He rapped, tapped | Rock Candy

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

He rapped, tapped

Posted By on Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 5:21 PM

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Comedian and actor Rudy Ray Moore, better known as his most famous character, Dolemite, died on Sunday of complications related to diabetes. He was 81.

Born in Fort Smith in 1927, Moore, according to this L.A. Times obit, worked in his youth as a dancer and fortune teller. For much of the '50s and '60s, he tried to break through as an R&B singer with little success. (I've got a comp that gathers those sides. It's sort of fun in a novel way. You can certainly see hints of what Moore was to become.)

In 70s, Moore found fame with stand-up and raunchy comedy albums. Dolemite made an appearance on his debut album, "Eat Out More Often" in 1970.

Again, from the LA Times:

The way Moore told it, his introduction to Dolemite came from an old wino named Rico, who frequented a record shop Moore managed in Los Angeles. Rico told foul-mouthed stories about Dolemite, a tough-talking, super-bad brother, whose exploits had customers at the record shop falling down with laughter.

One day Moore recorded Rico telling his stories. Later Moore assumed the role of Dolemite, a character who became the cornerstone of his decades-long career as a raunchy comedian, filmmaker and blues singer.

"What you call dirty words," he often said, "I call ghetto expression."

In 1975, "Dolemite" made the jump to the big screen, with Moore starring as the anti-hero, a pimp, well-versed in kung-fu and love-making, with an all-girl army and a knack for talking almost exclusively in rhyme.

A number of similar films followed, but unlike his contemporaries Red Foxx and Richard Pryor, Moore never managed to cross over into the mainstream. But a generation of rappers, from Uncle Luke to Snoop Dogg, cite him as a chief influence. Moore, never shying away from self-promotion, called himself "the godfather of rap." And even though he may've been one of many, his toasting, signifying style did presage the genre by decades.

He was at Juanita's in 2005, the same day that the American Princes and Lucero played Vino's and T.I., Young Jeezy and Lil Wayne came to Barton. I blew it and went to Barton, which was terrible. People threw chairs; the bass was turned up full blast and you couldn't hear anything. Anyone make the right choice?


Rudy Ray Moore and the Fillmore Street Soul Rebellion "Put Your Weight On It" [Funky 16 Corners]
The Third Rudy Ray Moore Album (1973)
Sweet Peter Jeeter (1977) [WFMU Beware of the Blog]
Stephen Koch's podcast on Moore. [Arkansongs]

On the jump, four NSFW trailers for Moore films that're really, really worth watching at home or with headphones. Whether he's dancing or killing or making love or booming proclamations, he looks like he trying, but failing to suppress a big belly laugh.


"The Human Tornado"

"Disco Godfather"

"The Dolemite Explosion" Dig the hand lasers and the way the film deals with a geriatric in fight scenes.



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