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Cledus T. Judd

Bipolar and Proud – 2004 (Koch)

Reviewed by Ken Burke

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CDs by Cledus T. Judd

Parodist Cledus T. Judd has recently eschewed the more manic aspects of his comedic character and gravitated toward relative subtlety, while only hinting at something zanier. Such is the case with this uneven 10-song collection boasting flashes of humor and one surprisingly affecting straight performance.

When Judd tackles the current poker craze with some double entendre word play ("One Jack Off") or serves up his superior remake of Brent Burns' barroom trolling ditty ("I'm Going Ugly Early Tonight"), he is effortlessly entertaining. Yet, aside from the Toby Keith guest starring remake of "I Love This Bar," ("I Love NASCAR"), the parodies thoroughly lack bite. Indeed, comic renditions of Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Man" ("Paycheck Woman"), Montgomery Gentry's "Hell Yeah" ("Hell No") and Tracy Lawrence's "Paint Me a Birmingham" ("Bake Me a Country Ham") play out like bland tributes that barely one-up the original hits. Further, the comic's jingoistic attack on the Dixie Chicks ("Martie, Emily & Natalie") sounds more like Clear Channel's corporate line than comedic satire.

By contrast, Judd's foray into straight pathos ("Funny Man"), is delivered with remarkable poignancy. However, when the tears are more convincing than the laughs, a career move is in order.