It’s great to see something of a resurgence of interest in Warren Zevon who died back of lung cancer back in 2003 (is it really so long?). Zevon was one of the most literate songwriters to have graced the world of modern, contemporary music and his combination of heart-searingly beautiful ballads and blackly satirical commentary went far beyond the west-coast rock harmonies of contemporaries like Jackson Browne, the Eagles and (post Peter Green) Fleetwood Mac.
Rhino has released three on his earlier albums in Remastered and Extended form. 1978’s Excitable Boy was previously available (in standard form) on CD but the other two have never had a CD release before. 1982’s The Envoy is a real masterpiece from the opening, title track – with it’s sadly still all too relevant litany of world woes, "Nuclear arms in the Middle-East, Israel’s attacking the Iraqi’s. Syria’s mad at the Lebanese, And Baghdad does whatever she please." – to the original closer; the weighty sadness of "Never Too Late for Love". The other release is 1981’s exuberant live album, Stand In The Fire. At that point, the newly sober Zevon’s vibrant energy sparkled out from a frenetic set – a taste of what the full-flight Zevon was like for those of us who missed the opportunity. I saw him much later on the solo tour which yielded 1993’s Learning To Flinch. That was a great gig but very different from hearing him backed by a full band.
Also out in the market is the Warren Zevon Guitar Songbook and a biography written by his wife Crystal Zevon, I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon is out in June.
More details on the site: http://warrenzevon.com .
Also, for a sample of the man in full flight, try these clips:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-Qe_c-Y7Hw&NR – performing "Mohammed’s Radio" with Jackson Browne; and – in less mellow mood:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZLiDUeFB7E – A medley of "Poor Poor Pitiful Me" and Springsteen’s "Cadillac Ranch"