Bill Cosby on Miles Davis, Willie Nelson, and Willie Weed

By Raoul Hernandez, 3:07PM, Wed. Oct. 24, 2012

Vintage Bill & Camille Cosby
Vintage Bill & Camille Cosby

The Austin Record Convention happens this weekend, and as stated on this same forum in 2009, comedy records by Bill Cosby, George Carlin, and Cheech & Chong were as common to Seventies LP libraries as discs by Zeppelin and the Stones. Only Cosby remains easy to phone up.

The 75-year-old vinyl standard, television icon, and jazz patron joins both the ARC and Texas Book Festival this weekend as a must-do. We spoke three years ago for a similar Bass Concert Hall stand, and again for tomorrow's paper in conjunction with Cosby's two sets at Bass this Sunday, Oct. 28, 6:30 & 9pm.

In print, we talk politics, but as with our previous conversation, here's a juicy music tidbit worth sharing.

Austin Chronicle: Have you ever met Willie Nelson?

Bill Cosby: Yeah, I love Willie. I was playing Las Vegas. This was two decades ago. I was at the Hilton, and [my wife] Camille was with me. Miles Davis comes to town, calls the dressing room, and we’re talking, talking, talking, and he wants to talk to Camille.

He says, “What time does Bill go on?” And she says, “Oh, 8:30.” And he says, “Well, what are you going to do, because I have Cicely [Tyson] here? C’mon, I’ll take you to see Willie Nelson.”

Now let me tell you something, man. I had never seen Willie Nelson. I knew about him; we’d played Harrah’s at the same time, only I was in the 750-seat show room, and he was upstairs in their 4,000-person convention center.

But I will tell you, this man’s voice, his intonation: this man can sing the softest, most wonderful drinking song, and he can also do the softest, most wonderful gospel song.

AC: One of the things he’s known for here in Austin is Willie weed. No one has stronger weed. Everyone wants to get on his bus. Has he ever invited you onto the bus?

BC: Oh no, no, no. See, Willie and I graduated from the same class of the Kennedy Honors, and I found Willie to be fantastically wonderful. When I was given the Mark Twain Award, Willie and Wynton Marsalis played. As far as Willie’s concerned, I love Willie.

Now, is Willie smoking weed with Billy? No. No, we’re not gonna do that, but he’s never asked me to. And I don’t think I’ll be getting on the bus [laughs].

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