Bill Hicks

Love, Laughter and Truth

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When Rykodisc issued the first two posthumous Bill Hicks albums in 1997 (Arizona Bay and Rant in E-Minor), the size of the Hicks cult was already in the midst of an upward swing. Between a prominently featured sample on Tool's platinum-selling Aenima album, to the respectful acknowledgements expressed in many a band's liner notes (Radiohead and Super Furry Animals among them), Hicks' humor was beginning to reach an audience far larger than he experienced during his lifetime. This newfound awakening led many to quickly snap up the four albums that were already available, but as time passed, the anticipation for the release of more Hicks material began to heighten considerably. It was a full five years before Rykodisc finally satiated this hunger with two simultaneous releases in 2002 -- a complete show from 1991 (documented on Flying Saucer Tour, Vol. 1) and a compilation of "new" material titled Love, Laughter and Truth.

For the Hicks fan who already owns the first four albums, Love, Laughter and Truth is the next logical (and essential) piece of the puzzle, compiling almost 45 minutes of material not found on any of Hicks' previous recordings. Because the material is culled from a number of different shows from various eras of his career, the sound quality varies from track to track (although not distractingly so) and the material can be a bit scattershot (unlike, say, the focused vitriol of Rant in E-Minor) -- and yet it is always funny. It is Hicks' rare gift that even when he is simply bantering with the audience or dipping his toe into more prurient subject matter, he still manages to best other comedians whose entire repertoires consist solely of this level of humor -- and this is merely the bottom rung on the lofty ladder that Hicks could scale with great ease. Love, Laughter and Truth is yet another essential entry into the catalog of a sorely missed genius whose entire catalog is essential to the liberally minded, free thinkers of the world.

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