07 September 2007

Mix Tape Friday: Excitable Boy

When you love music as much as I do, when much of your life revolves around that passion, you tend to fall in love with a musician or two, someone with whom you feel a connection because of his music and performances.

One of the great loves of my musical life is Warren Zevon. Warren died four years ago today. And so today’s mix tape (actually, two mix tapes) is all Zevon. The first tape includes favorites from Zevon’s catalog; the second tape has covers of his songs and covers he performed.

Interesting mix of folks who covered Warren: The Pixies and The Pretenders, Hank Williams Jr. and Van Dyke Parks, the father/son duo of Bob Dylan and The Wallflowers — even Adam Sandler. Impressive mix of folks who recorded with
Zevon: Neil Young and Bob Dylan, my R.E.M boys, that Eagles crowd, even Emmylou Harris.

Don’t shrug off this mix tape as filler by a one-hit wonder from the mid-1970s; give Warren’s songs a listen. I have cried and laughed and lived a life during the fortysomething minutes of a Zevon album. He was one of the most literate songwriters to spin on my turntable, my CD player, my iPod, one of the best performers I’ve seen on stage. Take the time to listen to the lyrics — some of the best rhymes and lines put to music you’ll ever hear — as well as the intricate piano and guitar.

God, I miss him.

Side A: The Ballads

    Warren Zevon: Bill Lee
    Warren Zevon: Mohammed’s Radio
    Warren Zevon: Genius
    Warren Zevon: Desperados Under the Eaves
    Warren Zevon: Suzie Lightning
    Warren Zevon: Carmelita
    Warren Zevon: Please Stay
    Warren Zevon: Reconsider Me
    Warren Zevon: Accidentally Like a Martyr
    Warren Zevon: You Don’t Know What Love Is
    Warren Zevon: Searching for a Heart
    Warren Zevon: Don’t Let Us Get Sick
    Warren Zevon: Keep Me in Your Heart

Side B: The Brawlers
    Warren Zevon: I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead
    Warren Zevon feat. Neil Young + Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Bill Berry: Sentimental Hygiene
    Warren Zevon feat. Bruce Springsteen: Disorder in the House
    Warren Zevon: Ain’t That Pretty at All
    Warren Zevon: Lawyers, Guns, and Money
    Warren Zevon feat. Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Bill Berry: Detox Mansion
    Warren Zevon: Frank and Jesse James
    Warren Zevon: Excitable Boy
    Warren Zevon feat. Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Bill Berry: Bad Karma
    Warren Zevon: Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner
    Warren Zevon: Renegade
    Warren Zevon: Play It All Night Long
    Warren Zevon feat. David Letterman + The World’s Most Dangerous Band: Hit Somebody (The Hockey Song)
    Warren Zevon: My Shit’s Fucked Up
    Warren Zevon: Poor Poor Pitiful Me
    Warren Zevon: Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead

Side A: He Covers
    Warren Zevon: A Certain Girl
    Hindu Love Gods: Battleship Chains
    Warren Zevon: Back in the High Life Again
    Warren Zevon: Cadillac Ranch
    Warren Zevon + David Lindley: Casey Jones
    Hindu Love Gods: Mannish Boy
    Warren Zevon + Jill Sobule: Jackson
    Hindu Love Gods: Raspberry Beret
    Warren Zevon: Bo Diddley’s a Gunslinger/Bo Diddley
    Warren Zevon + R.E.M.: Up on the Floor
    Hindu Love Gods: Wang Dang Doodle
    Warren Zevon feat. Ariel Zevon: Laissez Moi Tranquille
    Warren Zevon: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

    Hindu Love Gods, in this instance, is Warren Zevon, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Bill Berry. It was a band name R.E.M. used a lot in their earlier days when they played surprise shows around Athens.

Side B: They Cover

    Grateful Dead: Werewolves of London
    Bruce Springsteen: My Ride’s Here
    The Pixies: Ain’t That Pretty at All
    Hank Williams Jr.: Lawyers, Guns, and Money
    Jackson Browne feat. Bonnie Raitt: Poor Poor Pitiful Me
    Bob Dylan: Mutineer
    Pete Yorn: Splendid Isolation
    The Pretenders: Reconsider Me (monitor mix)
    Linda Ronstadt: Poor Poor Pitiful Me
    Magnolia Electric Co.: Werewolves of London
    David Lindley + Ry Cooder: Monkey Wash, Donkey Rinse
    Billy Bob Thornton: The Wind
    Jill Sobule: Don’t Let Us Get Sick
    Jorge Calderon + Jennifer Warnes: Keep Me in Your Heart
    Don Henley: Searching for a Heart
    The Wallflowers: Lawyers, Guns, and Money
    Linda Ronstadt: Hasten Down the Wind
    Steve Earle + Reckless Kelly: Reconsider Me
    Bob Dylan: Lawyers, Guns, and Money
    Adam Sandler: Werewolves of London
    Van Dyke Parks: Keep Me in Your Heart

I hope I turned a couple of you into fans.

I published a post about Excitable Boy about a year ago, in case you haven’t had enough of my Zevon gushings.

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At 9/07/2007 08:26:00 AM, Blogger Dale said...

Awesome work Beth, you helped sing Warren's praises into my iTunes a while back and now here's more love. Looking at the many who covered him should be reason enough to figure he was a special musician. Thanks a bunch.

At 9/07/2007 09:14:00 AM, Blogger Mother Goldstein said...

Great post - I love Warren - I heard on the radio it was 4 years ago... sniff sniff
been listening to him all morning - currently listening to "high life" I love his version of this song...
Adam Duritz does a fine cover of, "Carmelita" from the cd, "The I-10 Chronicles".

I too hope you make some new fans today.

At 9/07/2007 09:49:00 AM, Blogger Keith Kennedy said...

I hope you spread the word because Warren has always been the b-o-m-b

And I can say that even though I've NEVER kissed him.

At 9/07/2007 09:52:00 AM, Blogger Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

I played keyboard in a high school rock band. But, on two songs, I switched instruments wtih the guitar player and also sang. Those were Jungle Love by Steve Miller and Werewolves by Zevon. I have the worst voice imagineable, btw. Still might have a 20-year old cassette recording of that somewhere ... might have to post it, just to re-experience the horror.

At 9/07/2007 10:25:00 AM, Blogger A Ghost's Story said...

wow... 4 years gone. I wonder if he's well rested by now?

"I'm thinking of retiring from all my dirty deals,
I'll see you in the next life, wake me up for meals."

At 9/07/2007 10:42:00 AM, Blogger Evil Genius said...

Yay! Side A and Side B. I may be the last Gen X man to own a tape deck and no MP3 player.

One of the funniest things I have ever seen was my nephew in his car seat wearing Spiderman sunglasses jamming out to "Werewolves of London." He knows exactly when to howl.

At 9/07/2007 11:30:00 AM, Blogger Barbara Bruederlin said...

Has it really been 4 years already? We bought ourselves a big old Warren Zevon anthology shortly after he died and discovered some songs we didn't know. And now you have upped that ante 100-fold. Thanks for this!

At 9/07/2007 12:52:00 PM, Blogger BeckEye said...

I've never really listened to a lot of Warren Zevon, but I'll have to give him a whirl.

Stevie Nicks does a good cover of "Reconsider Me." Reconsider putting that in your mix. :)

At 9/07/2007 12:55:00 PM, Anonymous gifted typist said...

Beth, you are preaching to the converted. Thank you so much for putting this together.

At 9/07/2007 01:01:00 PM, Blogger Bubs said...

Wow, that is amazing! Thank you.

One of my favorite shows EVER was seeing Warren Zevon at the Tower Theater in Philadelphia, right when Excitable Boy first came out. Amazing.

Thanks for talking about one of my favorites.

At 9/07/2007 02:31:00 PM, Blogger DaBich said...

You are expanding my music culture for me....never heard of Zevon till just now!
Hope you have a good weekend :)

At 9/07/2007 05:41:00 PM, Blogger mellowlee said...

Oh my goodness!!!! I can't wait to hear all this. So much I haven't heard yet! Thanks Beth. Happy Friday!

At 9/07/2007 06:40:00 PM, Blogger Grant Miller said...

Thanks to you, I've started offering downloads, too. I'm impressed by how much you offer - I know it's super time-consuming.

I am to Pavement what you are to R.E.M. Although I've never read or heard any members of Pavement speak of W. Zevon, I'm certain a few of their songs at least mildly rip him off: "Starlings in the Splitstream" and "Cut Your Hair."

Great list.

At 9/07/2007 09:01:00 PM, Blogger haahnster said...

WARREN ZEVON!!! Great job, Beth. Warren is among the most underappreciated musicians/singers/songwriters of all time. (And, I mean that in a cue-the-tape-of-a-mid-1970's-era-Muhammad-Ali-saying-"Greatest of all ti-i-i-i-me" kind of way.)

I do believe anyone that dismisses him as a "one hit wonder" should be kicked in his or her balls forthwith. (And, yes, one would have to have balls--I mean, Ann Coulter sized balls--to dismiss WZ as a 1-H-W...is that too much abbreviation?)

Have a nice weekend!

At 9/07/2007 09:31:00 PM, Blogger Johnny Yen said...

He is much missed. Strange thing-- today at work I was mentioning Warren's song "Excitable Boy" because one of my coworkers reminds me of the song-- he's pretty goofy.

At 9/07/2007 09:47:00 PM, Anonymous Glassmeow said...

"Send lawyers, guns and money - the shit has hit the fan"

One of the best lines ever written.

At 9/08/2007 10:27:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tragic how he avoided doctors for 20 years. I remember seeing him on VH1 talking about his impending death, it was so sad. At least he's sleeping and enjoying his sandwiches now.

At 9/08/2007 11:13:00 AM, Blogger Michael K said...

I remember Warren's last interview on Letterman when he knew his days were numbered. I cried.

At 9/08/2007 05:45:00 PM, Blogger Sean Wraight said...

Excellent stuff as always Beth. Warren's sense of humour is one of the things that always impressed me most about his songcraft. He made me laugh as much as he made me cry.

Thanks for the reminder. I know what I'll be listening to tonight now.


At 9/08/2007 07:28:00 PM, Blogger New and Used Records said...

So sad about Zevon ... though I think it's such an inspiration the way he dealt with his coming death with such dignity. The last album he made was just such a great album ... perfectly defining his career while also touching on his own mortality. My personal favorite Zevon tune would have to "Play it All Night Long" ... thanks for all the covers - I especially like the Pixies take on "Ain't that Pretty At All" and I really love Bruce's version of "My Ride's Here."

At 9/08/2007 08:45:00 PM, Blogger Malcolm: said...

I admit that I've never given the music of Warren Zevon much thought outside of his lone Top 40 hit. However, I checked out many of the songs on your playlist and really enjoyed them. Thanks for putting this together.

At 9/09/2007 04:19:00 PM, Blogger Erik Donald France said...

Holy moly, that's impressive. Zevon is/was cool -- "enjoy a lot of sandwiches" ;)

A couple faves of mine: "Rokand the Headless Thompson Gunner" and "Send Lawyers, Guns and Money."

Love the casette tape images, too!

At 9/09/2007 04:20:00 PM, Blogger Erik Donald France said...

or was it, "enjoy every last sandwich"? And watch Linda Ronstadt cover WZ back in the day ;)

At 9/09/2007 07:37:00 PM, Blogger Mountjoy said...

Great post Beth! Excitable Boy has always been a fave for me - the lyrics are just so "out there". I also understand and agree with your theory of making a connection with one or two artists, and the bond that builds.

(Did you know Bruce collaborated with WZ on Janey Needs A Shooter? I'm not sure of the full story, but I think Bruce wrote the song for Darkness, didn't use it, and then WZ rewrote a new set of lyrics.)

At 9/09/2007 08:34:00 PM, Blogger Zed said...

Warren Zevon. Love him. Thanks so much, Beth.

At 9/09/2007 10:24:00 PM, Blogger Artful Dodger said...

Hmmmm...I don't think I've ever really listened to Warren Zevon. (Hangs head in shame) But I've downloaded all the songs and will soon remedy that problem. ^_^

At 9/10/2007 06:24:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

DALE: Thank you, sir; that’s why I’m here.

MOTHER GOLDSTEIN: Sad that he’s gone, isn’t it? I forgot about Duritz’s “Carmelita.”

KEITH KENNEDY: His music transcends even his kisses, Keith.

BLOWING SH*T UP WITH GAS: Please, oh please, post your rendition of “Werewolves”! I’ll send you $5.

A GHOST’S STORY: I couldn’t find my MP3 of “Mr. Bad Example,” which is why it didn’t make this list — though it deserved to.

At 9/10/2007 06:29:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

EVIL GENIUS: I knew you’d appreciate the Side A/B structure. I tried to keep them at 45 minutes, each … but there were too many good songs and I just couldn’t cut them. Is your nephew four, or twenty-four?

BARBARA: I hope you enjoy the new ones. I’ve given the anthology as a gift many times, and everyone seems to love it.

BECKEYE: I searched for the Stevie Nicks MP3 for a couple of weeks, but couldn’t find it. Want to share?

GIFTED TYPIST: You’re welcome!

BUBS: You’re so lucky to have seen Warren so early in his career; I’m jealous!!!!!

At 9/10/2007 06:34:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

DABICH: You have no idea how sad that makes me; what are they teaching kids today? I hope you found some tunes you like and that you keep listening to Warren.

MELLOWLEE: Let me know if you like any of the songs, Mel.

GRANT MILLER: It’s time-consuming, but I have (way too much) fun doing it. Have you seen the new book about Pavement?

HAAHNSTER: You know I agree with you 100%, dude. I’ll help you kick sense into those Ann-Coulter-sized balls.

JOHNNY YEN: I’d love to meet that co-worker. Did he smear the pot roast all over his chest? Warren actually did, and inspired himself to write that song.

At 9/10/2007 06:41:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

GLASSMEOW: Oh, he has so many better lines than that: And if California slides into the ocean / Like the mystics and statistics say it will / I predict this motel will be standing until I pay my bill … or Sometimes when you're doing simple things around the house / Maybe you'll think of me and smile / You know I'm tied to you like the buttons on your blouse / Keep me in your heart for a while … or Albert Einstein was a ladies' man / While he was working on his universal plan / He was making out like Charlie Sheen / He was a genius … or … God, I can’t stop. Yes, Warren Zevon was a brilliant lyricist.

BLUEZ: I hope he’s finally happy. Somehow, though, I think he’s still restless.

MICHAEL K: I have that MP3 and nearly posted it on Friday; maybe soon. It’s a great interview.

SEAN WRAIGHT: I’m glad we share (excellent, brilliant) taste in music!

NEW AND USED RECORDS: Have you read his bio? He didn’t deal with it as well behind the curtain as he did in front of it — but who would? Isn’t the Pixies cover awesome? And Bruce sounds like he’s having so much fun singing “My Ride’s Here.”

At 9/10/2007 06:44:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

MALCOLM: I’m so glad you liked what you heard!

ERIK DONALD FRANCE: Both of those are damn good songs, aren’t they? I love the “enjoy every sandwich” line; really makes you think, doesn’t it?

MOUNTJOY: I did know about your Bruce collaborating with my Warren on “Jennie Needs a Shooter.” Did you like Bruce’s vocals on “Disorder in the house”?

ZED: You are so welcome, Zed!

ARTFUL DODGER: You’re young enough to get by without the head-hanging — but now you have no excuse. Do you like what you downloaded?

At 9/11/2007 08:23:00 AM, Blogger DaBich said...

Beth said...
DABICH: You have no idea how sad that makes me; what are they teaching kids today? I hope you found some tunes you like and that you keep listening to Warren.

LOL you crack me up? Kids? Thank you, I think ;)

At 9/11/2007 11:43:00 PM, Blogger jewgirl said...

great post. the video I saw of him brought me to tears and that interview you sent, it so deeply touched me.

At 9/13/2007 11:39:00 PM, Blogger The Wandering Author said...

Beth, thank you. This came at just the right time for me. I love Warren Zevon anyway - he was a Genius. And although Jim, my friend who just died, was into classic jazz and really preferred instrumentals, in many ways, Warren Zevon's music and lyrics perfectly capture his essence. I can't take listening to much right now, but slowly, slowly, I'm listening, and enjoying. Thank you.


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