Thursday, April 9, 2020

Rudy Ray Moore (as "The Prince") "The Sensuous Black Man"

(Kent, 1972) This is one of the most interesting, and certainly the most focussed, LP in the bawdy comic's lengthy discography. While Moore's name does not appear on the album cover as an artist (though The Prince, Black Prince, and Captain Midnight are all listed, and "R.R. Moore" appears in small print as the producer), on the record he is all Rudy Ray. He is bold, crude, fearless, somewhat artless, funny, and loud. But this is not a comedy album, and while graphic it is also not pornography. It is an exercise is pride (boasting about his exploits, but more significantly, positing that the Black Man is a physical, sensual marvel) and education. The A side is Moore giving sex advice, including actual play by plays of what he considers ideal sessions, but done essentially for the same results Dr. Ruth strived for years later. He is presenting frank talk about stimulation, oral sex, masturbation, and sexual positions to make sure his kinsmen reach their mighty potential. Side two is a questions and answers talkback, and though Rudy sets it up with some toast/joke material, and it ends with a sexy voiced ringer asking a fake question for Rudy to bring home with a punchline boast, most of it seems to be a lively small crowd asking genuine questions and Rudy giving his best answers (with middle-aged women in the peanut gallery chiming in with cutting commentary). This includes a lengthy exchange with a young man suffering from premature ejaculation (though Moore makes it clear that labeling it with such a scientific sounding name is a white approach as opposed to his street-level language). Frank sexual talk is often a little uncomfortable to hear, and for non-Black listeners there is an extra level of unease. I recall at some point in the late 80s, I believe, the mostly white DJs at the South Side radio station WHPK  began playing this (or perhaps its sister companion album) late at night and it became a tremendous issue with with the mostly Black community audience. Certainly the dirty words were a thing, but I got the impression that a bigger objection was to the idea of something that belonged to them and was, in a way, private being shared (and seemingly mocked) by the Other. However, The Prince's offering here is a remarkable record and experiencing it (in the privacy of your home, not on the airwaves) is worth a little discomfort.

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