ARTIST: Warren Zevon
TITLE: Warren Zevon
YEAR RELEASED: 1976
CHART ACTION: #189
SINGLES: Hasten Down the Wind, I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Poor Poor Pitiful Me, Mohammed’s Radio, Desperados Under the Eaves.
LINEUP: Warren Zevon, Waddy Wachtel, Bob Glaub, David Lindley, Larry Zack, and many other LA session players including Don Henley, Lindsey Buckingham, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, JD Souther, Stevie Nicks, Phil Everly, Carl Wilson, and Glenn Frey.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Acerbic songwriter Zevon records first solo album in years after kicking around the margins of the industry while making excellent friends and connections.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Warren Zevon had been an aspiring songwriter and performer in LA since the mid-60’s, and had a couple of records out that went nowhere. He then worked as the bandleader for the Everly Brothers and kicked around Europe before settling back in LA.
Through friends and connections, Asylum Records signed him and he went into the studio with many of those friends to create this first solo album. While it didn’t sell very well, it introduced Zevon to critics and others in the industry and his fame as a songwriter became well known.
The sessions sound very typical of the time – picture a Linda Ronstadt or Jackson Browne album – and those arrangements suit Zevon pretty well. Most of the songs are well crafted with help on arrangements from Carl Wilson and Browne (who produced).
You may not be as familiar with the lesser-known songs on this album, like “Frank and Jesse James” but it’s worthwhile and a great intro to Zevon.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: I didn’t review it because it’s terrible, but his 1969 solo album is streaming. It was co-produced by Kim Fowley and a couple of the songs have some of that Zevon spark – it just was rushed and ill-conceived. Zevon himself disowned it. The only reason it’s around is that Capitol Records remastered it right before he passed away.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with demos and other takes.
GRADE: A-: He’s so much deeper than “Werewolves of London” so if you know any other Zevon songs you should probably check this out for sure.