Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., July 27, 2007
Kinky FriedmanLive From Austin TX (New West)
With New West plumbing the vaults of Austin City Limits over the past couple of years, viewers have been able to experience some of the magic that's happened on the legendary PBS staple in uncut form. The issuing of this Kinky Friedman show is another animal altogether. Recorded in November 1975, it is the only ACL taping in more than 30 years that never made it to television. The reason isn't exactly clear, but one can infer that the Kinkster's unapologetic political incorrectness was a little too pointed for TV of the time. The set-closing triptych of "Arsehole From El Paso," "They Ain't Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore," and "Ride 'Em Jewboy" must have given the blue hairs at public television tremors. At nearly an hour, the DVD offers a rare glimpse into Friedman's past, as well as offering an amusing glimpse at the fashions and hairstyles of the day -- both onstage and in the studio audience. Wacky hats, assorted facial hair, and the Texas Jewboys' distinctive eyewear augment the cigar-toting singer, who's no slouch with his blue fur guitar strap and outsized blue sunglasses. Musically, it's all well-played mid-Seventies country rock taken to an illogical extreme, one that will plaster a smile on your face for days unless you're one of those blue hairs. As with most of their other ACL releases, New West has issued this on CD as well, but this is one case where the music without the visuals isn't even worth considering.