Evolution/Revolution: The Early Years (1966-1974)
is a two-CD compilation of live stand-up comedy recordings by comedian
and actor Richard Pryor
, that predate his 1974 mainstream breakthrough album That Nigger's Crazy
The album was primarily compiled from tapes recorded by Laff Records between 1966 and 1974. By 1968, Pryor had only recorded and released one album up to that point, the eponymous debut that was released by Dove/Reprise and featured a much milder Pryor.
In 1970 Pryor signed with Laff Records to record and release his second album, the underground classic Craps (After Hours). After its release in February, 1971, Pryor sought out a larger label for his next album but didn't find it until 1974 when he signed with Stax Records, who originally released That Nigger's Crazy. Laff promptly sued Pryor, but a settlement allowed Pryor to become a free agent in exchange for allowing Laff to release all previously unissued material with them. After Pryor signed with Warner Bros. Records in 1975, where he kicked his recording career into high gear with the release of ...Is It Something I Said? and the reissue of That Nigger's Crazy, Laff began rushing out badly packaged and mastered albums to piggyback Pryor's Warner Bros. releases.
Between 1971 and 1983, Laff released twelve albums worth of Pryor material, but spread out the contents amongst twenty different albums, including releases that either repackaged older albums with new titles and covers, or albums that paired Pryor tracks from Craps with previously issued material from other comedians who had recorded for Laff (including Redd Foxx).
In 2002, Pryor and his wife/manager Jennifer Lee Pryor won the legal rights all of the Laff material with Pryor's name on it -- over 40 hours of unedited reel-to-reel tapes -- containing recordings both issued and unissued. Jennifer Lee Pryor then gave Reggie Collins and Steve Pokorny, the men who had previously compiled the ...And It's Deep Too! The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings (1968-1992) nine-CD box set and its companion 2-CD Anthology for Rhino, access to all of the tapes.
Disc 1 contains what is said to be the best of the material Laff had released on record after 1974, while Disc 2 contains the entire Craps album plus other unreleased material, including the unedited version of Pryor's entire Wattstax monologue.
The album packaging also contains liner notes from journalist David Felton, who had interviewed Pryor several times, including around the time of That Nigger's Crazy's release and after Pryor had his 1980 free-basing accident.
Disc One: Evolution (1966-1968)
- "Improv, Pt. 1"
- "Heart & Brain"
- "Taxi Cabs & Subways"
- "Playboy Club"
- "Slippin' In Poo Poo"
- "Birth Control"
- "Nigger Babies"
- "Faith Healer"
- "Black Power"
- "I Feel"
- "Prison Play" (aka Black Ben The Blacksmith)
- "Movie Stars In The Bathroom"
- "War Movies"
- "The Army"
- "Hippy Dippys"
- "Hank's Place"
- "Improv, Pt. 2"
Disc One recorded live at:
- The Hungry I, San Francisco, CA, February 1966 (Tracks 1, 2)
- unknown venue, July 15, 1967 (Tracks 4, 5)
- P.J.'s, Hollywood, CA, May 24 & 25, 1968 (Tracks 7-11)
- The Troubador, West Hollywood, April 1968 (Tracks 14, 15, 21, 22) and July 26-29, 1968 (remainder)
Disc Two: Revolution (1971-1974)
- Gettin' High
- Fuck From Memory
- Big Tits
- Gettin' Some
- The President
- The Line-Up
- Black Preachers
- Being Born
- Blow Our Image
- I Spy Cops
- Sugar Ray
- White Folks
- Ass Wupin'
- Got A Dollar
- Pres' Black Baby
- Wino Panthers
- After Hours
- 280 Pound Ass
- Crap Game
- Insurance Man
- Black And Proud
- Gettin' The Nut
- Fuck The Faggot
- Jackin' Off
- Snappin' Pussy
- Wattstax Monologue:
Whorehouse, Pt. 1
Whorehouse, Pt. 2
Niggers & Italians
Jim Brown (alternate version)
Street Corner Wino ("Wino & Junkie" intro)
Wino & Junkie
- The Handshake
- Rummage Sale/Stylin'
- "Justifiable Homicide"
- Super Nigger
Disc Two recorded live at:
- The Redd Foxx Club, Hollywood, CA, January 1971 (Tracks 2-33 -- the entire Craps (After Hours) album)
- Laney College, Oakland, CA, February 25, 1971 (Track 35)
- Basin Street West, San Francisco, CA, February 26, 1971 (Tracks 36, 42)
- unknown venue, Los Angeles, CA, May 30, 1971 (Track 1)
- The Summit Club, Hollywood, CA, October, 8, 1972, for use in the motion picture Wattstax (Track 34)
- The Comedy Store, Hollywood, CA, October 29-November 1, 1973 (Tracks 37-41)
- unknown location in San Francisco Bay Area, Fall 1974 (Track 43)
Primary Recording Credits
- Known Original Producers: Richard Pryor, Robert Marchese & David Drozen
- Executive Producer (Craps (After Hours)): Louis Drozen
- Known Original Engineers: Ron Johnson, Gabby Garcia, Chris Chigaridas
- Compilation Produced By: Reggie Collins and Steve Pokorny
- Supervising Producer: Jennifer Lee Pryor
- Executive Producer: Richard Pryor