As you have no doubt heard, Rudy Ray "Dolemite" Moore passed away this week. I had a chance a couple of years ago to hang out with Rudy over the course of a weekend when he came to Boston for an in-person appearance at my theatre. I was excited not only because I am a huge fan of his films, but because thanks to the Norton Records anthology "Hully Gully Fever", I had become a fan of his music as well. Before his comedy career, Rudy really wanted to be a successful R&B crooner. Sometimes known as Prince Dumar, he was recording and independently releasing a slew of rather good but never chart topping ditties in the 50's and 60s.
Listen To: Rudy Ray Moore, "Hully Gully Papa"
His R&B career was artistically rewarding, but didn't pay the bills. As Rudy himself told me, one day he was sitting in front of the barber shop and was listening to some of the men tell hilariously dirty stories in exchange for tips. Never one to pass up a cash cow, Rudy recorded some of these stories in a bragging, rhythmic, rhyming style of his own and a new career was born. One of the first proudly x-rated comedians, Rudy produced a string of self-distributed albums featuring luscious nude black ladies posing with Rudy on the cover and lascivious titles like: Let's Come Together, Eat Out More Often, This Pussy Belongs To Me, Cockpit, The Sensuous Black Man, I Can't Believe I Ate the Whole Thing, Close Encounter of the Sex Kind, and This Ain't No White Christmas. Most of these gloriously rude comedy albums have been rereleased on CD, and Amazon has a slew of them for download.
One of Rudy's best albums is Dolemite For President, which is finally getting the CD reissue just after Election Day (hmmm....). Especially notable is the title skit, wherein Dolemite lays out his plan for a better America. Just last week while flipping through Brooklyn public access, I heard a DJ mistakenly play this bit of Rudy's mantra over the top of the community bulletin board notice for Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Yes, it did make me spit milk out my nose.