Kinky Friedman

Live from Austin TX

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Anyone who was foolish enough to book Kinky Friedman & the Texas Jewboys for an hourlong television appearance in 1975, imagining that the notoriously irreverent and taste-challenged Friedman would make nice for the occasion, probably deserved to have to scramble to fill some air time when Kinky's installment of PBS' roots music series Austin City Limits was deemed unfit to broadcast. While Friedman's Austin City Limits taping has yet to appear on the public airwaves, New West Records has finally released the material on CD and DVD as part of its Live from Austin, TX series drawn from the ACL archives. More than 20 years later, while much of Kinky's rudeness doesn't seem all that outrageous compared to an average episode of South Park or Mind of Mencia, it's still difficult to imagine that Kinky believed these versions of "They Ain't Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore," "Men's Room L.A.," and "Arsehole from El Paso" would ever get heard outside of the KLRU studios, though the musicians and the audience seem to be having a grand time on this particular evening. (There may have been technical factors involved as well -- at one point, Friedman points out a faulty microphone, saying "This dog ain't gonna hunt right here, I don't believe," and said mike audibly gives up the ghost during the disc's final number.) Kinky and his partners in crime deliver a set of fan favorites on this album, including "Rapid City, South Dakota," "Highway Café," and "Mama Baby Mama," and while there are moments where it's hard to say how everyone kept a straight face while delivering this material (especially Friedman's manic between-song patter), the Texas Jewboys make with some potent country boogie, and their cover of Billy Swan's "Lover Please" is a pleasant and rollicking surprise. This is as close as listeners are ever going to get to hearing one of Kinky Friedman's over the top '70s club gigs re-created in the new millennium, and if you think you'll be offended by this stuff, you most certainly will, but longtime fans with a taste for Kinky's musical absurdity will have a ball.

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