I Love Jesus But I Drink a LittleLike most people who have heard of the now relatively eminent Gladys Hardy because of her phone call to Ellen DeGeneres and the hilarity that ensued from Ellen’s subsequent call back, I love the idea of Gladys Hardy: the sweet, little 88-year old woman from Austin, Texas. I can picture her in a rocking chair, holding an old dial phone in her hand and a gleam in her eye. But after listening to the call, I had my doubts on whether Gladys is a real person or not. Unfortunately, the new cd I Love Jesus, But I Drink A Little, does little to convince me otherwise.

Featuring a collection of recorded phone conversations (not necessarily prank calls, though some, like “Dead Possum” may toe the line of a prank), the album is 24 tracks of something like comedy. Many of them feature Gladys calling in to a local Austin radio station djs Dudley and Bob. The folklore in the cd liner notes says “When our Nana Gladys tried to call KLBJ, a local AM radio station here in Austin, she got the FM rock KLBJ by mistake and it was an instant hit!” Again, while this is a charming story that helps me picture the sweet old lady in the rocking chair image, I find it hard to swallow. There is a long history of prank phone callers using different personalities to tell their jokes. Choosing to look at Gladys Hardy as just such a personality, I think her comedy is average to fair. If “Nana Gladys” is indeed a real person who is being genuine in her calls to local radio stations and to Ellen, then she is a genuine gem of a woman and truly uniquely hilarious, though I’d like to know why she chooses to record her conversations with her son (as she does in “Stolen Baby Jesus”, “Denny On The Job”, etc).

Occasional tracks like “Awareness” are simply Gladys giving a monologue with quiet background music. It’s on these tracks that she sounds the most like a personality. She does have some interesting takes on different topics, such as her comment to Dudley and Bob: “I figured out why [vegetarians are] so angry, they’re hungry honey. And the only protein they can let themselves hate is people.” But sometimes her calls are a little tiresome and a bit preplanned. She calls the airline companies so many times that it feels a little too planned. There’s not much to say about this album. Those who laughed themselves silly listening to her on Ellen’s show are probably going to love this album, and others will listen to a few tracks and move on.

Zach’s Rating: C+
Perfect For: Those who want a good taste of laid-back southern charm
Stay Away if: Your naivete hasn’t extend to prank phone call personalities since The Jerky Boys

To purchase I Love Jesus, But I Drink A Little, visit Amazon

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