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Enjoy Every Sandwich: Songs of Warren Zevon

4.2 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 19, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

On October 19th, Artemis Records is set to release a very special tribute album to the late Warren Zevon entitled Enjoy Every Sandwich: The Songs of Warren Zevon. The album features many of Zevon's best-known songs performed by a stunning array of artists including Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, Adam Sandler, Don Henley, The Pixies and many more. Also included are two never-before-released Zevon-penned songs.

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Warren Zevon died in 2003, a year after learning he had an inoperable form of lung cancer. He took that year to wrap up loose ends, recording a moving coda to his up and down collection of albums, while being heralded by legions of admirers. This 14-song tribute to the singer-songwriter, coming out a year after his passing, allows for a cooler assessment of his gifts and, guess what? He was one hell of a songwriter. One part fierce rocker, one part slightly abashed sentimentalist, Zevon's lyrical arsenal included humor, sentiment, menace, and general weirdness, all of which he mixed and matched in wild ways. The early hits "Lawyers, Guns and Money" (done here by the Wallflowers) and "Poor Poor Pitiful Me" (recreated by Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt) turn bravado on its ear with witty self-deprecation. Pete Yorn’s take on a later gem, "Splendid Isolation," captures Zevon's gift for leftfield pathos, while Jill Sobule’s whispered "Don’t Let Us Get Sick" allows one to bask in Zevon's hardboiled sensitivity; he wanted to allow his spirit to show, but he didn’t want to get stupid about it. This compilation from his last record label was co-produced by Zevon’s son, Jordan (who performs a previously unheard number, "Studabaker") and longtime cohort Jorge Calderon (who movingly recreates Zevon’s so-long song, "Keep Me in Your Heart"). The duo bring together the likes of Bob Dylan, the Pixies, Steve Earle, and Bruce Springsteen to tip their hats to an artist who's songs deserve to live on for decades after his death. --Steven Stolder
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 19, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Indieblue Music
  • ASIN: B0002XED9E
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,557 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This tribute album to - in Springsteen's words, "one of the great, great American songwriters" - does a good job of capturing the spirit of Warren Zevon, as well as some of the quirkiness and humor that made him special. Some of the songs are notable in how different they are, and while some stay truer to the original versions, all of them have something in them to recommend them.

"Searching for a Heart" sounds like it could have been written and originally sung by Don Henley. It has a bit of a reggae-like beat to it, but Henley's voice fits this song perfectly, (odd, because his voice is so different than Zevon's), and the lyrics could just as easily be found on "Building the Perfect Beast," or "The End of the Innocence."

Similarly, Dylan was made to sing "Mutineer." Before I even heard him sing it, I knew exactly HOW he would sing it - like the pre-1975 versions of "Just like a Woman," (sans harmonica) the nasally Dylan twang included, phrasing it ("I was born to rock the booooaaat") in Dylanesque fashion. Real neat. Though Zevon still sings it better.

Jackson Browne's "Poor Poor Pitiful Me" isn't as edgy, or as funny, ("I don't wanna talk about it . . .") as Zevon's, but it ain't Linda Ronstadt either. He changes the beat, and the melody, a few lyrics too, and he kind of opens up the song. It all works pretty well.

Probably the only song I wasn't originally thrilled with was Billy Bob Thornton's "The Wind." Not that it sounded bad, and I'm not really familiar with how Thornton usually sings, but his whispery vocals didn't sound quite right. Maybe that is his normal singing voice, but it sounds as if he is trying to imitate Zevon's voice, but he can't quite do that.
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Format: Audio CD
The late Warren Zevon was the Grim Reaper's personal poet laureate and court jester throughout his long career. Hard to believe that only one of these songs (as far as I know) was written after he learned of his diagnosis. Son Jordan and longtime producer/cowriter/bassist Jorge Calderon assembled many of Zevon's closest collaborators, sidemen, cronies and admirers for a romp through both the sardonic, gallows-humor pieces he was famous for, but also the vulnerable, emotionally raw ballads he was equally adept at writing and delivering.

Zevon liked singing actors for their ability to deliver the emotional content of a song, so he'd be pleased by Sandler's surprisingly muscular delivery on Werewolves and Thornton's gravelly, Tom Waits-meets-Robbie Robertson take on the spooky dirge The Wind (NOT from the album of the same name - is this an unreleased song from that project?) Springsteen makes My Ride's Here sound like an outtake from one of his first two albums, rich with the kind of wit and literate wordplay he hasn't employed since. Both Dylans do their selections justice -have they ever appeared on the same album together before? Despite the presence of so many of Zevon's studio cohorts these versions sparkle with fresh ideas, from Waddy Wachtel's hint of ska on Werewolves to his "Summertime Blues" like riff on Poor Poor Pitiful Me. The Pixies remind us that there was a jagged punk edge beneath Zevon's laid-back L.A. veneer. I'd have liked to hear a double CD with some more of Zevon's buddies (REM, Neil Young) and contemporaries (Richard Thompson, Lyle Lovett) but a single CD will do.
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Format: Audio CD
There are some standout moments on this CD. If you really love Zevon's music, just try to listen to the contributions of Bruce Springsteen or Jill Sobule and not get choked up. Pete Yorn and Lindley/Cooder also provide outstanding takes on "Splendid Isolation" and "Monkey Wash, Donkey Rinse," respectively.

There are some weak moments, however. I deeply love the Pixies, but their version of "Ain't That Pretty at All" felt like it was discussed, rehearsed once or twice, then recorded. And Billy Bob Thornton's take on "The Wind" is so excruciatingly bad as to be barely listenable.

Zevon fans will enjoy this album, but probably not as much as they would enjoy an actual Warren Zevon album.
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Format: Audio CD
Maybe the reason this tribute album feels like a bittersweet party celebrating Warren Zevon's life is that Warren wrote songs recorded by a wide spectrum of artists that we all know and love, as well as recording his own tunes.

If it seems natural to hear Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne's rendition of Poor, Poor Pitiful Me, it might be because they, along with Don Henley, who also covered a track for this CD, were there at the beginning, in 1976, when the track was featured on the debut album, Warren Zevon. Browne produced the album and Raitt and Henley were among the rockers who backed up some of the tracks on that and other Zevon classics.

Even though no one could ever sing Warren's songs like Warren did, it's apparent in this tribute that his work lives on. The heartfelt covers of his songs by artists who were his friends and family are new ways to hear his familiar classics. It's all good.

I've been haunted by Billy Bob Thornton's version of The Wind. The emotion in Thornton's rendition gave it a special poignancy. When Springsteen sang My Ride's Here, I could just picture Warren riding off into the sunset.

Warren's still with us, not only in the legacy of words and music that he left us, but in his son Jordan Zevon. Listening to Jordan's track, Studebaker, it's clear that talent runs in the family.

Seeing Warren's cartoon likeness on the cover of this CD, it's easy to imagine him kicking back, enjoying a sandwich and this party in his honor.
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