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Preludes: Rare and Unreleased Recordings

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Audio CD, May 1, 2007
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 1, 2007)
  • Original Release Date: 2007
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: New West Records
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,030 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Empty Hearted Town (3:05) (solo piano)
2. Steady Rain (4:23) (full band)
3. Join Me In L.A. (2:33) (solo guitar)
4. Hasten Down The Wind (2:34) (solo piano)
5. Werewolves Of London (3:36) (full band)
6. Tule's Blues (3:08) (solo piano)
7. The French Inhaler (3:34) (solo guitar)
8. Going All The Way (2:19) (full band)
9. Poor Poor Pitiful Me (3:12) (full band)
10. Studebaker (2:23) (solo piano)
See all 16 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
2. Warren speaks on songwriting and the early days of his career (7:14)
3. Musings on mortality, song noir and The King of Rock n' Roll (5:07)
4. A chat about producers and the stark sounds on the album Life'll Kill Ya (5:09)
6. Warren's take on Winwood's classic and Warren's inspirations (3:58)
7. Talk of TV, movies, acting and performing (5:14)
8. DON'T LET US GET SICK (3:10) (solo acoustic) Recorded live 12/3/99 at Austin City Limits Studios for 107.1 KGSR Radio Austin 9th Anniversary Concert

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Following Warren's death in 2003, his son, Jordan Zevon, discovered 126 unreleased outtakes and demos in a piano-sized touring case. This 2-CD set collects the best of these recordings.

After Warren Zevon's death in 2003, his son Jordan was clearing out a storage space when he found a large stash of demos and home recordings Zevon had made before 1976. Winnowed down from many hours of tape, this selection is so satisfying you're left awaiting another volume almost instantly. Preludes has been generously packaged with a booklet overflowing with reminiscences and insight from peers and family, as well as a bonus disc with recent interview extracts and choice selections from 2000's Life'll Kill Ya. The rough sound quality is more than made up for by the performances. Highlights include a speedier, country-punk garage take on "Poor, Poor Pitiful Me" and the original demo of "Werewolves of London," here presented in a slowed-down reggae-ish (and campier) take. Only two of these 16 takes fall flat: the vocals on "Accidentally Like a Martyr" are just too bleak even for Zevon, while the faux-sunshine Eagles-y production on "Ride So High" is interesting but just too anachronistic. The versions of "French Inhaler" and "Carmelita" show Zevon in his angry, post-Dylan singer-songwriter style. It's reminiscent of the best John Cale solo recordings. Poignant, beautiful and bitter, it's no wonder the guy didn't fit in with his California contemporaries. As with Townes Van Zandt, there's something of a great short story in Zevon's songs; confronted with them in all their ragged, stripped-down glory, it's clear what a major talent he was. --Mike McGonigal

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 31 customer reviews
Essential for any true fan of his work.
Lloyd Frank Wrong
Jordan Zevon did a wonderful job compiling these 2 discs full of alternate versions of previously released songs, never released songs and some great interviews.
James P. Buckley
Needed to complete any collection of Warren Zevon.
Frank L. Melgeorge

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Klein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 2, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Warren Zevon was a complex guy. I only saw him in concert, heard his music, enjoyed his warped, brilliant, poetic sensibility and view of the world. This excellent collection of outtakes, previously unreleased demos and unreleased songs is just a sampling of his brilliant songwriting and performing skills. When his son Jordan went through his stuff after his death in 2003 he found a case full of reel-to-reel recordings, cassettes and other teasures. He and his sister Ariel have chosen to share these terrific demos with us his fans. While not every track is perfect (how could it be? These are demos!), it's that lack of perfection that makes this collection so perfect, so intimate; it's a performance by one man with no idea they would be released when he did them. As a result, Warren is presents his music without artiface--these songs are as naked and pure (in an emotional sense)as when he first conceived them. Listening to them is like being at the birth of greatness for the best songs on here.

Two discs one featuring 16 (19 if you get this through Best Buy as there are three bonus tracks on their edition)tracks of the essence of the Mutineer. We get demos for "Join Me in L.A.", "Hasten Down the Wind", "The French Inhaler", "Poor Poor Pitiful Me", "Carmelita", "Desperados Under the Eaves" all of which appeared on Warren's second released album ("Warren Zevon").
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Ernie Pouttu on May 2, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I just picked this up last night thinking that this would relly be suitable for a loyal Warren Zevon fan like me. But what I discovered was really incredible versions of previously released songs and previously unreleased songs that in my opinion are terrific. For anyone that has the DVD of the making of The Wind, this two CD set is a must. Add in the great interviews on the second CD (which I already had from a prior special release) and you have a great package that will be enjoyed by WZ fans and those are coming later to the party. PS Take some time to read the liner notes as they add another perspective to a truly multitalented singer songwriter.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Johnno on July 19, 2007
Format: Audio CD
This is a collection of old tapes and interviews. It is not what I would suggest for someone checking him out for the first time. For the Warren "virgin"(not many around him by the sound of it) I would suggest "Warren Zevon" and "Exciteable Boy".

But for a long term diehard customer like me, then what you do is play Preludes, and read "Sleep When I'm Dead". Then it all makes sense.... or not.

Much of it is demo quality, but good listening. And gives an insight into the man, and how he built his songs.

Ownership is compulsory
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Buxx on May 17, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The "rough" cuts on this disc are what always sold Warren as an artist. It's like the recently published bio says "Warren traveled his own was un-paved."

My all time favorite on this disc is ROSARITA BEACH CAFE. Listen to it twice and it will run around in your head for weeks! Also moving up with a bullet in our house is STEADY RAIN. I really like the cut of JOIN ME IN L.A. also...muy blusie.

Yep, this is probably going to end up being my favorite Zevon CD. Until the next one (I hope there is another one, Jordan!) comes out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Carroll VINE VOICE on November 11, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Starting with "Empty Hearted Town" a recording that evolved into "Empty Handed Heart" this look at Zevon's demos and unreleased songs definitely are of interest for anyone who appreciates the genius of this artist. There are some excellent never before released songs to be found here, like the painful pleading of "Steady Rain," the countrified story of "The Rosarita Beach Café", and the sadly funny "Studebaker" would have all found good homes on many of his albums. Not all the unreleased work are classics: "Going All The Way" sounds like a Bacharach/David mistake and "I Used to Ride so High" with its psychedelic sound and lyrics clearly demonstrate why Zevon didn't put them on his recordings.
The demos of songs that he recorded for his albums are also treats for fans. The stripped down "Join Me In L.A." is more interesting than the album version, the plaintive "French Inhaler" works very well as a acoustic ballad with just guitar and vocals, and the version of "Werewolves" found here is just nuts and immediately brought a smile to my face.
Even misfires like totally different versions of "Accidentally like a Martyr," and "Carmelita" with much bouncier melodies and sped up choruses reveal how much more effective they were with slower and more deliberate pacing.
The 2nd disc interviews are enlightening. They are all based on LIFE"LL KILL YOU and Zevon's intelligence and acerbic wit come through right from the beginning. His refusal to discuss religion is intriguing and you quickly learn he's a tough interview. Despite that there are plenty of interesting nuggets of info here; his defensiveness about the two sides of his song writing and battling against what people perceive about him make for some absorbing listening. A fan of Zevon's work really needs to own this; it's obviously not done to cash in on his passing, it's a loving look at another aspect of this artist's incredible imagination and talent.
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