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Warren Zevon - Warren Zevon (Collector's Edition)

Warren Zevon
(Collector's Edition)

Warren Zevon

Rhino Records - R2-512737

Available from Rhino Records.

A review written for the Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bon Gottlieb

This might be the finest album Warren Zevon made, quite an arguable point, however one with much merit. It certainly contains some of his finest songwriting, including tunes like Hasten Down The Wind, Carmelita, and Poor Poor, Pitiful Me, to name but three for now. The first became a huge hit for Linda Ronstadt, the second so reflects and mirrors a lonesome junkies life and habits in L.A. as to almost cause a relapse of someone kicking, and the third is maybe his biggest hit, other than "Werewolves of London" (which was on his next album Excitable Boy). This disc was produced by Jackson Browne and has cameos that do not intrude upon the song by the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Lindsey Buckingham, Glenn Frey and Don Henley to name but a few who contribute to this solid effort. Though there are so many of that mellow L.A. scene helping out on Warren Zevon, his songwriting is anything but that. Filled with black humor, irony and back handed slaps at various of those in certain Hollywood crowds he was viewed with such respect, that he was accepted as being himself in all cliques. At times there is almost a bitterness in his songwriting.

And so far this is only the original disc we are talking about. This is a two disc reissue, and Disc 2 (15 cuts) is filled with high quality demos and alternate takes of the 11 songs on the original disc. The second disc is just as relevant and equally as good as the first, and sheds some light on what was trying to be achieved here. For instance, there is the first take and the solo piano demo of The French Inhaler, his unsettling view of ambitious pimps, that shows more of the bitterness that lay behind Zevon's songwriting. Though this was his debut (and the less said about that effort the better) it is the song that established his reputation as a songwriter who had a clear voice. If you missed it the first time, even if you didn't, there is a lot to recommend this disc.

Disc 1Disc 2
  • Frank And Jesse James
  • Mama Couldn't Be Persuaded
  • Backs Turned Looking Down The Path
  • Hasten Down The Wind
  • Poor Poor Pitiful Me
  • The French Inhaler
  • Mohammed's Radio
  • I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
  • Carmelita
  • Join Me In L.A.
  • Desperados Under The Eaves
  • Frank And Jesse James [Solo Piano Demo]
  • The French Inhaler [Solo Piano Demo]
  • Hasten Down The Wind [Band Demo]
  • Carmelita [1974 Demo]
  • Mohammed's Radio [Solo Piano Demo]
  • Backs Turned Looking Down The Path [Take 1 - 1/28/76]
  • Join Me In L.A. [Take 2 - 11/20/75]
  • Poor Poor Pitiful Me [Alternate Version]
  • Frank And Jesse James [Alternate Version]
  • Mohammed's Radio [Take 2 - 11/6/75]
  • The French Inhaler [Take 1 - 1/13/76]
  • Carmelita [Alternate Version]
  • Desperados Under The Eaves [Take 2 - 1/13/76]
  • Mama Couldn't Be Pursuaded [Live Wmms 10/13/76]
  • I'll Sleep When I'm Dead [Alternate Version]

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2008, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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