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21st Century Dolemite

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Album Review

Some performers stumble into bad taste, but Rudy Ray Moore has been charging headfirst into the stuff like an advancing army for over 30 years. Eat out More Often (1970), the album that made Moore an underground star, was X-rated party humor that would have made Redd Foxx blanch, and Moore's first album of the millennium, the appropriately named 21st Century Dolemite, leaves no doubt that he hasn't mellowed a bit with the passing of time. Moore revived his long-dormant career as an R&B singer, and 21st Century Dolemite is divided between dizzying rude standup comedy and equally raunchy songs that document Moore's continuing obsession with sex. As a singer, Moore isn't going to make anyone forget Wilson Pickett or Bobby Womack, but he's not bad, and he has the good sense to talk over the notes he can't hit. As a songwriter, he's far stronger on old school R&B styled numbers like "Willa Mae" and "Hip Shakin' Papa" than on hip-hop-influenced tracks like "Put Your Weight on It" or "ABC's"; while it's true enough that Rudy was rappin' a decade before they knew what to call it, when it comes to beats he sure ain't Timbaland. (He's also something of a borrower; "Cabbage Head" is lifted wholesale from an old folk song that the Dubliners made famous as "Seven Drunken Nights.") Moore's comedy and his lyrics both come from exactly the same place, and if the constant parade of anti-PC humor gets a bit tired after 72 minutes, you've got to give Moore credit for consistency — he knows what his fans want, and he delivers it in super-sized portions here. (He's also apparently willing to dip into the past as well; "Do You Call That a Buddy?" appears to be an overdubbed version of a tune cut back in the early '60s, while the comic bits "Two Soldiers" and "Press Conference" are retreaded from early-'70s recordings.) 21st Century Dolemite proves Rudy Ray Moore is still dedicated to giving his fans the kind of top-quality smut they've come to expect from him, and if it's not a work of warped genius like his older stuff, he's still more imaginatively filthy than anyone else in comedy. And as Rudy would say, "I ain't lyin'!"


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...
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21st Century Dolemite, Rudy Ray Moore
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