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Music – 1976 – Kinky Friedman – Dear Abby

DOG ASIDE:

By now my readers know that I am “full blown happy” when I get to write about any and all Austin icons that show up in a video that I have to post….cuz Austin is where it all started with ImaSportsphile…..so those folks whom we hold near and dear to our hearts….and Kinky Friedman is an American singer,  songwriter, novelist, humorist, politician and former columnist for Texas Monthly….who styles himself in the mold of popular American satirists Will Rogers and Mark Twain….as he was one of two independent candidates in the 2006 election for the office of Governor of Texas….when he received 12.6% of the vote while placing fourth in the six-person race.

Friedman formed his first band, King Arthur & the Carrots, while a student at the University of Texas at Austin…..as the band poked fun at surf music….and recorded only one single in 1966….“Schwinn 24/Beach Party Boo Boo”.  By 1971, Friedman had formed his second band, Kinky Friedman and The Texas Jewboys….which many took to be a play on the name of the famous band Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys.  In keeping with the band’s satirical nature….each member had a comical name….where in addition to Kinky there were Little Jewford, Big Nig, Panama Red, Wichita Culpepper, Sky Cap Adams, Rainbow Colors, and Snakebite Jacobs….and a more conventionally named roadie Jack Slaughter and road manager Dylan Ferrero rounded out the crew…..while providing most of the driving of the “tour bus”, a Cadillac with 10-year-old expired license plates and a nasty predilection for going into a coma at the most inconvenient moment….but, according to Friedman, her talent lay in her ability to stop on a dime and pick up the change.  

Arriving on the wave of country rock following on from Gram Parsons, The Band, and the Eagles…. where Friedman originally found cult fame as a country and western singer. His break came in 1973 thanks to Commander Cody….who contacted Vanguard Music on his behalf….and soon thereafter,  Friedman released Kinky Friedman in 1974 for ABC Records….then toured with Bob Dylan in 1975-6.  His repertoire mixed social commentary like in “We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to You” and maudlin ballads like “Western Union Wire”….with raucous humor such as “Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in Bed”….and his “Ride ‘Em Jewboy” was an extended tribute to the victims of the Holocaust.  

Some of his most famous numbers are “How Can I Tell You I Love You (When You’re Sitting On My Face)” and “They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore,”….which is a song in where Kinky verbally and physically beats up a drunken white racist who berates blacks, Jews, Italians, Greeks and Sigma Nu’s in a bar…..with sample lyrics:

Oh, they ain’t makin’ Jews like Jesus anymore,                                                                                                      They ain’t makin’ carpenters that know what nails are for.   

Other Friedman tunes include “The Ballad of Charles Whitman,” in which Friedman lampooned Charles Whitman’s sniper attack from the University of Texas at Austin’s Main Building tower on August 1, 1966. His cover of Chinga Chavin’s “Asshole from El Paso”….ia a parody of Merle Haggard’s “Okie from Muskogee”….which is, perhaps, his most famous song.  One of Friedman’s most infamous concerts was a 1973 performance in Buffalo, New York….when upon performing “Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in the Bed”….a song that lampoons feminism….when a group of what Friedman described as “cranked-up lesbians” entered into a fight with the band and forced the concert to end early while Friedman and the band were escorted off stage….to which the National Organization for Women awarded Friedman the “Male Chauvinist Pig Award” later that year, an award Friedman took with pride. 

In 1975, Friedman and his band taped an Austin City Limits show which was never aired. According to the show’s executive producer, Terry Lickona, this is the first and only time in the show’s long history that an episode went without being aired….as Lickona told the Austin Chronicle “I’ve seen it many times – it’s a very popular party tape among friends. I think it was a great show, and it might be as offensive today as it was back then.” In early 1976, he joined Bob Dylan on the second leg of the Rolling Thunder Revue tour….and Friedman was a musical guest on Saturday Night Live in October 1976…..as seen in this video herewith. Friedman also claims to have been the first full-blooded Jew to take the stage at the Grand Ole Opry.  

In February 2007, Sustain Records released a compilation of the songs of Kinky Friedman sung by other artists called Why the Hell Not….as this compilation includes contributions by Dwight Yoakam, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, and Kelly Willis.  On July 20, 2007, Friedman hosted the “Concert to Save Town Lake” to honor the memory of Lady Bird Johnson and her efforts to protect and preserve the shores of Town Lake in Austin, Texas. On April 27, 2011, Friedman launched his Springtime for Kinky Tour (cf. “Springtime for Hitler”) in Kansas City, Missouri at Knuckleheads Saloon….which included dates in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kentucky before heading towards the east coast. This was followed by a tour of Australia with Van Dyke Parks.  The truth of the matter is that Kinky Friedman is has been and will forever be why Austin has a well-loved moniker of KEEP AUSTIN WEiRD….and speaks to why he is truly beloved in the Live Music Capital of the World.

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