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Click below for a Bill Cosby sample:

Ben

 

 

Before we give Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy all the props for balancing dual singing and comedic careers, let us remember the original M.C. (musical comedian), Bill Cosby.  Between 1967 and 1977, the Cos hit the charts several times with a series of albums that were sometimes parody, sometimes straight-laced, and always groovy.  A longtime avid jazz fan and early supporter of funky soul pioneers Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band (he was the one who arranged for Wright's deal with Warner Brothers and he wrote a special endorsement on their debut album), Cosby began his alternate career as the I Spy television show was coming to an end.  

Silver Throat was recorded with the Rhythm Band and garnered a top 20 single in "Little Ole Man," which used Stevie Wonder's "Uptight" as its musical foundation.  The rest of the album finds Cosby dabbling in covers of "Place In The Sun," "Big Boss Man," and "I Got A Woman" alongside original material including his own composition "Don'cha Know." There was more of the same on Salvation Army, which included the hometown shout-out "Funky North Philadelphia." This album is also notable for possibly the most surprising takes on "Satisfaction," "Get Out Of My Life, Woman" and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" that you will ever hear.

A brief alliance with Quincy Jones yielded the rare groove/breakbeat staple "Hicky Burr," although the complete sessions would not be released until 2004. A move to the short-lived Stax subsidiary Partee Records yielded the rare At Last .. Bill Cosby Really Sings in 1974. "No One Can Love Me The Way You Do" is something of a minor breakbeat classic. 

His final albums were recorded for Capitol, where he wrote most of the tracks with his friend Stu Gardner. Is Not Himself These Days came with a special note reminding listeners that his parodies of James Brown, Barry White and others were in no way meant as a dis to the artists. "Yes Yes Yes," where he played the White persona to perfection, became his biggest hit yet.  Disco Bill was another largely freestyled album with the funny "Boogie On Your Face."

Cosby's albums since then have found him indulging his jazz sensibilities with players such as Joe Sample and Grover Washington Jr.  

Bill Cosby's Deepest Grooves

Silver Throat (Warner Brothers, 1967) 

Hooray For The Salvation Army Junkyard Band (Warner Brothers, 1968)

The Original Jam Sessions (Concord, 1969) 

At Last .. Bill Cosby Really Sings (Partee/Stax, 1974)

Bill Cosby Is Not Himself These Days (Capitol, 1976)

Disco Bill (Capitol, 1977)  

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