Richard Pryor Preaches the Gospel of Motown- Can I Get an Amen?
The scripture from "the Book of Wonder" comes alive as Richard Pryor evangelizes for the gospel of Motown, laying it on thick as a soulful man of God.
“Once upon a time, in a kingdom known as Detroit,” began Richard Pryor at Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, a star-studded television celebration of the Sound of Young America in 1983. He told the Motown story as a fairy tale about “a young warrior named Berry” and his adventures of fighting “in an arena with padded gauntlets.” When the boxing career didn't work out, he “took employment at a local chariot factory called 'Ford.'” His first steps at songwriting not yet epic, young Berry, Pryor tells us, "went out on a great quest, and he found Miracles, and Wonders, and Marvalettes, and he brought the discoveries to a secret place called Hitsville and there he taught them wondrous things."
This was not the foul-mouthed comic's only intersection with the record label that called itself "The Sound of Young America." Richard Pryor's Grammy-winning 1975 album ...Is It Something I Said? ends with a side-splitting track called "Our Text for Today." Pryor muses on how much white churches scare him with their docile singing and meek ministers. "In black church," he points out," you get a show with your money." Pryor then launches into an impassioned, enthusiastic, dynamic monologue quoting "the Book of Wonder," consisting of lyrics from Stevie Wonder's masterful track "Living for the City." The Top 10 single from Innervisions relates the struggle of a young black man born in Mississippi, who is discriminated against in the country and in the big city when he moves to New York. Hearken as a spirited Richard Pryor delivers "Our Text for Today."