The Both Sides of Redd Foxxby Redd Foxx
Redd Foxx had been recording "adults only" comedy albums for a number of tiny labels since the mid-'50s (and enjoying an impressive degree of success) when he made the jump to the big leagues in 1966. Loma Records, the short-lived R&B subsidiary of Frank Sinatra's Reprise label, signed Foxx that year and his first LP for Loma, The Both Sides of Redd Foxx, was recorded during a nightclub engagement in Hollywood. In most respects, Both Sides wasn't all that different than most of Foxx's earlier albums; the material was a bit less spicy than some of his "underground" efforts (though the back cover still bore the headline "Adult Comedy!") and the production values were a bit higher, but the thrust of Foxx's comedy was the same. Both Sides finds Foxx bantering with his audience (and unafraid to verbally spar with them when the mood hit him) as he drifts from one topic to another with a playful but jaundiced eye -- his experiences in the Army, race relations, his wife, ugly people, kids, drinking. While Foxx's best material had an edge to it, he's in an easygoing mood on Both Sides, but he's unafraid to let a little venom seep into his material when he talks about racism or confronts his audience, and while there are moments where Foxx seems to be making nice for the sake of his new sponsors (and the apparently integrated crowd at the nightclub), he still delivers the sort of earthy, late-night vibe that his audience expected of him. The Both Sides of Redd Foxx isn't the definitive recorded example of his standup comedy, but it captures Foxx on a good night and taking one of the first steps toward the mainstream success that would lead to him starring in the television series Sanford and Son six years later.
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