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KINKY FRIEDMAN & the Texas Jewboys/Lost & Found-The Famous Living Room Tapes 1970: When it comes from an old fave, we're generally suckers for those late career, unplugged, reclamations of the old songs. The voice is deeper, the fingers slower and the mind has had years to put new spins on old lyrics adding special, little squiggles to songs you know by heart. First John Prine and now Kinky Friedman have reversed that spin by releasing the basically never heard demo tapes that got them their first record deals. Unruly and wild with youthful piss and vinegar, Friedman shows off the demos that took three years to get him his first record deal for what would become his ultimate album, as well as his debut. Often sounding closer to Holy Modal Rounders than Merle Haggard, the bonus track has his producer introducing him to the Grand Ol Opry by the bands full name. Kinky flummoxes the audience finally giving them the pay off to his song as a patriotic tale. The Opry host then refers to the crew as "Kinky Friedman and this fine act". What a great discovery from the man who single handedly was the Velvet Underground of country music and the inventor of alt.country. Out of the mainstream, killer stuff.

CLARENCE JOHNSON III/Watch Him Work: Now in his late 30s, the Nawlins sax ace is changing course to be more in line with what he feels. Going for more fusion and smooth jazz, he's right in the pocket. His originals cook and his take on "Grazin in the Grass" gives it the zest Grover Washington would have had he not turned his attention to "Soulful Strut". Playing for his own account rather than a record company's, Johnson gets to push the buttons he wants to and he hits them with just the right amount of torque each time. Fun stuff that goes the distance with loads of good vibes for all.

TY WEATHERFORD/Moving Down the Road: We've been wondering how long Brian Molnar could hold down the country outpost in Brooklyn. Rechristened Ty Weatherford by Kinky Friedman, Friedman finally decided the time was right for Molnar after passing a trial by fire with Austin audiences so the Kinksta hooks him up with Jesse Dayron and the result is the country record that's been gestating in Brooklyn for way too long. The kind of country/folk/Americana record you always want to see come down the pike, this is the kind of stuff that fulfills the original promise of 3A made a long time ago. Righteously, killer stuff throughout.

Volume 37/Number 347
October 14, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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