This review originally appeared in the 2.21.12 issue of Metroland
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 this week before a packed house at the Linda, however, will remain
vividly in my memory forever.
audience was equally ‘70’s-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
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.
songs, ranging 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 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.
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 was mind-bogglingly
tight and engaging. They left the stage
with a roomful of new fans.