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Learning to Flinch [Limited Edition]

Warren ZevonAudio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)


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MP3 Music, 17 Songs, 2008 $11.49  
Audio CD, 2008 $4.66  
Audio CD, Limited Edition, 1993 --  
Audio Cassette, 1993 --  

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 13, 1993)
  • Original Release Date: 1993
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Limited Edition
  • Label: Giant Records (Warner)
  • ASIN: B000008MM8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #678,744 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GREAT RELEASE BY AN UNDERAPPRECIATED ARTIST November 21, 2000
Format:Audio CD
Walk up to most people and ask if they've ever heard of Warren Zevon, and you're likely to get a blank stare. Then sing a few bars of "Werewolves Of London," and they'll know who you're talking about. Unfortunately, this multi - talented artist will most likely be forever linked to that song. Well, heck, he DID write it, and probably made a pile of money from it, but it's a shame the masses still have yet to discover the "real" Warren Zevon, whose musical skills are showcased on this live recording.
"Learning To Flinch" (another in a long line of great Zevon album titles) finds the Excitable Boy on stage with only an acoustic guitar, piano and his voice, that great, distinctive Zevon voice.
More than any other singer - songwriter of his time, with the possible exception of Tom Waits - Zevon has an incredibly twisted, cynical, dark view of the world, but this is what makes his music unique. He has never shied away from searching for the macabre in a seemingly innocent situation, but long - time listeners have come to appreciate and expect this, and know (or at least hope) he's really a nice guy who's just a little off - center.
"Flinch" provides a good dose of the Zevon classics, including "Werewolves", "Mister Bad Example", "Excitable Boy", "Lawyers, Guns And Money", and "Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner." Those who are only moderately familiar with Zevon's work will appreciate these tunes the most. Junkies will be happy to see that such gems as "Worrier King", "Piano Fighter", and "The Indifference Of Heaven" are also part of the mix.
Zevon rips his way through the up - tempo numbers, pounding away at the piano, chewing up and spitting out the lyrics.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Diamond In The Rough February 13, 2001
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Good live recordings are gems. Live recordings permit musical groups to play directly to the audience, unmasked and unfettered by studio gimmickery. Good *solo* live recordings are diamonds. In solo live recordings musicians play *directly* to the audience, uninterpreted by backup bands. Warren Zevon, a talented singer, guitarist and pianist, also is an *underrated* composer/lyricist who writes complex lyrics describing the rough edges of society. "Learning To Flinch", a live recording of 1992 concerts Warren gave in North America, Europe, and Australia/New Zealand, is a diamond in the rough.
Six of the seventeen selections on this recording are *particularly* outstanding. 'Splendid Isolation' describes how we all lost "The Battle of the Sexes". 'Hasten Down The Wind' (an outstandingly tender performance) is the best depiction of a failing relationship that I have heard. 'The French Inhaler' (another outstandingly tender performance) describes seeking a friend in a Los Angeles pickup bar. 'Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner', a WZ brash standard, is performed with added complex instrumental passages as Warren plays for his "Land of the Midnight Sun" live audience. 'Poor Poor Pitiful Me' also is performed with added complex instrumental passages. And Warren performs 'Play It All Night Long' with quiet piano accompaniment as this live concert recording depicts "the end of the road".
"Learning To Flinch" contains several of WZ's other brash standards: 'Lawyers, Guns, and Money' (listen carefully to the alternate vocal -- "rush ins" -- "mum me"); 'Mr. Bad Example'; 'Excitable Boy'; and 'Werewolves of London'.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flinching In Public March 22, 2005
Format:Audio CD
This is a very frustrating listen, because it is so darn spotty. The voice is frequently undermiked, and the guitar is often harsh. But it is Warren Zevon in his element. I saw him play a show very much like the ones captured here, in Harrisburg PA, during the tour for "The Envoy." He was a captivating performer, full of wicked humor and some amazing chops.

The best moments on "Learning To Flinch" come when Warren sits behind his piano and lets loose. "Excitable Boy," "Hasten Down The Wind," are the CD's highpoints. But you also have to put up with a nearly inaudible version of "Mr Bad Example" and a puzzlingly drawn out synthesized opening to "Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner."

"Learning to Flinch" will likely always stay in my library because of the handful of great renditions here (especially "Boom Boom Mancini"), but only the die hards should feel like they absolutely have to own this. The superior "Stand in the Fire" concert album has returned to print, so you really can do better.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adios Warren August 13, 2003
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
It goes without saying that this is an absurdly brilliant album from the master Warren Zevon. The song I wanted to point out is "Worrier King," and this record is the only one that contains it. "Worrier King" is Warren's confession, made (of course) with a laugh. Warren "worries when [his] subjects (i.e., his fans, or as he prefers, his "customers") bow down (pay so much damn homage) to the Worrier King (Warren)." This is the master artist telling us "don't look to me for guidance, I'm a nervous wreck and I'm lost." In addition to the unfailing musical genius, Warren's awareness of himself and the world around him is what attracts his smart clientele to be customers and fellow travelers for the long haul. Warren's worry - his concern over damn near everything - begins to explain his accomplishments. Listen a bit (pick an album) and realize that this is a person who took his craft very very seriously and raised it up to the heights of Ibsen and Dylan Thomas and (yes) Bob Dylan. Take that you other singers. This guy has laid down the gauntlet, and if he doesn't want the crown, that only speaks further to his worth. Have a good trip Warren.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Great sound, but vocals are buried...
This album is pretty much a greatest hits live and unplugged. It really showcases Zevon's abilities on piano, 12 string guitar and slide guitar. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Bill
4.0 out of 5 stars Warren Zevon at his finest.
Great live stuff, sounds like Warren at his bad boy best! The intro to Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner exceeded my expectations.
Published 4 months ago by MRF
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Live Zevon
Wonderful collection of primarily Warren Zevon and his 12 string guitar and piano playing the classics and the lesser-knowns from his repertoire. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Polo Grande
5.0 out of 5 stars just like live
i know there are complaints about some of the imperfect recordings here but his performances often were ... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Kelly K. Patterson
4.0 out of 5 stars Solo Zevon live
I had the good fortune of seeing Warren Zevon play in a little bar on the tour that produced this album. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Bice
5.0 out of 5 stars Warren Zevon Solo-Acoustic Magic
If you're not familiar with Warren Zevon or if you're a new fan looking to get a primer on Warren's music this is NOT the release for you. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Darren O'Neill
5.0 out of 5 stars Just a solo concert, no band. But still, wow!
It's just a man and his instruments, but my goodness the man was talented. One of the best songwriters the world has ever seen. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Bruce Holmes
5.0 out of 5 stars Biting solo acoustic set
Zevon apparently didn't like a comment he once read that his studio albums sounded polished, thanks to an extended range of sessionists. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Greg Edwards
5.0 out of 5 stars Musical Genius
Rich acoustic versions of some of Warren's best songs (although,personally, I think most of WZ's songs are his best songs) with extended musical passages. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Linda Segall Anable
5.0 out of 5 stars Zevon Gets Metaphysical
I LOVE this album. I've always been a big fan of Warren Zevon and finally got this one. This is where he got very introspective and wrote songs like "For My Next Trick I'll... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Miriam N. Paschal
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Re-released? Is there any difference?
Many Rhino-Flashback releases aren't any different than the previous CD version. Several Rhino releases that don't have any current remastering include Joe Walsh's "So What," James Gang's "Bang," an early 1990s album by The Pretenders and the Doobie Brothers' "Takin' It... Read More
Aug 3, 2012 by bass boy |  See all 2 posts
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