Richard Pryor

The Anthology: 1968-1992

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Rhino's 2002 release The Anthology: 1968-1992 is essentially the highlights from their seminal 2000 box set, And It's Deep Too!, which contained the complete recordings (more or less) of Richard Pryor, the greatest comedian of his time and one of the great cultural forces of the 20th century. Since this is a clear case of recycling, it could be argued by some curmudgeons that there simply isn't a point behind this release, since it was all reissued. They're wrong, of course, since this not only does an excellent job of rounding up much of the greatest and best-known of his classic albums, but it provides a succinct, welcoming introduction to a large body of work -- something that simply couldn't be said about the lavish box set, no matter how great it is. Here, on the course of two discs (whose selections lean heavily on the breakthrough That Nigger's Crazy and Wanted/Richard Pryor Live in Concert), neophytes get a needed crash course in Pryor, not only through the great material, but with a terrific essay from Walter Mosley (originally published in the box), plus a nice introduction from Reggie Collins and Steve Pokorny that gently (and deservedly) plugs the larger set. If you have that set, you don't need this, but if you're curious, start here and don't be surprised if you invest in And It's Deep Too! not long afterward.

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