Preludes Rare and Unreleased
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After Warren Zevon's death in 2003, his son Jordan was clearing out a storage space when he found a large stash of demos and home recordings Zevon had made before 1976. Winnowed down from many hours of tape, this selection is so satisfying you're left awaiting another volume almost instantly. Preludes has been generously packaged with a booklet overflowing with reminiscences and insight from peers and family, as well as a bonus disc with recent interview extracts and choice selections from 2000's Life'll Kill Ya. The rough sound quality is more than made up for by the performances. Highlights include a speedier, country-punk garage take on "Poor, Poor Pitiful Me" and the original demo of "Werewolves of London," here presented in a slowed-down reggae-ish (and campier) take. Only two of these 16 takes fall flat: the vocals on "Accidentally Like a Martyr" are just too bleak even for Zevon, while the faux-sunshine Eagles-y production on "Ride So High" is interesting but just too anachronistic. The versions of "French Inhaler" and "Carmelita" show Zevon in his angry, post-Dylan singer-songwriter style. It's reminiscent of the best John Cale solo recordings. Poignant, beautiful and bitter, it's no wonder the guy didn't fit in with his California contemporaries. As with Townes Van Zandt, there's something of a great short story in Zevon's songs; confronted with them in all their ragged, stripped-down glory, it's clear what a major talent he was. --Mike McGonigal
Top Customer Reviews
With so many inferior artists being given 5-6 cd box sets, it makes you wonder where is Warren's box set which would be a fitting tribute to an artist who was still at his brilliant best close to his death.
The 2CD set features sixteen songs, including six previously unreleased tracks: Empty Hearted Town, Going All The Way, Steady Rain, Stop Rainin' Lord, Studebaker and Rosarita Beach Café. The solitary piano and forlorn lyrics ("cigarettes make the sun come up and whiskey makes the sun go down and in between you do a lot of standing around") ensure that Empty Hearted Town stands out.
The second disc features forty minutes of music interspersed with an interview with Zevon by KGSR-FM's Jody Denberg, but it's the digitally remastered versions of some of Zevon's best known material on disc one that makes Preludes indispensable. Demos of the happily unhygienic Carmelita, Accidentally Like A Martyr and what is probably Zevon's best known song, Werewolves Of London, are all given a 24-bit makeover.
Two discs one featuring 16 (19 if you get this through Best Buy as there are three bonus tracks on their edition)tracks of the essence of the Mutineer. We get demos for "Join Me in L.A.", "Hasten Down the Wind", "The French Inhaler", "Poor Poor Pitiful Me", "Carmelita", "Desperados Under the Eaves" all of which appeared on Warren's second released album ("Warren Zevon").Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you are a big fan of Zevon then this is a must buy. The previously unreleased songs are worth the price alone. Brilliant.Published 23 months ago by Gavin Catling
The 16 tracks on the first CD are largely rough cuts, but offer great sides of Zevon's songwriting persona. Read morePublished on 5 Jun. 2010 by Don D
This has some fine material on it, including quite a few songs that are previously unheard and discarded versions of established classics that work very well indeed. Read morePublished on 22 Oct. 2008 by CJ