Picks and Pans Review: Deep Fried & Sanctified

updated 01/16/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/16/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

Reverend Billy C. Wirtz

If a picture truly is worth a thousand words, then the Reverend Billy starts sermonizing right on the cover. You see this journeyman East Coast club performer clutching a cigarette and a glass of sour mash. A garish tattoo begins at his wrist and disappears up the sleeve of his shiny blue jacket. On the wall behind him, just visible above his towering pompadour, is a bad velveteen screen profile of (who else?) Elvis. That cover portrait sets the tone for the musical homilies inside, conveyed in a style Wirtz terms warpabilly. He got that right. Teenie Weenie Meanie, par exemple, is about a man who falls for a lady midget wrestler. Like most comic songwriters and parodists, Wirtz has trouble sustaining a song's concept all the way through, but he does get his shots in. All over the South, they're throwing up shopping malls and convenience marts where the swamps used to be, and Reverend Billy, banging away at his boogie-woogie piano, is right there to marvel at what man hath miswrought. He's sometimes crude or obvious (take the unfortunately self-explanatory Inbred as proof), but this Dixified answer to Weird Al sure knows tacky when he stumbles across it. (King Snake)

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