Over The Weekend: Kinky Friedman at Sons of Hermann Hall

Categories: Show Reviews
Kinky Friedman, Josh Alan Friedman
Sons of Hermann Hall
August 6, 2011

Better than: Rick Perry's prayer meeting.

Kinky Friedman

Sons of Hermann Hall had a full house on Saturday night for KNON's 28th anniversary celebration, headlined by Kinky Friedman. It was a hardcore segment of The People to whom the station gives Voice, and they were an enthusiastic audience, a demographic perhaps best characterized by the long gray ponytails on several men in the audience. 

Kinky hung around on the fire escape landing outside the show room in his trademark black coat and hat, chewing on a cigar, while Josh Alan Friedman did a bluesy, wordy opening set. Original Kinky bandmate Little Jewford, clad in a Jewfro and striped sport coat, wandered around the room, stopping by the food table (a $100 ticket included dinner) to nibble on leftovers. 

"Several people tonight have asked if I'm related to Kinky," Josh Allen Friedman said at one point in the night. "That's more of a philosophical question..." 

The answer, of course, is that they are biologically unrelated. But with songs like "Black and Jews," the younger Friedman is decidedly Kinkster-esque, indeed. Plus he wore all black. His set went on just long enough that phones were lighting up throughout the room during "What I Say," but at the end, he got a robust standing O. 

Then the stage was set with Little Jewford's keyboard, a mic, and a stool holding a shot glass and a bottle of Man in Black Tequila, Kinky's newest venture. (He already sells cigars and hot sauce.) Little Jewford introduced "the Governor of the Heart of Texas," to the strains of "The Yellow Rose of Texas," and Kinky stepped up to the mike. 

A Kinky Friedman show is nothing like what you'd expect -- bombast and shtick, George Burns in a cowboy hat. It had less bombast than the opening act. 

Up on stage, Kinky seemed almost vulnerable. His lyrics are sly -- what kind of rubbers did Joseph use before all hell broke loose? -- but his presentation was singer-songwriter simple. There are pretty melodies, there's his serviceable voice, there are some good one-liners ("Are there any children here tonight? I don't like to say 'Fuck' in front of a C-H-I-L-D."), there are some politically incorrect jokes and there;s a smattering of political commentary. 

"I know some people voted for me, but not as many as say they did," Kinky said from the stage. He got the audience to sing along to "Ol' Ben Lucas" (had a lot of mucus). He drank shots, and plugged his tequila. 

He dedicated "Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in the Bed" to his friend Ruth Buzzi who was in the audience and who stood up to give a wave. That song culminated in Little Jewford playing three kazoos simultaneously -- two in his mouth and one (ostensibly) with another air-emitting orifice. Little Jewford -- Harpo to Kinky's Groucho -- also had his moments with a medley of Jewish songs and Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag." 

Near the end of the show, Kinky stopped the music to read a chapter about his father from his book Heroes of a Texas Childhood, first complaining about meeting college kids in Texas who'd never heard of Barbara Jordan or Audie Murphy. 

"If I ever am governor of Texas, this book will be mandatory reading," he said. 

In one way, Kinky is Borscht Belt, but in another he's earnest as his favorite songwriter, Woody Guthrie, whose song "Pretty Boy Floyd" he sang to close the show. 

After his standing ovation, he took a spot at his swag table to shake hands, sign books, and meet The People. Because that's really what Kinky's about. 

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
I'm a Texas Jewgirl, so seeing Kinky for a first time seemed mandatory. Plus, if you go to the Amazon page for my book, The Yankee Chick's Survival Guide to Texas, Kinky's Guide to Texas etiquette (Or How to Get to Heaven or Hell Without Going Through Dallas-Fort Worth) is always included among the "frequently bought together" titles. We're kinda joined at the spine. 

Random Note: Before the show, Kinky pointed out, quite kindly, that I'd gotten something wrong in my interview: He'd said "I just like to do my part as a one of the few nails in America that hasn't been hammered down." Not males, as I'd written. That really changes the meaning of the quote, and so duly noted.

Location Info


Sons of Hermann Hall

3414 Elm St., Dallas, TX

Category: Music

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"A Kinky Friedman show is nothing like what you'd expect -- bombast and shtick, George Burns in a cowboy hat. It had less bombast than the opening act. "

Are you insinuating Josh Alan Friedman is bombastic?  Explain yourself!

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