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Excitable Boy

Excitable Boy

March 26, 2007
4.8 out of 5 stars 150 customer reviews

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Product Details

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tim Brough VINE VOICE on March 31, 2007
Format: Audio CD
More than anyone else in the whole El Lay songwriter movement of the late seventies, Warren Zevon had absolutely no problem with getting a good laugh at the expense of the insularity of it all. And on his second proper album, he took the whole scene and turned it properly on its backside. "Excitable Boy" threw in a mix of werewolves, mercenaries, drug abusers and paranoid spoiled brats, yet while frequently offering exceptional tenderness and insight. It was easy to see why Jackson Browne was his mentor and Linda Ronstadt his patron angel.

A song as reckless as the album's title track could come from nothing less than genius. The chirpy sweet background vocals and sugary melody buoy the dark tale of a murderous high school student who kills on the night of his junior prom. "Hotel California" this most certainly wasn't. At the same time, "Accidentally Like a Martyr," with its stately piano line, encompasses the horror of a sunken love affair in barely three and a half minutes. These juxtapositions carry all the way through "Excitable Boy," with only one misstep in the CD's nine songs (the forced funk of "Nighttime In The Switching Yard").

Warren Zevon made several other great albums, but "Excitable Boy" was the moment that his youthful exuberance and a mind uncluttered by too many foreign substances produced a stunner. As a document of the California Sound that Elektra/Asylum records was known for in the seventies, this is indispensable.

The remaster is stunning. The piano to "Accidentally Like A Martyr" just leaps out of the mix (where before it seemed kind of flat). The same can be said for "Nighttime In The Switching Yard." What originally sounded compressed now sounds so much livelier. The bonus tracks are only so-so, with the alternate take of "Werewolves" being somewhat interesting and "I Need A Truck' humorous but unnecessary. What you really want here is the original album, and "Excitable Boy" is worth the remastered wait.
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This album came out in 1978. That is almost a lifetime and yet, to me, it is still fresh, startling and
original. This album houses 9 songs that are all different from the other. And yet, they hold
together well, possibly by Mr. Zevon's consistent voice, or the production by Jackson Brown and
Waddy Wachtel (A consummate studio musician).

This album came out after a difficult time for Zevon. Want a peek into how troubled he was look at
the record sleeve reprinted on the back of the CD insert. This photo was prepared by his wife and
photographed by Lorrie Sullivan. That photo explains a lot as to why this album has such a diverse
and sometime dark humor to it.

The songs subjects range from: music, a mercenary, a very, very sick boy, werewolves, a love song,
a train song, Mexico, separation anxiety, and being caught in the crossfire. How can one person pull
these seemingly diverse subjects into a cohesive album? Well, the three people mentioned in the first
paragraph and the rest of the studio musicians did. This assemblage of songs, I believe, represents a
huge cross section of life. Zevon pulls it off with love, pathos, violence, humor and a bit of cheekiness.

The nice part of this was that the SACD mastering by Steve Hoffman and Stephen Marsh Mastering
was not overdone and they maintained the integrity of the original album. They stayed true to the
original sonic intent of the album's master tape especially letting the bass shine more for the SACD
than on the more compressed original CD.

What the re-mastering did was provide a better overall dynamic sound with an emphasis on a wider
ranging bass. The mids are a bit more pronounced and the highs are about the same.
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Format: Audio CD
What would you the listener put on his tombstone.."Send Lawyers Guns and Money..Here Lies An American Original,An American Songwriter".It pained me to learn of the death of Warren Zevon last week,dead from inoperable lung cancer..but the legacy he left in his collection of songs,and in particular,in this collection,makes him one of the true mavericks,one of the most interesting of performers and writers of the late 20th century.
To celebrate Warren Zevon is to understand that he produced recordings with a bent, a unique perspective on life and in this album, love and death.
The previous album,"Warren Zevon" was consistently delivered with great songs,but it was with the release of "Excitable Boy" in 1978 that he launched his career into the mainstream and scored his most commerical success with the quirky and infectiously irresistable *Werewolves of London*
From the very first listening,and with a song book that showcased the weird,the macabre,the wasted ,the historical,the romantic,the dark and the witty,this had something for everyone.
There will probably never again be a songwriter who can flipantly recount the behaviour of a seriously deranged killer,and label it as if he was just"a very naughty boy" as in the title track,and then produce the perfectly crafted and achingly poignant *Accidently Like A Martyr*.This original card carrying West Coast rocker,the thinking man's Eagles with the dark sense of humour,delivered a memorable song canvas.
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