OF OUTLAWS, CON MEN, WHORES, POLITICIANS, AND OTHER ARTISTS by Larry L. King

OF OUTLAWS, CON MEN, WHORES, POLITICIANS, AND OTHER ARTISTS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

More collected folksiness, smarts, and whimsy from N.Y. journalism's leading professional Texan (""I am outraged when called a 'professional Texan'"")--pieces originally published in such as Texas Monthly, Playboy, and Esquire. King starts out with some reminiscences of growing up in West Texas in the 1940s: the social distinctions (""A Good Ol' Boy is a Redneck who has acquired a smidgen or much more of polish""); the values that don't travel well (a grim visit with the guy who long ago beat him out for ""Most Likely to Succeed""); the Depression poverty that King relates to today's dire financial picture--""Morose thoughts, indeed, for one who knows that midtown Manhattan doesn't look like a good place to stake a cow. . . ."" And he winds up with politics: reflections on the self-righteous Washington sex scandals (""I have been waiting for one thoughtful and honest and humane man to rise in Congress and say. . . 'Enough of this crap' ""), on ""loser"" Mo Udall at the '76 Convention, on LBJ (a slight yet affecting replay of the ""Innocent Rogue"" who ""never seemed to understand where or how he had gone wrong"")--plus lively, cutesy reporting on the John Connally milk-bribe trial. But the prime King here is the outlaw stuff sandwiched in between, about ""people or things I'd secretly like to be."" Interviews with Hogarthian Texas horse traders. A helpless appreciation of country-western star David Allan Coe, the clark ""Rhinestone Cowboy"" whose image is ""Mr. Badass""--an ex-con, a threat, maybe a murderer. Willie Nelson's picnic-cum-concert-cum-orgy in Austin (a flak screams at King: ""You son of a bitch, you just ate the Pointer Sisters' supper!""). And the report that became Broadway's Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Lots here is ephemeral, but at his best--blending the Texas twang with city savvy and book-smart grace--King is half reporter, half drinking pal, both halves well worth preserving.

Pub Date: April 4th, 1980
Publisher: Viking