Monday, August 13, 2007

Jewish Cowboys Part 1: Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys

Kinky Friedman, Texas JewboyIn an unpublished (and as yet unwritten) history of Jewish music, in a chapter that connects the Yiddish dialect parody of Mickey Katz's 'Haim Afn Range" to the Hip Hop Hoodios sardonic Latino rap "Dicks and Noses", the attentive reader will find a paragraph or two on one of the great troubadors of the American west: Kinky Friedman, Texas Jewboy.

Along with his compadres, Little Jewford, Big Nig, Panama Red, Rainbow Colours and Snakebite Jacobs, Friedman played an off-kilter, Frank Zappa-esque Country Rock with biting songs such as "They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus Anymore," "We Reserve The Right To Refuse Service To You" and "Ride 'Em Jewboy", a tribute to victims of the Holocaust. Friedman recorded a half-dozen albums in the 1970's, received a reasonable amount of media attention (including a Saturday Night Live episode) and claims to be the first "full-blooded Jew to play the Grand Ole Opry."

And Friedman's still out there, smoking cigars and causing trouble. After his musical career wound down in the early 1980's, he took to writing detective novels and recently ran for governor of Texas with the goal of the "dewussification" of Texas" and the campaign slogan "How hard can it be?" He didn't win, but with a serious platform that included "higher pay for teachers and working to lower Texas's dropout rate", "harnessing Texas's alternative fuel resources", and "increas[ing] the number of Texas National Guard troops on the border (from the current 1,500 to 10,000), impos[ing] $25,000 and $50,000 fines on companies that hire illegal immigrants and requir[ing] foreign nationals seeking employment to purchase a foreign taxpayer ID card once they have passed a criminal background check" he got serious voter support. See his wikipedia entry or his website for more on his platform and current activities or check out Shout Factory for "Last of The Jewish Cowboys: The Best of Kinky Friedman"

Kinky Friedman & The Texas Jewboys


Bob Dylan and Kinky Friedman - Sold American - Chadad 1991

"'Chadad' is the title given on YouTube. Should that really be 'Chabad'?

4 comments:

Recruiting Animal said...

1. I wonder why these guys support Chabad since their own beliefs probably don't coincide.

2. The only Kinky song I know is Ride 'em Jewboy. In spite of that mindbomb of a title, it's a great song.

Jack said...

It's a good question. I can't speak for Kinky, but a lot of folks support Chabad because of it's charitable services and general education and outreach programs. And there seems to be a tendency for liberal Jews (Reform, Conservative) to support traditional Jewish charity and organizations. I've heard it referred (a bit sardonically) as the 'Shabbos Jew' syndrome. E.g. maybe I don't keep Shabbos but I'm glad to know that some Jews do and am willing to support them in doing it.

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Jack said...

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