Warren Zevon Preludes: Rare And Unreleased Recordings

Warren Zevon Preludes: Rare And Unreleased Recordings
At a time when pop was dominated by the "confessional” songwriting being churned out in L.A., it’s not hard to hear why Warren Zevon was excluded from the riches bestowed on contemporaries like James Taylor and Jackson Browne. Although he shared a similarly jaded, post-hippie attitude, Zevon’s early demos, collected here, lack none of the gritty lyrical detail and often heart wrenching realism that made him a beloved cult figure throughout the ’80s up until his death from cancer in 2003. Ironically, it was the efforts of friends like Browne and Linda Ronstadt that got Zevon signed to David Geffen’s Asylum label in the late ’70s. But hearing the bare-bones renditions of "Hasten Down The Wind,” "Desperados Under The Eaves” and other early classics on Preludes immediately make the slick, familiar versions sound painfully dated. Zevon’s son Jordan has done a remarkable job in presenting the purest possible glimpse of his father’s first golden period, one that overflowed with overlooked gems like "Studebaker” and "Stop Rainin’ Lord.” It all amounts to a major body of work created in a few short years that most songwriters today can’t touch. No one (other than Lou Reed) has written a better heroin song than "Carmelita,” just as few have the ability to convey the sheer tragedy of "The French Inhaler.” Yes, he will always be known for "Werewolves Of London” but Preludes is welcome insurance that Zevon will be remembered for so much more. (New West)