsky… or Prokofiev… or ONYX… or Bartók. Remember the classics, and allow all other seeping improprieties to pass you by, if only for the length of four, alleviating movements.

Introducing Simply Samples

Simply SamplesIn my continuous efforts to keep from boring myself to death by scouring the internet for new and lavish ways to describe awesome, or amazing, or simply, I really dig this album, man, and I like, think you would too, I’ve decided to start a new category tentatively titled, Simply Samples. Simply Samples will NOT satisfy your mid-afternoon appetite while on your weekend trip to the local Piggly Wiggly (or Trader Joe’s if you live in LA… they’re grocery stores), instead, it will act as a strong, bold line connecting two seemingly unrelated dots. For example (and I should really think about starting a new paragraph soon), my SO (significant other) and I were watching Silence of the Lambs last night when a very familiar phrase flew out of our living room stereo. It was spoken by Senator Ruth Martin, the mother of Buffalo Bill’s current victim in the film, while pleading for her daughter’s life at a television news conference. The words, you have the power struck my head like a blow from Sugar Ray Robinson (RIP Richard Pryor), and I had to pause the movie (my SO LOVES it when I do that) to figure out where I’d heard that exact phrase a thousand times before (is a THOUSAND enough?). Surprise, surprise, the Revolting Cocks sampled that phrase on their 1993 album, Linger Ficken’ Good in their opening track Gila Copter. Sporting a playful smile, I took a moment to quickly scan over all the samples from songs I’d ever heard whose sources I actually knew, and Simply Samples was born.

This new dot-connecting category may not be of interest to the lot of you, but those of you who are into programmed beats and / or concept albums with samples to obscure films or television shows, Simply Samples may be that white, yippy dog in the bottom of the well you’ve been looking for. That’s a Silence of the Lambs reference… have a nice day.

Here is the track. The sample comes in at 1:16 if you’re interested.

Saturday Mornings With Richard Pryor

RichA day that goes by without a Richard Pryor quote is both a sad, and extremely rare day. Literally every time someone mentions a year from the 20th century, my tuned Pryears : ) perk up, and I do everything within my power to stop from breaking into the classic Sugar Ray Robinson routine. “Nineteen what?!” One of the best gifts I’ve truly ever given myself was the countless hours of listening to Richard Pryor. Because, in doing so, I’m now able to conjure up Rich’s voice in my head, seemingly at will. It’s an overwhelmingly comfortable feeling to have Richard Pryor with you every moment of every day. One of life’s little gifts, I guess.

The following is a list of everyday objects and well, whatevers that will forever be linked to the funniest man to ever walk the Earth (sorry, Jason Hardwick): fish sandwiches; dice; change for $1; craps; pet monkeys; walking in the woods; snakes; winos; 11 o’clock; blackjack; polar bears; (I’m literally crying I’m laughing so hard just thinking of these comedic bits) Mongo Santamaría; turtle soup; license plates; a cool breeze; and anything deep (to name a few).

I’m strongly considering dedicating Saturday mornings to Richard Pryor, much to the dismay of my girlfriend and our uptight neighbors. If you’re unfamiliar with the crowned prince of comedy, start with Craps (After Hours). Keep an open mind and the kids out of earshot. You’ll thank me.

1971: Bet I’ll Six!!

Rich - After HoursI didn’t get into “Craps” – After Hours until 1998, some 27-years after its initial release. This mundane fact, however, doesn’t detract from the laugh-out-loud hilarity offered by the “Crowned Prince of Comedy… His Royal Highness, Richard Pryor.”

I’ll humbly admit, that it was the Beastie Boys who inadvertently introduced me to the Great Comic Wizard. It was the sampling of Mr. Pryor’s, “I ain’t goin’ no place. MOVE me!” that starts Flute Loop, from the 1994 issued, Ill Communication that hooked me. If the Beasties sampled it, in my mind, it must be good. A philosophy still practiced to this day.

Craps is a vulgar, adolescent-minded, orgy-inducing nightmare of laughs. Keep in mind I’m focusing on this album instead of The Kinks’ 1971 country-influenced album, Muswell Hillbillies. For those who know me, they know that’s a BIG deal. For those who don’t know me, that’s a BIG deal. It doesn’t get any better than The Kinks… unless, of course, you’re talking about Richard Pryor.

Track ListThe astounding number of quotable one-liners from this album is enough to force any up-and-coming comedian to return to their pizza delivery job. Rich’s cocaine-induced flow is unmatched in terms of laughs per minute (LPM’s). Pulling absolutely NO punches, Richard Pryor suggests the scenario of a white president (at that time Tricky Dick Nixon) having a black baby, the genitalia-arousing boxing skills of Sugar Ray Robinson, a marriage proposal perfectly coupled with a male’s sexual release (I’m trying REALLY hard to keep these descriptions PG), spousal orgy advice, and an adolescent Rich’s response to the inquiry of a concerned father over what his daughter is doing behind a locked door… here’s a spoiler, Rich doesn’t have any pants on.

These are just a few of the MANY examples of comedic genius delivered on this essential album. If you’re in the mood for funny, it doesn’t get any better than Richard Pryor.

As seen on TV

Record Vacuum - BoxThis 1976 “Record-Vacuum” by Ronco™ is hardly a vacuum. It’s basically a record holder with a wheel that spins the record against 2 foam brushes. This may have been the talk of the town back in ol’ ’76, but now it’s virtually just a Record Dirtier (As seen on TV).

I guess after 37 years the brushes may need to be changed out. Not sure if Ronco™ is still manufacturing those. The history of Ronco™ can be found here.  Surprisingly, the damn thing still turns on!

I basically keep it around as a conversation piece, but sadly, those conversations are quite short (much like this post).

Record Vacuum - Pryor