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Kinky Friedman

by Paul Rapp on June 20, 2012 · 1 comment

THE LINDA, JUNE 18

I last saw Richard Kinky Big Dick Friedman at Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic in Gonzales, Texas. I know this because I know I was there and he was there, but, for reasons that remain obscure, I have no specific recollection of his performance. His show before a packed house at the Linda, however, will remain vividly in my memory forever.

The audience was part ’70s-era Texas outlaw types, who haven’t aged particularly well, and part Don Imus fans (Kinky’s a frequent guest), which made for an interesting mix. But no matter. Kinky simply killed, in a generous, almost-two-hour show.

There was the raconteur-comedian, telling rambling, splintered stories that always seemed to find their way back home after a dozen detours. Kinky’s a master at this—virtually every sentence was a laugh line, perfectly delivered, and the humor knew no boundaries with regard to subject matter, political bent and, especially, taste. I haven’t laughed this hard for this long in a long, long time. The songs ranged from silly (“Old Man Lucas”) to the tasteless (“The Ballad of Charles Whitman”) to the absurdly misogynist (“Get Your Biscuits in the Oven And Your Buns in the Bed”) to the somber and flat-out poignant (“Sold American,” “Ride ‘Em, Jewboy”). He closed the show by reading a chapter from one of his many books, Heroes of a Texas Childhood, an absolutely bittersweet ode to his late father. Eyes welled with tears throughout the room. This, of course, coming mere minutes after Kinky observed: “Y’know, I hate peed-o-philes as much as the next person, put you gotta hand it to ‘em, they do slow down for school zones.”

As a friend observed, Kinky’s an American original, a libertine, profane and honest and fearless and brilliant, with a twinkle in his eye and a heart as big as Texas. It was an absolute honor just to be in the same room.

Opening the show were Saratoga’s Tequila Mockingbirds, who stunned the crowd with a crisp set of acoustic-guitar instrumentals. George Fletcher (son of singing cowboy Tex Fletcher) is simply a master of the instrument, and cohort Peter Pashoukos ain’t far behind. The set spanned a bunch of styles from Django to Southside blues to space-age electronics, and the duo were mind-bogglingly tight and engaging. They left the stage with a roomful of new fans.

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