After issuing the music-oriented efforts Silver Throat: Bill Cosby Sings and Bill Cosby Sings Hooray for the Salvation Army Band! in 1967, comedian Bill Cosby returned to standup on the following year's To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With. Unlike his earlier comedy recordings -- which found Cosby in the comparatively intimate confines of a nightclub or lounge -- here he is captured live in front of an SRO audience at the significantly larger Cleveland Public Auditorium circa early 1968. The monologues build nicely upon characters and subplots already established as legend in the Cosby canon. As such, in "Baseball" he goes into greater detail about his school days as an athlete who had the good sense to "know when to go out of bounds." He takes this point a step further when discussing the "Conflict" that exists when a sports competitor's mind is out of sync with his body. As only Cosby can, he seamlessly segues into tales of his daughters -- who he jokingly refers to as "The Losers" since he wanted sons -- and the various adjustments that fatherhood has made on his life and outlook. Particularly amusing is the reenactment of his kids' ability to be endlessly amused and entertained by the same joke -- especially when repeated ad nauseum. Or the trepidation he feels when teaching them to swim, or sink, as the case may be. The second half of the disc is taken up with the title track, "To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With." During the nearly half-hour tour de force, Cosby revisits incidents from his own childhood and the vast differences that occur from being the sole child and then (at the age of seven) having to deal with siblings. He portrays his younger brother and himself as "two demons that have to live, sleep, and eat together" before describing the assorted brands of mayhem that he and Russell would dish out, and the resulting distinctions between the way his mother and father would discipline them. Anyone who has, knows, or even was a child at one time or another will find much to enjoy and revisit here. The album would be the last of Cosby's classic '60s platters to hit the Top Ten pop survey, where it landed at an impressive number seven in April of 1968.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer