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Sold American – Kinky Friedman

Vanguard Records 79734-2

Before he became a New York Times bestselling mystery novelist, Kinky
Friedman was the king of country irreverence; the self described "Texas Jew"
who made Mr. Jerry "the Gonzo" Jeff Walker look like a relative lyrical
saint. Friedman's music had the appropriate country gait, his voice a
barbecued version of Waylon Jennings' mellifluous baritone, all of which
quietly hid his music's insidious intentions. Friedman's off-kilter lyricism
made the listening experience akin to playing with firecrackers. Tarry and
you'll probably get fingers burned, or possibly outright blown off.

Though, as might be expected, such combustible esoteric lyrical content made
him worthy of cult status; making Friedman country music's Frank Zappa.

By 1973, Friedman had hit his musical and sardonic stride with Sold
American. To celebrate the thirty-year anniversary of "the Kinksters"
landmark release, Vanguard Records has overloaded the album with the
mandatory lost recordings, demos, and outtakes.

When you record a song such as "The Ballad of Charles Whitman," about the
young man who opened fire upon the University of Texas students from his
perch on the UT clock tower, the idea of "mandatory" may not apply. More
like "a gauche track deserving of eradication from our collective memories"
should be noted next to the asterisk in the album's legend.

And so it goes. Being out of print for thirty years has made Sold
American dubiously more shocking, with the satire going even more awry
due to the excess; as if the release has collected more vitriol during its
rest in mothballs. "Rideem Jewboy" could be the perfect soundtrack for Mel
Brooks' next western foray. With the lascivious and lewd "Get Your Biscuits
in the Oven and your Buns in the Bed" supplying the background for the Man
Show's next episode. Sure Sold American has some red-hot Norman Blake
rockabilly runs, but who cares when you have a singer crooning "Well it's
just my luck that God's a Texan / One big son bitching Anglo Saxon" on the
long-haired lament "We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to You"?

With the media's modicum bowdlerizing and exorbitant sexual innuendoes,
Friedman's Sold American has finally found a home. His satiric
treatment of political rights, feminist ideologies, and individuality as a
doormat makes one wonder if Eminem is one of Friedman's bastard children, or
at least a soulmate.

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