Reissuing the back catalogue of a comedy giant is risky business. Some cheap out and just reissue the original album warts and all. Others, like Omnivore Recordings, do it right and with total class. Richard Pryor Craps (aka Blackjack) features the original 32 tracks of the vinyl record. It also includes 4 bonus tracks culled from Evolution / Revolution and No Pryor Restraint. In addition, Richard Pryor Craps on Omnivore Recordings includes a 10-page booklet giving you the background and history of this classic comedy album. Craps is Pryor’s second comedy album after the eponymous Richard Pryor.
Richard Pryor Craps was recorded in December 1970. Richard Pryor covers a lot of ground during his show. The first third is stories about married life and his teenage years mingled with bits about Black and white cops and short 10-15 second bits that seem to have been spliced in here and there.
Little of the material is dated. Unless you count Richard Pryor sometimes sounding like Bill Cosby doing a more realistic story about growing up in the ‘hood. The Nixon/Agnew bit will probably go over most modern listeners’ head but it’s not important anyways. Pryor’s material has certainly survived better than Lenny Bruce’s or Dick Gregory’s
The last two thirds of the album become what was then seen as “political” and we would not call social commentary. Here, Richard Pryor talks about being Black and the Black community. Funny stuff but it has a bite to it.
There is a very clever gradation on how political and angry Richard Pryor gets in the last two thirds of this comedy CD
The most dramatic moment on Richard Pryor Craps is the closing track where Pryor reads a poem he wrote about Attica. This is one of four bonus tracks on this 36 track CD. The other 3 are Whorehouse 1 and 2 and Junkie vs Wino, taken from Richard Pryor’s Evolution / Revolution
Omnivore Recordings know how to release a comedy classic with class. I cannot wait to see what else they have coming up in comedy CDs. Kudos to all those who worked on reissuing Richard Pryor Craps.
Richard Pryor Craps is available in both digital download and, thank God and Omnivore, CD format for serious comedy fans.
Craps (after hours)
Originally released 1971
Omnivore Recordings 2021
If you are any kind of audiophile, you must take a look at the Omnivore Recordings website. They got everything from Little Richard and NRBQ to Ernie Kovacs and Mister Rogers records.
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