I’ll be honest with you folks, when I first thought about doing this project, I had imagined randomly picking records I’d had almost worn out due to so much listening. Records I’ve cried to, told people “SHHHHH” during. I thought of records where I’ve worn out other versions and still came back to like it was the first fucking time I listened to them. Yessongs and Eat Out More Often didn’t really factor into the equation. Of course, I knew that a record I didn’t really listen to much or LOVE would pop up but the first two? I had thought “Well, I can just keep randomly picking records until one I REALLY had a lot to say about turned up.” Then I thought of my audience, the 15 or so people who glanced through my last entry and the idea of cheating you folks just felt wrong. So here we are, Mr. Moore, myself, a few cans of Baderbrau Lawnmower Lager and some Alien OG (or so I’m told). Here we are though and thanks in advance for hanging.
I received this record as a gift for what I can surmise was my 20th birthday. I came to this conclusion because I was definitely hanging at Clark University and I wasn’t of legal age to drink (Though, pretended like I was.) My good friends J and D (actual initials, not some weird euphemism for a famous whiskey brand,) both went to Clark. The fact that I was commuting to college rather than living there, like a herb, made trips up 146N from Cumberland to Worcester a pretty common occurrence since I hated hanging at home. Whether it was to goto the Worcester Palladium for a metal/hardcore show or to turn on over at Clark with my friends, Worcester was the place. If it wasn’t a show at the Palladium, we’d be hanging on campus, full up on China Lantern, cheap beer and shitty weed. I think some folks refer to these times as “The Good Ol Days” but the truth is, I’m still having good days which I’m thankful for. J is a proud dad and professional dude hanging north of Boston and D is in Neuroscience which thinking back, still makes me chuckle. Anyways, I’m pretty sure it was a gag gift at the time because none of us really listened to Rudy Ray Moore nor had watched Dolemite together.
If you’re not familiar with Rudy Ray Moore, he is most famous for playing and co-writing Dolemite in which he plays street-wise rhyming pimp of the same name. He started doing bits as this character after hearing locals tell tales of Dolemite and his exploits. He assumed the character and in turn created one of the most famous Blaxploitation characters in history. Before that though, he put this and a few other comedy records out which financed the first Dolemite movie.
I remember listening to this the first time and it making me laugh and I probably put on half a dozen times since then as I don’t really like comedy records. I like standup generally but when it comes to the act of listening to records, I am never in the mood to laugh and when I finally have a moment to listen, I’m looking for more music and less words. It was interesting putting this one back on though. After a few listens recently (all while writing this, it’s 6 tracks and rather short) I have more of an appreciation for this than just the dirty words I thought were hilarious 15 years or so ago. It’s definitely a time capsule from that time. Attitudes about race and how women should be treated were definitely different then and I’m not sure this record would be made today. Something similar sure, but the rawness here really isn’t something that would sell as well today. That said, I think it’s important record if not at least part of an important movement.
It reminds me of Richard Pryor or Red Foxx in that he was providing another voice for folks who didn’t feel represented. He was telling stories and experiences whole populations of people who weren’t given a voice could relate to. I think the reason Rudy and Dolemite remained cult classics were because of how dirty and real the language was because beyond that, not much else separated him from his peers.. I did a little Google digging before sitting down to listen and write and found this quote from Moore who passed in 2008 “I wasn’t saying dirty words just to say them… It was a form of art, sketches in which I developed ghetto characters who cursed. I don’t want to be referred to as a dirty old man, rather a ghetto expressionist.” His perspective greatly affected how I listened to this record again. It is a comedy record, sure, but the rhyming he uses, the subject matter and even the smooth jazz playing behind his words almost make this a proto-rap record. A lot of this record sounds like he’s in a living room with some friends hanging, playing music, smoking joints, drinking beers and just telling funny stories. I think that’s why it endears to me like it does too as I listen again. Hanging with friends, telling stories and laughing together is always a great time and this record reminds me of that.
For the vinyl nerds I’ve included a link to this release below and for the unfamiliar, a link to my favorite track from this album. See you again soon!