Kinky Friedman

The Loneliest Man I Ever Met (Avenue A)

Texas Platters

Given the absurdities of contemporary culture, Kinky Friedman's first new studio recordings in almost 40 years warrants a sly slap in the face from the infamous raconteur and Texas Jewboy. Instead, they're a sentimental gut punch. Friedman's cigar-worn voice and the downbeat, intimate production cut brazenly sincere on opening Willie Nelson duet "Bloody Mary Morning" and a cover of Tom Waits' "A Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis." A reflective sadness then pervades Merle Haggard's "Mama's Hungry Eyes," Waylon Jennings' "Freedom to Stay," and gentle songbook closers "Wand'rin Star" and "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square." Warren Zevon's "My Shit's Fucked Up" strips a harrowing mortality against Mickey Raphael's lonesome harmonica, while Friedman originals "Lady Yesterday" and the title track linger as gorgeous, regret-tinged ballads. The Loneliest Man I Ever Met refuses to be overshadowed by Kinky Friedman's outsized personality.

****

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