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The Essential Collection (2 CD + 2 DVD)

4.5 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 14, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

Bill Hicks' extraordinary social commentary is as fresh and stunning today as it was in the 80's and 90's. He confronted mainstream beliefs and hypocrisy. Bill often engaged his audiences, encouraging them to travel with him and evolve. He described himself as "Chomsky with dick jokes." Hicks' career was short in span but powerful in impact. His rigorous touring schedule from the early 80's into the early 90's often tallied over 300 nights performing per year. Hicks appeared on Late Night with David Letterman eleven times during his career.

The Essential Collection is a 4 disc set (2 CD / 2 DVD) that encompasses Bill Hicks short but powerful career as a satirist, social critic and stand-up comedian. The 2 DVD discs feature over five hours of performance footage from Bill Hicks personal archives. The video content includes rare, never before seen performance footage of Bill from the early 80 s. Also included is the cult short film, NINJA BACHELOR PARTY (starring Bill Hicks, Kevin Booth and David Johndrow), interview footage with Bill, and a DVD photo gallery with pictures from Bill s personal archives. The 2 CD discs feature over two hours of Bill s best stand up material. Included are never before released performance pieces by Bill from a San Ramon, CA performance that was found in Bill s archives. The package also features liner notes from Henry Rollins, noted UK author Paul Outhwaite and UK journalist/tv personality, Clive Anderson. Also included in the package is a download card containing 11 original song recordings by Bill entitled, Lo-Fi Troubadour.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Fevered Egos - Bill Hicks
  2. I m Talking To The Women Here - Bill Hicks
  3. My Favorite New Kid - Bill Hicks
  4. Marketing & Advertising - Bill Hicks
  5. Artistic Roll Call - Bill Hicks
  6. Orange Drink - Bill Hicks
  7. Save Willie - Bill Hicks
  8. Menu? - Bill Hicks
  9. A Killer Idea - Bill Hicks
  10. Goodbye You Lizard Scum - Bill Hicks
  11. Summertime - Bill Hicks
  12. Elvis (Previously Unreleased) - Bill Hicks
  13. The News - Bill Hicks
  14. Confession Time (Cops) - Bill Hicks
  15. Please Do Not Disturb (Previously Unreleased) - Bill Hicks
  16. Spectravision & Housekeeping - Bill Hicks
  17. Girl Of Your Dreams - Bill Hicks
  18. Clam Lappers & Sonic The Hedgehog TM - Bill Hicks
  19. What Is Pornography? - Bill Hicks
  20. Renting Pornos & Girlfriends (Previously Unreleased) - Bill Hicks
  21. Name & Address Not Withheld (Previously Unreleased) - Bill Hicks
  22. Beelzebozo (Previously Unreleased) - Bill Hicks
  23. Pussywhipped Satan - Bill Hicks
  24. I Love My Job - Bill Hicks
  25. Audience Member / Old Folks Home Manager (Previously Unreleased) - Bill Hicks
  26. Worst Audience Ever - Bill Hicks
  27. The F Word - Bill Hicks
  28. My Parents - Bill Hicks

Disc: 2

  1. Drugs Have Done Good Things
  2. Rockers Against Drugs Suck
  3. We Live In A World
  4. Drugs Have Done Good Things Part 2 (Previously Unreleased)
  5. Ding Dong
  6. Gays In The Military
  7. Speaking Of Homosexuality
  8. Children On Airplanes
  9. Your Children Aren t Special
  10. Pro Life
  11. Non-Smokers
  12. Audience Member / Dental Assistant (Previously Unreleased)
  13. Smoking
  14. Smoking Tastes Great (Previously Unreleased)
  15. Yul Brynner
  16. Smoking In Heaven
  17. Flying Saucer Tour
  18. Burning Issues
  19. Odd Beliefs
  20. Kennedy & The Warren Commission
  21. Handguns UK vs. USA (Previously Unreleased)
  22. The Vision

Disc: 3

  1. DVD: The Early Years: Stand Up. Includes Houston, TX 1981, Houston, TX 1984, Indianapolis, IN 1985, Houston, TX 1986, The Early Years TV Interview (Previously Unreleased).
  2. DVD: The Outlaw Comics. Includes The Outlaw Comics Performance, and the Origins Of The Outlaw Comics (Previously Unreleased).
  3. Photo Gallery

Disc: 4

  1. DVD: Ninja Bachelor Party
  2. DVD: About Ninja Bachelor Party
  3. DVD: Austin Bootleg Series. Includes November '91, December '92, June '93, & October '93 (Previously Unreleased).
  4. DVD: About The Austin Bootleg Series

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 14, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Label: Rykodisc
  • ASIN: B003WR9N6U
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,609 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This set has 4 discs.
2 discs of audio, and more importantly 2 DVD's.

The 2 audio discs are culled from all of Bill's previous releases, with
a handful of tracks from a previously unheard tape.

Bill's material is brilliant, however it could have used some clever editing.
It seems like someone just made a 2-disc compilation at random.

These 2 audio discs are beside the point. Consider the 2 discs as extra's.


The 2 DVD's are something I've been waiting many years to see.
These are an absolute goldmine.

I'm still absorbing all that is here. It's a lot of performance footage.

First, we have a full 1981 performance from Houston.
It's amazing that this footage exists at all.
All of Bill's releases are from 1989 to 1993, so it's
nice to get some balance to these early years.

Then there's a long set from 1985. Maybe my favorite.
Bill does an amazing Tom Waits impression....I have
read that Tom Waits is a fan, so I imagine him
getting a real kick out of hearing Bill talk about him.

This is followed by more Houston performances from 1986.
Bill seems dark and weary. There is also a long poolside
interview with Bill on some of the details of the
Houston Outlaw Comics.

THEN, my friends...we have NINJA BACHELOR PARTY in excellent quality!
The audio is perfect. The video is great. The Karate action preserved.
I've had this on dubbed VHS for years, glad to have it in DVD quality.

NINJA BACHELOR PARTY is the Citizen Kane of Ninja Bachelor Party movies.
A sweeping epic. In the DVD notes, Kevin Booth mentions a future expanded
NBP release. Thank Allah!
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Format: Audio CD
Artists who die prematurely & who have enduring fame (e.g. Bruce Lee & James Dean) tend to be followed by a spate of amazing material that seals their legacy. This is very much true of Bill Hicks as his posthumourous material IS what made him famous (with the sobriquet 'the funniest dead guy in the world').

Regrettably these releases can dilute the legacy & each subsequent release has less & less of the good, new stuff to go on. This has happened a little with Bill Hicks, as is evident by the CD release: Shock & Awe (which is the same material as Salvation, though admittedly it wasn't an official release).

So, is this a great collection or more of the same?
Well, it's a mixture. Essentially the further you progress through the collection, the better it gets, as the CD's are poor, but the MP3's are priceless.


From the beginning then - the CD's. Both CD's lack any form of structure and are a lazy mixture of the best material from all his other CD's. Those who've heard Philosophy: The Best of Bill Hicks will recognise most of the material, and all that seems to have been done here is to blend unreleased tracks that are mostly worse versions of already released routines (e.g. 'Elvis', 'Beelzebozo' and 'Drugs have done good things').
There are 5 truly unreleased tracks (of 50 on both CD's), but these are either very short (e.g. 'Audience member/ Dental Assistant') or familiar (e.g. Handguns UK vs USA).
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2 Comments 13 of 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
I have been a Bill Hicks fan for years and was excited when i heard this "essential collection" was coming out.
The first two cds are somewhat of a "Best of" collection with a lot of his old material re-packaged but there are a few unreleased tracks on there. The main point of this set is the DVDs. Us longtime Hicks fans love finding unreleased footage of Hicks even if we know the lines by heart. Whats interesting is you get you see a very young Hicks whos about 19 or 20 getting his feet wet starting his stand up career. Over the course of the DVDs you see his act progress from regular stand up comedian to the funny social critic he would later become.
The DVD also includes Kevin Booths silly short film Ninja Bachelor Party, and while the film is low budget and silly the picture quality on the DVD is much better than the majority of Ninja Bachelor Party bootlegs out there.
All in all i give it four stars as its not perfect, but if you love Hicks and his work its refreshing to see more footage of the legendary comedian.

Word of advice=
If you are new to Bill Hicks you probably dont want to start with this collection, you should first pick up the DVD "Bill Hicks Live-Satirist, Social Critic, Stand Up Comedian".
Or if you want to get a good CD of his pick up "Philosophy" or "Rant in E Minor"
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Format: Audio CD
This is a 4 disc (2 cd 2 dvd) set in a square jewelcase not a long boxset.
The dvd material is pretty rare from '81 - '86 on the first dvd. First clip he is straight out of graduating highschool and his material reflects it (school, parents, classmates, etc). Lots of the same material gets repeated but he is a joy to watch him hone his craft through the years.2nd dvd visibly shows Bill as he is getting sicker. the addition of the 'ninja party' home movie is such a waste of time. the scathing chicago '91 show would of been brilliant in it's place. The cd's have a handful of unreleased stuff but if you already own the entire BH collection already from Ryko then chances are that you've heard 93% already.
can someone answer me why the Hicks family is not releasing anything? They put of "Flying Saucer tour V1" a decade ago! How long does it take for a volume 2 ? BitTorrents have a better BH selection than his own family makes avilable.
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