Richard Pryor's 'Live at the Comedy Store, 1973,' first commercial version of recording, set for July 23 release on Omnivore

Article Contributed by conqueroo | Published on Tuesday, June 8, 2021

On Monday, October 29, 1973, Richard Pryor hit the Comedy Store for night one of a four-show run, the recording of which yielded one of the greatest comic documents of all time.

Following the release of his iconic debut album, Richard Pryor, in 1968, Pryor further sharpened his skills and delivered the comedy classic “Craps” (After Hours) in 1971, but he never stopped pushing forward. In preparation for a Kennedy Center show in Washington, D.C., and a February 1974 Soul Train Club date in North Beach, San Francisco (which would produce the top-selling That Nigger’s Crazy), Pryor booked four nights at the then-relatively-new Comedy Store on West Hollywood’s Sunset Strip to woodshed new material. It was never intended to be heard beyond its original audience. Luckily for us, tape not only rolled, but survived.

Fourteen tracks were originally issued in 2013 as a limited-edition promotional CD given away with copies of the No Pryor Restraint: Life in Concert box set sold on Shout! Factory’s web site. Six additional Comedy Store performances found their way into the public earlier as bonus material on 2000’s …And It’s Deep Too!: The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings (1968–1992) and Evolution/Revolution: The Early Years (1966-1974) in 2005. Now, all 20 tracks are pulled together for the first time and available on Live at the Comedy Store, 1973, due for July 23, 2021 release by Omnivore Recordings on CD and Digital.

Noted Pryor expert Reggie Collins produced this new set along with Jennifer Lee Pryor and Grammy® Award winning producer Cheryl Pawelski. Packaging features new liner notes from Cory Frye and restoration from Grammy® winner Michael Graves.

Frye in his notes declares, “As time has shown, there’s no death with Richard Pryor. He may have left us in 2005 (after whole decades that would have killed lesser men), but his own afterlife’s proven immense, minus the eight-billion harp-happy m***********s he once described practicing on some distant cloud. Here’s a chance to catch him just as he begins to live — again.”

Track Listing:

1.  Introduction

2.  Street Corner Wino

3.  Wino & Junkie

4.  Fighting

5.  Masturbating

6.  Dope

7.  Sex

8.  Religion

9.  Acid

10. Black Movie Stars

11. Cops

12. The Line-up

13. Nixon

14. Celebrities in the Audience

Bonus Tracks:

15. Death

16. Niggers & Italians

17. Jim Brown (alternate version)

18. Black Films

19. Jesus Saves

20. Steve Corner Wino (Evolution/Revolution edit)