Tag Archives: Warren Zevon

Enjoy Every Sandwich

20 Jul

Sandwich

Issued on Artemis Records/Rykodisc (RCD17304) in 2004, I picked this up last year for a ridiculously cheap price on Amazon. It’s a posthumous tribute to the songs of Warren Zevon, who died of mesothelioma in 2003.

The title is Zevon’s laconic response to an interview question about what having this terminal disease had taught him.

It’s an interesting mix of songs and artists paying tribute – not all of which work – but when they do, it’s terrific stuff.  Perhaps the two most noteworthy contributors are Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. Both are live recordings – Dylan’s heartfelt take on Mutineer is let down by the sound quality but Springsteen’s version of My Ride’s Here is rather good.

Apart from those, my favourite track is The Wallflowers take on Lawyers, Guns and Money (such a great title and lyric) while Adam Sandler has a brave attempt at Werewolves of London which works well and although Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt don’t really add much to the original of  Poor, Poor Pitiful Me , it’s always good to hear them.

Others on the plus side are Steve Earle (Reconsider Me) and a poignant version of Don’t Let Us Get Sick from Jill Sobule while on the ‘not quite’ side are The Pixies and Pete Yorn.

If you see this cheap, my recommendation would be to buy it – but probably one for completists otherwise.

 

 

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.