Uncut - p.1144 stars out of 5
- "This is a vital set for anyone interested in the history of stand-up..."
Liner Note Authors: Steve Pokorny; David Felton; Reggie Collins.
Recording information: Basin Steet West, San Francisco, CA (02/1966-??/1974); Basin Street West, San Francisco, CA (02/1966-??/1974); Laney College, Oakland, CA (02/1966-??/1974); P. J.'s Hollywood, CA (02/1966-??/1974); San Francisco Bay Area (02/1966-??/1974); The Comedy Store, Hollywood, CA (02/1966-??/1974); The hungry i, San Francisco, CA (02/1966-??/1974); The Redd Foxx Club, Hollywood, CA (02/1966-??/1974); The Summit Club, Hollywood, CA (02/1966-??/1974); The Troubador, West Hollywood, CA (02/1966-??/1974).
Editor: Daniel Hersch.
This two-disc Rhino set compiles recordings from the formative years in the career of one of standup comedy's most important and influential figures. The set, entitled EVOLUTION/REVOLUTION, divides Richard Pryor's material into two distinct camps. The EVOLUTION disc covers 1966-1968, and shows the comedian still finding his voice and style. Pryor was much safer on these early outings, and borrows many of his cadences and sound effects from his successful contemporary, Bill Cosby. The material is enjoyable, and Pryor's delivery dynamic, but the real juice is saved for Disc Two.
Pryor's performances changed radically in the 1970s. REVOLUTION shows him dispensing with conventional standup altogether, and unleashing a new persona that knew no limits or taboos. Much like that of Lenny Bruce before him, Pryor's act was profane and brutally honest, probing mercilessly at issues like racism, drugs, sexuality, and social injustice. As much a social critic as a laugh man, Pryor's was confrontational and timely, and his '70s work holds up very well as a document of the era. Extended character improvisations, like "Wino & Junkie," are biting, hilarious, and poignant at once, and prove, with the rest of this excellent set, the growth and range of Pryor's genius.