Liner Note Author: Todd Everett.
Recording information: The Apollo Theater, Harlem, NY (1975).
Editor: Joe Hubbard Jr.
Photographer: David Alexander .
Redd Foxx started making comedy albums in 1956, but hadn't been paid for the vast majority of them by the time he became a mainstream star on the sitcom Sanford and Son in 1972. No one seems sure just how many albums have been released under Foxx's name, since a number of labels (most notably Dootone, Laff and MF) reissued the same material under dozens of different titles and cover designs over the years (a process that's still going on), but it's been estimated that Foxx's "party" albums moved a total of 15 million copies over the course of his career. In 1975, with Foxx a major TV star, he signed a deal with Atlantic Records and released You Gotta Wash Your Ass, which was recorded live during a show at Harlem's Apollo Theater. For the most part, You Gotta Wash Your Ass was a retread of the albums Foxx had cut back in the '50s and '60s; while the material is unapologetically rude, it's a good bit less raunchy than what Richard Pryor and other challenging new comics were doing at the same time, and a number of the bits on this album (including the title routine) had appeared on earlier Foxx LPs years before. But Foxx's effortless timing and confident delivery were both in fine shape in 1975, and his interaction with the audience (ranging from bemused bantering to lacerating insults) show the man was still a capable and fearless live performer. Foxx also got paid for this one, which may have contributed to the vigor of his performance here. Choosing a "best" or "definitive" Redd Foxx album is all but impossible given the glut of material that exists, but You Gotta Wash Your Ass offers a solid example of the stand-up act which made him a legend years before he landed his own TV show, and it's as good a place as any to check out his uncensored and unrestrained live show. ~ Mark Deming