Saturday, November 7, 2015

Kinky Friedman - The Loneliest Man I Ever Met


2015 – Avenue A Records
By Phillip Smith; Nov 7, 2015


It’s been a long damn time since Kinky Friedman has released a new studio album.  To put it in a political perspective, Gerald Ford was winding down his last year of presidency the year Lasso From El Paso was released in 1976.  The thirty-nine year wait is finally over, and The Kinkster has delivered a mother-load of western/folk greatness in his brand-spankin’ new album, The Loneliest Man I Ever Met.  The album features musicians Joe Cirotti (guitar, bass, mandolin), Brian Molnar (guitar), and Jeff ‘Little Jewford’ Shelby (keyboard), and is chock-full of magnificent covers and original gems.

The Willie Nelson classic, “Bloody Mary Morning” is quick to grab my attention.  This is just a great song, and to smear the icing on the cake, Nelson lends not only guitar and vocals to the song, but steps in as producer on it as well. I would have loved to hang around the studio when this was recorded.  Kinky’s version of Tom Waits’ “Christmas Card From A Hooker in Minneapolis”, keeps my ears glued to the speakers as much as the original.  “My Shit’s Fucked Up”, by the late great Warren Zevon, prompts me to keep in mind, life doesn’t slow down for anyone.  If there’s something on the top shelf of one’s priority list, take care of it before the opportunity is lost.

Friedman is a true master of storytelling.  With seemingly little effort, he draws me in to this despairingly gloomy world of solitude and isolation in title track, “The Loneliest Man I Ever Met”, and then transports me to a different place and time in “Wild Man From Borneo”.  The album closes with the elegantly performed standard “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square”, which features guest pianist Bobbie Nelson.  This one is very nice indeed.

I hope the wait-time is much shorter until the next release from this national treasure.  The Loneliest Man I Ever Met is a quite the splendid listen.