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The Best of Rudy Ray Moore & Friends

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Album Review

In a 2006 interview with's Martin A. Berrios, veteran comedian Rudy Ray Moore (who had reached 79) pointed out that he was doing X-rated comedy when Richard Pryor was still doing clean comedy. Indeed, Moore took blue humor to another level, bombarding audiences with profanity and rhyming about pimps, players, hustlers, ballers, tricks, and hoes — in other words, all of the things that Too Short, Ice-T, and Snoop Dogg subsequently earned a very good living rapping about. Assembled in 2006, The Best of Rudy Ray Moore & Friends looks back on Moore's groundbreaking '70s work and is full of raunchy, sexually explicit material that helped pave the way for so many of the hardcore rappers who emerged in the '80s, '90s, and 2000s. The tracks on this 55-minute CD can be divided into two categories: (1) essential Moore favorites like "Signifyin' Monkey," "Petey Wheatstraw," "Dolemite," and "Shine & the Great Titanic"; and (2) lesser-known but enjoyable recordings by Moore-influenced comedians Billie McAllister (a female impersonator), Nancy Reed (aka Lady Reed), and Jerry Walker. Anyone with even a basic knowledge of Moore's legacy will be familiar with "Dolemite" and "Signifyin' Monkey," but only the truly hardcore and most knowledgeable Moore fans will be familiar with the rare McAllister, Reed, and Walker material — which makes The Best of Rudy Ray Moore & Friends especially important for collectors. As a best-of, this disc falls short of ideal; "Mr. Big Dick" and "Hurricane Annie" are among the essential classics that are missing. But The Best of Rudy Ray Moore & Friends still has a lot going for it, and serious collectors will be delighted to see the McAllister, Reed, and Walker rarities now available on CD.


Born: 17 March 1927 in Fort Smith, AR

Genre: Comedy

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

If Redd Foxx was the king of the party record during the '50s and '60s, then certainly Rudy Ray Moore upped the ante during the '70s with a succession of triple-X-rated platters that were so hot most stores could only sell them under the counter, even during the height of the sexual revolution. His best routines, usually spoken in rhyme, presaged the rap revolution in music by a good 20 years, while his lone acting role, starring in Dolemite, remains one of the great blaxploitation...
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The Best of Rudy Ray Moore & Friends, Rudy Ray Moore
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