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Warren Zevon

53 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 19, 1992
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From Desperados Under the Eaves to Carmelita , 11 awesome songs in all!

Two years before "Werewolves of London" became his sole big hit and something of an albatross, Warren Zevon stood at the artier end of L.A. singer-songwriter rock. Fueled by a love for the Stones and Ross MacDonald, Zevon turned his Asylum Records debut (produced by buddy Jackson Browne) into one of the ultimate statements of Southern California pop. The songs range from commanding, funny takes on American West mythos ("Frank and Jesse James") to pained, funny views of sexual politics ("Poor Poor Pitiful Me") and existential drama (most of the other songs). Anyone who cherishes Hotel California needs this album, too. --Rickey Wright

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Frank And Jesse James
  2. Mama Couldn't Be Persuaded
  3. Backs Turned Looking Down The Path
  4. Hasten Down The Wind
  5. Poor Poor Pitiful Me
  6. The French Inhaler
  7. Mohammed's Radio
  8. I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
  9. Carmelita
  10. Join Me In L.A.
  11. Desperados Under The Eaves

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 19, 1992)
  • Original Release Date: 1976
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Elektra / Wea
  • ASIN: B000002GY5
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,571 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

88 of 97 people found the following review helpful By benshlomo on September 20, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I just got the bad news - Warren Zevon has inoperable lung cancer.
This seems like a good time to reconsider his output over the years, particularly this opening shot. He had recorded before, but in later years mentioned that earliest effort as having been withdrawn at his request because of "a sudden attack of taste". Let us therefore, as per the man's request, begin here.
Just what was the Excitable Boy up to in 1976? For openers, of course, he wasn't the Excitable Boy yet - that came with his next album, which exploded onto the radio with "Werewolves of London" and made him a star. In 1976 he was, to all appearances, just another singer-songwriter discovered by Jackson Browne and contracted to Asylum Records. Dig a little deeper, though, and you learn he really wasn't anything of the sort.
He was into imagery from film noir and old westerns. He liked black humor and firearms. He wrote songs that could just as easily have been novels or movies, given a few more details, and they were a lot tougher-minded than anything the rest of the Asylum roster came up with. He had a stoner's long hair, but he dressed in suits and ties onstage, and although we didn't learn about it until later his drug of choice was alcohol. He had played piano for the latter-day Everly Brothers, and he blended his rock with country and classical themes.
On his first Asylum album he combined all those elements into eleven songs from all over the map, and then he ordered them in such a way that they told a story.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By John Stodder on January 23, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Warren Zevon's first album is his most brilliant and musically tasty. There is nothing like that ending, the "air conditioner hum" heard by the Desperados Under the Eaves. The simple imagery of "Frank and Jesse James." The lived-in "French Inhaler." Plus the proto-versions of the later Linda Ronstadt hits "Poor Poor Pitiful Me" and "Hasten Down the Wind." He got famous with his next one, "Excitable Boy," but if you like Zevon, this is the one you need.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Brent Evans on July 10, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Seven years had passed since Warren Zevon's weird debut album, WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE.In that time,Zevon had played backup piano for the Everly Brothers and had steadily honed his songwriting material to a razor sharp edge.By the time of WARREN ZEVON,he had an abundance of material that most songwriters would kill for.However,unlike most songwriters(apart from Randy Newman and Tom Lehrer)Zevon had a distinct bent for the sardonic and the black humored.WARREN ZEVON is a perfect example of the anti-Californian and reality anchored songwriting that became Zevon's trademark.This would have been a perfect debut album if not for WANTED.
FRANK AND JESSE JAMES - A straightforward telling of the legend of Frank and Jesse James.Would've been perfect for inclusion on the soundtrack of the film THE LONG RIDERS.The piano intro would reemerge later on the last track.
MAMA COULDN'T BE PERSUADED - Mama falls in love with and marries a gambler,against her parents wishes.Gambler later deserts wife ,leaving her with a baby son.Familiar tale told with with a touch of sly humor.Good chunky guitar and harmonies on the chorus.
BACKS TURNED LOOKING DOWN THE PATH - Warren and his love are walking forward into the future,not looking back at all they've left behind.A jaunty(if bordering on slight)song.
HASTEN DOWN THE WIND - A dying love affair where freedom and choice are used as weapons.The first of Warren Zevon's truly unique love songs.Later,a hit for Linda Ronstadt,whose version pales before this one.
POOR PITIFUL ME - A man who is loved by so many young women,that he is driven to despair.Some guys have all the luck!Good ironic rocker that was also covered by Linda Ronstadt and Terri Clark."She took me back to the Hyatt house and . . . I don't wanna talk about it.HAH!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Tim Brough VINE VOICE on September 18, 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When Warren Zevon got the chance to make his first real album, he was more than prepared. He had a couple misfires ("Wanted Dead Or Alive" and the Lyme and Cybelle sessions) that you can easily pass up, but like John Mellencamp, he learned from the experience and came back strong. Although the associations with Jackson Browne and Linda Ronstadt drew in many first (including me), "Warren Zevon" had less to do with the whole Southern California scene and more to do with great western novels and hard-boiled film noir detective stories. "Frank And Jessie James" put that notion to the fore immediately, as the heroes' exploits are chronicled in a very literary manner. (It is also a precursor to the more outlandish "Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner.") There was less of the dreamy romanticism of Jackson or the Eagles and a much tougher edge to a ballad like "Carmalita" and her wretched loser of a heroin addict boyfriend, and a heck of a lot more genuine pain to "Hasten Down The Wind." Even sweeteners like the Beach Boys chiming in at the end of "Desperados Under The Eaves" couldn't take away from the rapier wit of the writing.
Warren's ironic sense of humor surfaces most clearly on "Poor Poor Pitiful Me." Complete with Lindsay Buckingham's exuberant background vocal and a hall of fame lyric that rhymed "gender" with a "Waring blender." Lest we not forget the racy final verse - the one Linda left off the hit version - and Warren's admonishment at the song's end to "never mind!" rather than describe the experience. There were enough endearing moments of such contradictory genius that I remember being floored when I first bought this album in the seventies, and being in high anticipation of his next.
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