Willie Nelson Sings Kinky Friedman (Why the Hell Not?)

Kinky invites country greats to sing his songs

Kinky Friedman — “Why The Hell Not…” This is one songwriter who has prolifically put out songs ranging from the near-obscene to the tacky to the romantically poetic for decades. His recent race for the Texas governor’s office carried the same slogan as the name of his latest CD. The twist is that he doesn’t sing a single song on it, just wrote them all. Each of the 10 songs is recorded by singer-friends, some famous, others regional favorites.When the distributor, Sustain Records, sent us a CD of one release, Charlie Robison’s “Wild Man From Borneo,” we glowingly told you about it and promised a review of the complete CD. Here it is.First, shame on Kinky for making “Ain’t Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore” available to the public and shame on T. Snider for recording it. Although the lyrics turn around into a positive spin, ethnic slurs and curse words aren’t musical.

That said, the CD otherwise is an amazing collection of Friedman songs. Willie Nelson seriously performs what is probably the Kinkster’s most profound song ever, “Ride ’Em Jewboy.” Nelson’s version demonstrates the serious allegory of the song and deserves serious attention.

Kevin Fowler sings the spoof “Get Your Biscuits In The Oven (and your buns in bed)” and even more traditional women have to smile at such outdated chauvinism. “Sold American,” sung by Lyle Lovett, Dwight Yoakum’s version of “Rapid City, South Dakota,” and “Lady Yesterday” by Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis are simple and delicate love songs, and the aforementioned “Wild Man Of Borneo” is a keeper.

 

Can you even imagine Asleep At The Wheel and Reckless Kelly on one song? “Homo Erectus” is positive proof that such unusual style combinations can work. The song is complete with fiddle, steel guitar, drums, mandolin, accordion and everything Texas music includes. The harmonies are punched by perceptions of barbershop sounds, American Indian beats, doo-wop hints, and a bass voice standing in for bass guitar. Fun.Jason Boland sings “The Gospel According to John.” No, not the John in the Bible, but an elderly radio preacher. So, is the song about John the preacher or the old woman who listens to him faithfully? The answer is “Yes.” Boland’s raspy voice becomes old man John.Lastly, the CD ends with Delbert McClinton singing, “Autograph,” a song about the life of the golden boy of the silver screen, almost reminiscent of the earlier “Sold American” lyrics.

If you can’t find a copy of “Why The Hell Not…” in record stores, go online to www.sustainrecords.com to purchase it.

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