Richard Pryor’s 1973 “Live at the Comedy Store” Concert Gets Its First Release

“Monday, October 29, 1973: Richard Pryor hits the Comedy Store for night one of a four-show run that will, within a year, yield one of the greatest comic documents of all time, a generational sea change no one saw coming.” — From the new liner notes by Cory Frye

Richard Pryor’s 1973 “Live at the Comedy Store” concert gets its first commercial version of the legendary comic’s 1973 four-show run in Hollywood plus 6 bonus performances on July 23.

After the release of his iconic debut, Richard Pryor, in 1968, Pryor further sharpened his skills and delivered the comedy classic, “Craps” (After Hours) in 1971, but he never stopped pushing forward. In preparation for a Kennedy Center show in Washington, D.C., and a February 1974 Soul Train Club date in North Beach, San Francisco (that would produce the top-selling That Nigger’s Crazy) Pryor booked four nights at the, then relatively new, Comedy Store on Sunset Boulevard to woodshed new material. It was never meant to be heard beyond its original audience, but luckily tape not only rolled, but survived.

Fourteen tracks were originally issued in 2013 as a limited-edition promotional CD given away with copies of the No Pryor Restraint: Life In Concert boxed set purchased from Shout! Factory’s website. Six additional Comedy Store performances found their way into the public earlier as bonus material on 2000’s …And It’s Deep Too!: The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings (1968–1992) and Evolution/Revolution: The Early Years (1966-1974) in 2005. Now, all 20 tracks are pulled together for the first time and available on Live At The Comedy Store, 1973.

The release was produced by noted Pryor expert Reggie Collins, who helms this new set along with Jennifer Lee Pryor and Grammy®-winning producer, Cheryl Pawelski. Packaging features new liner notes from Cory Frye and restoration from Grammy®-winner, Michael Graves.

From Frye’s notes, “As time has shown, there’s no death with Richard Pryor. He may have left us in 2005 (after whole decades that would have killed lesser men), but his own afterlife’s proven immense, minus the eight billion harp-happy m***********s he once described practicing on some distant cloud. Here’s a chance to catch him just as he begins to live—again.”