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Stand in the Fire

4.9 out of 5 stars 79 customer reviews

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Stand In The Fire
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Audio CD, March 27, 2007
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Product Description

In an effort to honor the legendary singer/songwriter, Stand in the Fire has been remastered and expanded. Originally produced in 1981, this album contains such hits as "The Sin" and "Stand in the Fire" proving that Warren Zevon can rock out as well as he can write songs. This album includes four previously unreleased cuts.

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Why Warren Zevon's Stand in the Fire has languished in the CD-reissue era is a mystery. It's an unbridled live rock album, recorded in 1981 when live albums were de rigueur. Zevon, for all the well-orchestrated rock (and great backing vocals on "Mohammed's Radio"), was a small-venue guy and an unlikely rocker. He tears it up on "Stand in the Fire" and adds guitar grit and vocal menace to "Werewolves of London," making the "little old lady got mutilated late last night" line sparkle and name checks James Taylor and Zevon's early champion Jackson Browne. Then there are the added tracks, all four previously unreleased. "Frank and Jesse James" rolls as a piano and vocals vehicle, brilliant in its simple dressing. And the closer, "Hasten Down the Wind," is touching, especially with the ever-aware Zevon introduction: "Speaking as one who has abused privilege a long time," he says, "I tell you, it's great to be alive." --Andrew Bartlett
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 27, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Asylum/Rhino
  • ASIN: B000MGV9W0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,022 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Warren Zevon was on a comeback of sorts when he set out to record "Stand In The Fire." As is well known (and documented in the infamous Rolling Stone cover story), he had his addictions to battle, and this was the first tour after having conquered them. The line-change in "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" to "I got a .38 special up on the shelf, and I don't intend to use it on myself" was part of that rejuvenation. Zevon was clean and proud and ready to rip.

"Stand In The Fire" is as pure a rock rip as Zevon ever made. Songs up to "Bad Luck Streak In Dancing School" are included here, with two new songs and a goofy Bo Diddly medley. Why in the world it remained out of print (and never even issued to CD) for over 25 years is downright criminal. Somewhere after this - and documented on "Learning To Flinch" - Zevon became more an acoustic live act. When I saw him on "The Envoy" tour, it was just him, his piano and guitar. On "Stand In The Fire," however, Zevon is almost giddy with rock and roll exuberance.

Adding to this five-star document of Zevon at his peak are the four bonus cuts. My guess is (along with time restrictions) that at least two were left off the original album due to their more mellow qualities. "Frank and Jessie James" and "Hasten Down The Wind" are solo piano performances, but "Hasten" is transcendental. The anguish in Zevon's voice is awe-inspiring. This was always a five-star album in my mind, the bonus tracks add to the luster.

But it is the original 10 song album that I had the excitement for when I heard Rhino was finally going to get them out stateside. Warren Zevon is as alive as he ever was on this LP, and when he shouts out to George Gruel to get on stage and dance, it's as inspiring a moment as has ever been recorded for a live album.
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Wow, this is what rock and roll could be, should be, used to be*. These guys are tight and they rock out! Great renditions of Warren's great songs. Warren is singing out of his mind. Lots of fun lyric variations, just enough jamming, great backing band. Warren always did know how to choose and lead a great band. (* see also Lou Reed's Rock N Roll Animal!)

The extra four tracks (Johnny Strikes up the Band, Play It All Night Long, Frank and Jesse James, and Hasten Down the Wind) are from the same concert and are also great. The last two provide a denoument to the concert: they are calmer, WZ alone at the piano. The remastered sound is wonderful.

Explosively energetic. Wonderful. This is a must for any WZ fan. Sure makes me sad that he's: too soon gone.

Essential rock n roll. One of the best rock albums ever.
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Format: Audio CD
There were better rock 'n roll singer/songwriters than Warren Zevon. Or so I heard somebody say. I think they may have been wrong.

STAND IN THE FIRE captures the Warren-in-concert feel that his newer fans (such as myself) will, alas, never be able to experience for ourselves. This is an album of great rock 'n roll--from the satirical "Excitable Boy," to the deliciously perverse romp of "Poor Poor Pitiful Me," to rollickin' surprise of "Bo Diddley's a Gunslinger," to the exquisite piano/vocal performance of "Hasten Down the Wind." From the very first note the very last, this album (like most of Zevon's records) will captivate you. Older fans will delight in hearing this treasure on CD; newer fans such as myself with simply delight in hearing it at all.
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Format: Audio CD
I remember buying Warren Zevon's live album "Stand in the Fire" on vinyl in its original release at the start of the '80's. I had initially become a fan of Zevon's as a teenager in the late 1970's , after endlessly sneaking into my older brother's (off-limits) room on surreptitious missions to listen to this provacative music. I became entranced by Zevon's music and endless tales of desperados, spies, mercenaries, bad girls and werewolves.

By the time 1980 had come along, I had my own record collection going and "Stand in the Fire" was a welcomed edition, that got endless time spinning on my turn table. To me this really was a 'B*lls to the Wall' live Rock n' Roll performance, best played at high volume. But beneath the pounding drums and piano was the same literate (sometimes almost poetic) lyrics, that had first attracted me to his music. I love the humour found in songs like "Excitable Boy", "Werewolves of London" and "Lawyers Guns and Money". These songs seem to be wryly told with tongue firmly implanted in cheek. They are offset by more dramatic fare found in tunes like "Jeannie Needs A Shooter" and my personal favorite cut of the album, "Mohammed's Radio".

In this live performance it seems like Zevon is almost acting the songs out for us. I can just imagine the poor sm**k of a protagonist in "Lawyers, Guns and Money" as he proclaims about his waitress/lover..."How was I to Know/She was with the Russians too!" You can just hear Zevon just playing it up and selling the line! I also love the more personalized references, that are throughout the show.
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Finally emptying out the vaults
Really looking forward to hear this remastered CD version after enjoying the original vinyl for all these years. Then there's The Envoy as well as Excitable Boy to get ... excited about. Plus May 1 a CD of rare and unreleased stuff titled Preludes. Good things happening in Zevon-land!
Mar 25, 2007 by Per-Gunnar Eriksson |  See all 3 posts
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