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Expanded reissue of Warren Zevon’s major label debut in stores today

Warren Zevon's classic 1976 self-titled major label debut gets an upgrade with a deluxe edition that hits stores and digital download today. The brand new two CD version of Warren Zevon, Zevon's classic Asylum Records debut produced by friend Jackson Browne, is fattened up with a second disc that is loaded to the brim with alternate versions, solo piano demos, and even a live track from a radio session recorded for Cleveland's WMMS.

Warren Zevon - Rhino Special Edition

The solo piano demos are a highlight, particularly the version of "The French Inhaler" that will make your heart ache when you hear it. An alternate stripped down take on "Carmelita" finds Zevon alone at the piano with a vocal that is gloriously unprocessed, and accompanied by a softly strummed guitar.


This version would have been an easy fit on the actual album. For other tracks like "Poor Poor Pitiful Me," the evolution is obvious, hearing the version found here on the second disc, and then hearing the familiar album version where they NAIL it.

And how about that album? Jackson Browne assembled one hell of a guest list for the Warren Zevon album, including Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, on loan from Fleetwood Mac. Buckingham plays guitar on "Backs Turned Down The Path," adds harmony vocals to "Poor Poor Pitiful Me," and is joined by Nicks for harmonies on "Mohammed's Radio.

The rest of the guest list wasn't too shabby either, with Zevon getting help from JD Souther, onetime employer Phil Everly, Glenn Frey and Don Henley from The Eagles, Carl Wilson from The Beach Boys, and Bonnie Raitt. Phew! It's an enviable cast of characters to have as members of your all-star backing band when you're trying to make the album that you hope will establish you as an artist.

Zevon's disturbingly morbid sense of humor set him apart as a one of a kind artist with a voice and lyrics that were unmistakably identifiable in song as Warren Zevon, when you heard it on the radio.

More than 30 years later, Warren Zevon still stands on it's own - born of a promise made good by friend Jackson Browne to get Zevon, who had fallen on hard times professionally and artistically, a recording contract. Browne took it one step further and helped Zevon make an album that was an important first step towards eventual success. Upon release, the album sold poorly but got great reviews from Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times, to name a few, that helped lay the groundwork for future recording. And as we know, good things were indeed ahead for Zevon, including that "Werewolves of London" song.

The new liner notes offer valuable insight into the individual songs on Warren Zevon and include reflections and anecdotes from many of the folks that worked on the album, with the following quote from his son Jordan Zevon, which I thought was really cool.

"I have such affection for that record, because it does have so much of Dad in it," says Jordan Zevon. "If none of his other records had done anything or if it was the only record he made and he pulled a Nick Drake and kicked off early, I think it would be hailed as genius. But he had the success of 'Werewolves of London' hanging over his head with his next album, and I think that overshadowed how great this record really was."

This new Rhino expanded edition of Warren Zevon does a lot to remind us how great of an album it really was, and it's impressive to note that although many of Zevon's signature songs are present on the Warren Zevon album, he was just getting started. Zevon's unfortunate early exit from the planet leaves behind an important body of work that will hopefully be enjoyed by many generations for years to come.

Full track listing and bio for Warren Zevon.

Purchase Warren Zevon from Amazon - CD

Grab a listen to several of the tracks from Warren Zevon via Rhino's listening party.

Track listing for listening party:

1) Poor Poor Pitiful Me
2) The French Inhaler
3) Desperados Under The Eaves
4) Frank & Jesse James (Solo Piano Demo)
5) Carmelita (1974 demo)
6) I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead (Alternate version)

Windows Media

The deluxe edition of Warren Zevon is a good introduction for the Zevon curious and diehards alike. For further listening, might I suggest the one CD Genius compilation for a casual career overview, or the two CD I'll Sleep When I'm Dead anthology for those that are looking for a more in-depth Zevon career summary.

Live music fans will dig Stand In The Fire, the classic Zevon live album issued last year for the first time on CD, with bonus tracks.

And Crystal Zevon's book about Warren is essential reading for music fans, and will help to further illustrate the origins of the material found on Warren Zevon.

Links for all of these items, can be found below in the links section at the end of this post.

And dig this, a classic live 1976 Holland radio session featuring Warren Zevon and Jackson Browne. If you haven't heard this one, you need to!

Warren Zevon with Jackson Browne
VPRO Studio
Hilversum, Holland

"The Offender Meets The Pretender"

Download lossless files from the Live Music Archive

complete zipped download

01. Intro
02. These Days
03. Cocaine Blues
04. Linda Paloma
05. Mohammed's Radio
06. Frank and Jesse James
07. Hasten Down the Wind
08. Desperados Under the Eaves
09. Excitable Boy
10. For a Dancer
11. Something Fine
12. Carmelita
13. Werewolves of London
14. Back Turned Looking Down the Path
15. Carmelita
16. Mohammed's Radio
17. I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

Tracks 14-17 are filler recorded on the following day with David Lindley

Total 69:18.56

Relevant Links:

Warren Zevon official website

Warren Zevon on the Live Music Archive

Purchase I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon by Crystal Zevon

Purchase Genius: The Best of Warren Zevon

Purchase Stand In The Fire (1st time on CD with bonus tracks)

Purchase Enjoy Every Sandwich: The Songs of Warren Zevon

Purchase I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: A Warren Zevon Anthology