Nov 27, 2012 - Kinky Friedman Hosts Benefit for Oklahoma Jazz Hall Annual Holiday Show Scheduled for December 3
Kinky Friedman says his favorite two words in the English language are “sold out.” That’s what he hopes will happen again when he returns to Tulsa for his annual benefit concert for the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame on December 3rd. And it’s what did happen during his recent tour of Australia with Van Duke Parks, the musician and composer best known for his lyrics to the Beach Boys hit “Heroes and Villains.” (In the ‘70s, Parks had played several Texas dates as a member of Friedman’s notorious outlaw-country band, the Texas Jewboys.”
“That was about a year ago, and it was a great tour,” he says of the Australian trip. “Every date on the 17 shows was my favorite two words in the English language. The Aussies, you know, see us much more clearly than we see ourselves.”
Those appearances with Parks were primarily musical concerts, and Friedman long ago made his mark as a singer and songwriter specializing in the off-trail, satirical, and frequently outrageous. But, as his fans know, he’s garnered substantial fame in other areas of endeavor as well. He’s written a number of well-received detective novels, for instance, most of which feature himself—more or less—as protagonist, and friends and acquaintances as secondary characters. His writing also includes several nonfiction columns and a couple of books.
Friedman has also been politically active in his home state of Texas. His run as an independent candidate for the governor’s seat in 2006 offered voters such slogans as “Why the Hell Not?” and “My Governor is a Jewish Cowboy.” As is evident from those lines, politics is also a topic he often tackles as a humorist, at times walking a tightrope between serious political efforts and trenchant satire. Because different people know him from different ventures, he says, shows like the one he’s bringing to Tulsa feature a little bit of a lot of things.
“There’s some politics, some humor, some music, and a lot of that music was written before a lot of the people in the audience were born,” he explains. “What’s mostly interesting is the audience, because you’ve got people there who’ve read the books but have not heard the music, or vice versa, and you’ve got people who are there for the politics because, basically, that’s how they know me. I think you get a really mixed spiritual bag, and that makes for a good show. Fans of his music, he adds, can expect to hear Friedman standards like “Waitress Please Waitress,” “Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in the Bed,” “Ride ‘Em, Jewboy,” “Sold American,” and “Wild Man from Borneo.” Also, there’ll be his most famous composition, “They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore.”
“Yeah, I’ve got to do that one,” he says. “It’s become kind of a personal anthem.”
“They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore” originated in the early 1970s, when Friedman was recording for the ABC Records label. Like much of his best work, there’s an undeniable message beneath its raucously confrontational lyrics. That, however, doesn’t mean that people aren’t still being offended and outraged by the song some 40 years later.
Friedman hints rather broadly that he’s interested in running for Texas governor again, this time as a major-party candidate. But he understands that in this age of microscopic media scrutiny, work like that may be used against him.
“It gets weird,” he says. “You do a song like ‘They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore,’ and people YouTube it, and then you run for governor s a serious old-fashioned, Harry Truman-style statesman—which we could sure use, but then, people can say, ‘Look. He’s a racist.’ Because they’re not listening to the song—a song that skewers false morality.”
“Kinky has a lot of fans in Oklahoma, and we’re grateful to him for coming to Tulsa to host a benefit concert for the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame,” Jason McIntosh, CEO says. “The turnout is going to be great. If you enjoy the wit and satire on the level of Mark Twain, or the Kinky Friedman of Missouri as he is known in Texas, this show is one you most certainly will want to attend.”
Told that he’s been a big help to the Jazz Hall and its programs, Friedman chuckles and says, “Well, good. I hope this thing works. I hope it’s a financial pleasure for everybody.”
Kinky Friedman is set to begin Monday, Dec. 3 at 7:00 p.m. at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, located in downtown Tulsa’s Jazz Depot, 111 E. First Street. Tickets can be purchased at the Depot, online, or by calling Bettie Downing at 918.281.8609. General admission tickets are $16 and reserved table seating is $30, with VIP table seating $50, which includes a special reception with Kinky Friedman before the show. Refreshments will be available for purchase.
The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame is a 501(c)(3) non-profit cultural and education organization, with a mission to inspire creativity and improve the quality of life for all Oklahomans through the preservation, education, and performance of jazz, our uniquely American art form.