Kinky Friedman

Kinky Friedman

Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys snuck onto the music scene in the early ’70s with satirical country songs. It’s no surprise that songs like “Ride ’em Jewboy” and “They Ain’t Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore” never cracked the top of the pops. When his music career stalled in the ’80s, he turned to writing offbeat mystery novels that featured a fictionalized version of Kinky as a New York City private eye. He also ran for various political offices, including justice of the peace, agriculture commissioner and governor. Circus of Life is Kinky’s first collection of new songs in forty years. If you believe his press release, he got to writing because Willie Nelson told him he was watching too many Matlock reruns on TV.

Circus of Life is a collection of story songs about down and outers and stray dogs. The opening track, “A Dog Named Freedom”, combines pathos and humor as Kinky tells the story about a homeless vet and his three-legged dog. Kinky’s voice, mellowed by age and cigar smoke is perfect for conveying the world-weariness and defiance of the character. “Jesus in Pajamas” finds Kinky describing a 3am encounter with a homeless man in a Denny’s in Dallas. “Help me if you can, ” is the request from the divine. Like many of us, Kinky might have been able to help, but he beats a retreat leaving the homeless man drooling at his table.

Musically, Kinky is playing a laid-back brand of country music similar to what Willie Nelson is doing these days. “Autographs in the Rain” pays tribute to Willie, the help he has given people like Kinky and his devotion to his fans. The people inhabiting Kinky’s songs come from the same dives and backstreets as Tom Waits characters. “Sister Sarah” sounds like the sort of person who you’d find hanging out with Tom’s “Gun Street Girl”. I haven’t been waiting with baited breath for a new Kinky Friedman album, but I am glad that he heeded Willie’s advice. There will always be Matlock reruns on TV.

http:/www.kinkyfriedman.com

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