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Kinky Friedman - Lasso from El Paso

  by Lisa Torem

published: 6 / 4 / 2014

Kinky Friedman  - Lasso from El Paso
Label: Floating World Records
Format: CD


Enjoyable reissue of typically offbeat 1976 live album from Texan singer-songwriter, crime novelist and politician, Kinky Friedman

Kinky Friedman is a man who parlayed weirdness into a major career. His classic ‘Lasso from El Paso’ was originally recorded in the mid 1970s. The opening track was recorded live at Dylan’s The Rolling Thunder Revue. The whole album swims with guest artists. That first track includes Roger McGuinn, Mick Ronson and T-Bone Burnett. But spread out across the other tracks are guest appearances by Ronnie Wood, Eric Clapton, Levon Helm, Ringo Starr, Rick and Terry Danko and ZZ Top producer Bill Ham. Since that time Friedman has written detective novels and dabbled in Texas politics. But this album really includes the songs that made him such a riot. “I wrote it in the limo coming to the hotel,” he smirks, before playing ‘Sold America,’ which is probably the most ironic of the bunch. “Where you going?/Nobody Knows?Sequins have fallen from your clothes” and “writing down your memories on some window in the frost” are some of the most notable lines. The pedal steel moves along at a lovely but flowing clip. The reactions of the audience are heartfelt and genuine. ‘Twinkle’ has a surprising do wop chorus and a nice touch of mandolin. The sentiments are succinct but tender and there’s a fine guitar solo to top it all off. ‘Ahab The Arab’ would probably be considered terribly political incorrect these days, but it still remains a clever novelty song, nonetheless, and Friedman has lots of fun with the quirky word plays and his Texas twang makes it even richer. ‘Dear Abby’ is another song that’s deeper than it suggests. It’s actually quite sad and penetrating. “What’s it like to live in others’ dreams and never have a dream of your own…?” See what I mean? Or “There’s a daughter no one wants in Buffalo.” Ouch! His namesake song, ‘Kinky’ is loaded with imagery from rhinestone whips to midgets and the instrumentals are right on. ‘Lady Yesterday’ finds Kinky’s voice very pure and unadorned. “If I took the fall for you, could you make it spring?” ‘Catfish’ is an odd mix of genres. The bright percussion, sax and bass coupled with awesome backing singers gives it a vivid punch. Then there’s the definitely tongue and cheek ‘Men’s Room,’ which leaves little to the imagination. It starts out with really cool barrelhouse piano. ‘Bananas and Cream’ recalls Buffet’s ‘Margaritaville’. It’s a catchy calypso with female backing voices. Then there’s “Ol’ Ben Lucas had a lot of mucous.” ‘Ol’ Ben Lucas’ is another ditty, which leaves little to the imagination. Thankfully, he’s got a bunch of kids leading the chorus so we can blame them for any disgusting reactions. ‘The Ballad of Ira Hayes’ is about fields thick as weeds and the battle between the white man and the native Indian population. Again, there’s that Friedman irony and it’s a cross between a history lesson and a Woody Guthrie tribute. But Friedman’s voice is as good as ever on this cut. The closer, ‘Waitret’ just seems to come along for the ride. It’s somewhat of a filler. But, still, there’s enough here to maintain interest and a nice mix of all things weird, classic and, of course, kinky.

Track Listing:-
1 Sold American
2 Twinkle
3 Ahab The Arab
4 Dear Abbie
5 Kinky
6 Lady Yesterday
7 Catfish
8 Men's Room, L.A.
9 Bananas And Cream
10 Ol' Ben Lucas
11 The Ballad Of Ira Hayes
12 Waitret, Please, Waitret

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