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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 He had recorded before, but in later years mentioned that earliest effort as having been withdrawn at his request because of "a sudden attack of taste".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.Read more ›
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!Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Please pay attention. If you are looking at the 180 Gram Vinyl record reissue. Do not buy it. It was mastered wrong. It sounds far worst than the original. Buy the CD.Published 7 months ago by William Peloquin
Excellent CD, Excitable Boy gets all the radio play but this is as good imo.Published 11 months ago by AHB
I've been on a Warren Zevon kick the last couple of days. Now it's time to find out what his self-titled album is like. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Bryan