Now that the country is far enough out of the closet that John Goodman can safely play a gay man on TV, the music that Pistol Pete and Popgun Paul
make together no longer must be relegated to the novelty bins and the backrooms of gay bars. Now it can safely sit alongside other collections of songs about sex, drugs, sex, drugs, sex and, of course, love -- the purest, simplest kind of love, like that illustrated on "If You Asked,"; from the pair's wonderful Son of a Gun
: "I'd give my beauty to you/I'd even give you my Roxy Music records and my last cigarette/If you asked, if you asked/Would you like a layer of my skin? I've got plenty of others left/I'd give you some of my teeth if you asked." Ah, love. Pistol Pete and Popgun Paul are from New Orleans, and you can tell: Their songs, played on piano, acoustic guitar, banjo and drums, have a New Orleans bawdiness to them, a barrelhouse stomp that recalls the city's roots. The only difference is, when the Pistol and the Popgun speak of makin' love, they speak of manlove, and they do it in fantastic, clever ways that capture the quirks of the culture: "The Party Zone" sings the praises of a local nightclub ("A voice in my head says boy it's time to go home/But it's not an easy thing to leave the Party Zone"); "San Francisco's Not to Blame" indicts a lover who's not in the mood. What's best about the duo, though, is that they don't use their sexuality as a crutch. One of the best songs on the album, "He's My Daddy," isn't about a rich lover; it's about Pistol Pete's father, who "always looked so much younger than he was." It's a fine, moving song. Word has it the duo are at their best live, and the intimate confines of the Delmar should be a perfect setting.