Back in the mid-70s, I was footloose following my second and last semester in college (New College in South Florida was as half-assed a babysitter-of-rich-kids university as could be contrived, even though Toynbee used to teach there, and I never set foot inside a damned college again), travelling around the country before landing in Portland, Oregon, Bill Walton City. I ended up going on staff at an alternative K-12 education foundation in another part of the state and there met a kindred soul, a Jewish/not-Jewish guy who not only used to drive the Jews for Jesus bus in Arizona but also had been an underwater welder for offshore oil rigs, among other talents. His work was so perfect that it was x-rayed and used to instruct others in just how such things were done. A fascinating and hilarious gent, we became good buddies for about a year before he decided to hit the road again. At the school, when other staffers saw us coming, they'd start sweating, never knowing if we were about to pull a practical joke, deliver devastating commentary on some aspect of the foundation's shenanigans, or include 'em in some kind of hilarity. The place was never the same after he left, I also exeunted not long after, but, Bruce, if you're out there and reading this, I sure as hell would like to get in contact again. My e-mail address is in the upper right hand corner of this review page.
I mention all that because he and I both dug Richard "Kinky" Friedman & His Texas Jewboys. That fractured musician was definitely a kindred spirit, no respect for anything and a huge love of life, amused by everything he saw, a tarnished angel wandering in a hell damned forever by its own mediocrity. I use the past tense in talking about the cat, but Kinky's still alive 'n kickin'—especially the kickin' part—has become a noted mystery writer, and remains a cult figure in music, along the aesthetic lines of The Bonzo Dog Band, Root Boy Slim, Wilderness Road, and other underlauded acts. This Lost & Found: The Famous Living Room Tape, 1970 is manna from heaven for collectors, as it FINALLY unearths a truly legendary lost recording. Nearly half a century later, we get to hear what we shoulda received 43 years earlier. The CD re-preserves a lost time, the era when The Youngbloods, Country Joe and The Fish, the Grateful Dead, Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks, and others held sway, a klatsch Friedman is perfectly home among.
This smirking hellraiser's history is also the stuff of legend. In '73, after the band's rendition of Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in the Bed, feminists leaped on-stage and started a fight with the band, shutting the concert down. In '75, the boys played Austin City Limits and the franchise has to this day refused to air what was admittedly a great but obscene gig. It's the only show to be thus honored. Commander Cody broke the troupe into the "big time", Bob Dylan had 'em open for the second half of the Rolling Thunder Revue tour, and Willie Nelson loves the guy. The material here shows why. It's hilarious, melancholy, melodramatic, grassroots, and doesn't give a damn who likes it and who don't. A cross of folk, country, and jug, you can just as easily place it next to Jim Kweskin's old LPs as David Allan Coe's, even Tom Waits', it doesn't matter. Two warnings, though: 1) Chinga Chavin's Asshole from El Paso doesn't appear here though I advise you to check it out on YouTube or something, and 2) have a fifth of whiskey to hand for best overall effect once you toss the disc in the player. And don't play it too damn loud unless you want the cops citing you for violating obscenity statutes…or they might just walk in, sit a spell, give a listen, have a beer with you, and then call and tell the original complainant to go fuck him/herself. Could happen.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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