PLEASE NOTE: “As an Amazon Associate, [Need Coffee] earns from qualifying purchases." You know we make money from Amazon links,
and I know you know this, but they make us say it anyway. More info, click here.

Holiday Headsup: Richard Pryor and a Plethora of Soul

Get ready to experience greatness with THE ULTIMATE RICHARD PRYOR COLLECTION: UNCENSORED. Featuring all of Pryor’s most memorable stand-up and television performances together in one collection for the very first time, the 13-disc collector’s set ($99.95srp) contains more than 26 incredible hours of comedy. The groundbreaking stand-up, the mesmerizing TV appearances, the NBC show that was too hot for TV, and so much more. Capturing the full scope of Pryor’s groundbreaking, rule-bashing career, it’s available exclusively at Pryor

Raw, sometimes shocking and always thrilling, Pryor — a once-in-a-generation innovator — pushed the envelope and was almost single-handly responsible for the comedy evolution that continues to this day. He won an Emmy®, five Grammys®, was the recipient of the very first Mark Twain Prize for American Humor (1998) and in 2017, Rolling Stone ranked him #1 on its list of the 50 best stand-up comics of all time. — from Time Life

If you’ve got a Richard Pryor fan on your shopping list for holiday mayhem, if you want to blow them out of the water, TimeLife’s Ultimate Richard Pryor Collection: Uncensored is the goto depth charge. Sure, bits of this have seen release before, but there’s plenty of exclusive stuff to the set…and when TimeLife call something Ultimate, you know that don’t mess around.

All four of his concert films are here: Live & Smokin, Live in Concert, Live on the Sunset Strip, and Here and Now. A slew of his appearances on TV on Merv Griffin, Dick Cavett, and Johnny Carson. The one feature film he directed–Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling–is here. You’ve got footage from Pryor’s first film from 1969, Uncle Tom’s Fairy Tales, which was never finished–which was thought completely lost until 2005. Then you get into NBC territory: his 1977 TV special is here and so are all four episodes of The Richard Pryor Show which was, shall we say, a bit too spicy for 1977. Out of print? No, but expensive as hell to snag on DVD before now.

There’s also footage from The Comedy Store–with Pryor’s final performances and a tribute event. Two documentaries: Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic and I Am Richard Pryor, with bonus bits as well. Also, you’ve got the obligatory Collector’s Booklet with various Pryor ephemera.

Is it for the weak of heart or the casual Pryor fan? Probably not. Twenty-six hours across thirteen DVDs is for the hardcore. But if you or someone you love is hardcore, then this is the absolute ticket. It’s not on Amazon–nope, you can only get it from TimeLife here.

The ’70s was a special time for soul music, a decade filled with legendary artists like Al Green, Teddy Pendergrass, The O’Jays, Marvin Gaye, The Stylistics and so many more. And for home viewers, it was also a boon, as week after week, Burt Sugarman’s The Midnight Special – television’s very first live music show – made it a point to feature soul artists performing their biggest hits live and uncut in the prime of their careers. While Soul Train also featured these acts, only The Midnight Special gave viewers actual live performances instead of lip sync, treating them to virtual front row seats for performances by the most talented soul singers of the time.

Available for the first time at retail, the greatest performances from The Midnight Special featured in one spectacular 10-disc DVD collection: THE SOUL OF THE MIDNIGHT SPECIAL. Fans of ‘70s soul will thrill to an unforgettable line-up of legendary soul artists performing their greatest hits uncut and unedited — just straight-from-the-heart singing with live musicians in front of a live audience. And now, Time Life delivers a singular set featuring a collection of more than 130 live, uncut performances from 1972-1980 – many not seen since their original broadcast! — from Time Life

Well, Summer of Soul was this year. And if that knocked you or somebody on your holiday shopping list for a loop, then The Soul of The Midnight Special is an excellent follow-up. Ten DVDs, 130+ performances, it’s a cornucopia of goodness. You’ve got Chic, Natalie Cole, The Commodores, Earth Wind & Fire, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Al Green, Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, The O’Jays, Ohio Players, Lou Rawls, Ray Goodman & Brown, Sly & The Family Stone, The Spinners, The Stylistics, Bill Withers. I may have missed somebody in typing that up because…there’s a lot here.

As the man used to say: “But wait–! There’s more!” A bonus DVD comes with The Midnight Special Presents Marvin Gaye In Concert From The Atlantic Stadium which is pretty much what it says on the tin…except we should add this is the first time it’s been made available for you to snag. There’s also bonus interviews with some of the above names, but add in folks like Bobby Womack, James Brown, Quincy Jones, and a ton more. And then there’s of course the collectible book with archival stuff for you to flip through while you’re waiting for the DVD to load.

It’s the good stuff when it comes to classic soul on TV, so if you or someone you know needs it–you can find it on the TimeLife website.