With a hit TV show, numerous variety and talk show appearances, regular stints in some of the more upscale nightclubs around the country, and five long-players in under three years, there didn't seem to be such as thing as too much Bill Cosby in the mid-'60s. The material here returns Cosby to familiar territory, with the storyteller reminiscing about his childhood and -- more so than in the past -- making modern observations on a wide range of topics. Perhaps owing to the continued success that his records were having on the album charts, 1967's Revenge was mined from the same run of shows at Harrah's in Lake Tahoe that had yielded the previous year's Wonderfulness. In the title work, Cosby recounts the lengthy and methodical steps in getting "Revenge" on his slushball nemesis, Junior Barnes, only to find that his mother had unwittingly put the kibosh on his plans. Other monologues incorporating tales of the comedian's childhood include his recollections of life as an only child before having to deal with "Two Brothers." Even when retelling occurrences involving his own children in "Two Daughters," he finds a common touchstone back to experiences that will come full circle on "The Tank" -- as both attempt to unravel the mystery of why children are so fascinated with the toilet bowl. The tale of having to walk across the "9th St. Bridge" and the classic "Buck, Buck" are unquestionably the impetus for Cosby's continuing saga of Fat Albert. Albert and the rest of the gang would continue to pop up throughout the remainder of Cosby's late-'60s and early-'70s career, even turning their youthful exploits into a long-running animated edutainment show, Fat Albert & the Cosby Kids -- which would run well into the '80s. Revenge concludes with "Planes," a short piece in which Cosby discusses the so-called "elephant in the living room" with regard to air travel -- adding that self-preservation is the first thing on his mind when confronted with facing the inevitable. Stories with a similar adult point of view would incrementally replace the popular fables and yarns of Fat Albert on future comedy projects. However, before releasing his next LP of standup, Cosby would take advantage of his celebrity status and indulge himself with two music-related platters: 1967's Silver Throat: Bill Cosby Sings (which contained the hit single "Little Ole Man [Uptight, Everything's Alright]") as well as 1968's Bill Cosby Sings Hooray for the Salvation Army Band!
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer