Warren Zevon

11 Jul

WZevon

Issued in 1976 on the Asylum label, this is the major-label debut of Warren Zevon and is an under-celebrated classic.

The first thing you notice is that the cast of musicians involves a high proportion of West coast rock royalty of the time: Jackson Browne (who also produced), Linsdey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks (shortly to go stratospheric with Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours) ; Don Henley and Glen Frey from The Eagles, Beach Boy Carl Wilson; Phil Everly; Bonnie Raitt; J.D. Souther and Waddy Watchel.

The second thing that hits you is the quality of every one of the eleven songs: Not just the three that  Linda Rondstadt popularised (‘Poor, Poor Pitiful Me’, ‘Carmelita’ and ‘Hasten Down The Wind’) but ‘I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead’, ‘Mama Couldn’t Be Persuaded,, ‘Frank and Jesse James’ and the autobiographical ‘Desperados Under the Eaves’.

Los Angeles was and is a long way from where I grew up and where I live now but I’ve always had a soft spot for the music and musicians it’s thrown up – although there’s an empty hedonistic side to it too, well described in Barney Hoskyn’s 2006 book Hotel California: Singer-songwriters and Cocaine Cowboys in the L.A. Canyons 1967-1976 .  I don’t have all Mr Zevon’s albums but I do have number. His was a slightly quirky, uneven talent  and I’m not sure anything he released subsequently, however great some tracks would be, would match this for consistent quality.

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2 Responses to “Warren Zevon”

  1. villagerambler July 11, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

    Still probably my favourite album of Warren’s, amongst many. Glad it is still remembered, and agree that there is not one weak track on the album. Especially love Desperados Under the Eaves, one of the best songs most people have never heard of!

  2. simon2013 July 22, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    I love this album – I bought it soon after it came out and saw Warren as a support act for Jackson Browne on the Pretender tour at the Palace Theatre, Manchester – marvellous. I believe the BBC have a recording from that era. Was also pleased with the 180gm (RTI pressed) vinyl issue. One of the best of ’76.

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