One of the most unique artists on the Los Angeles singer/songwriter scene, Warren Zevon was a tunesmith with a decidedly mordant point of view, penning darkly witty tunes about werewolves, killers for hire, footloose international agents, drug addicts, and predatory women, all with a melodic sense that was elegant and reckless at the same time. Unlike his laid-back peers, Zevon was a ferocious live performer who was willing to approach even his most subtle tunes with full emotional intensity. On a good night, Zevon delivered an intelligently savage rock & roll show that was no less powerful for its literacy, and he was having a very good night when he rolled into Boston in 1982 for a concert that was broadcast on local radio outlet WBCN-FM. Headless in Boston: 1982 Live Radio Broadcast captures Zevon and his road band in stellar form, tearing through a set of tunes from his recently released album The Envoy as well as plenty of favorites from his back catalog and a rave-up cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Cadillac Ranch." The band is tight enough to connect solidly while clearly having a great rowdy time (especially John Wood on slide guitar), and Zevon's vocals and piano work are ragged but extremely right, with barrelhouse raunch winning the day over Zevon's classical influences. Considering its origins as an aircheck, the fidelity of Headless in Boston is surprisingly good, and this is one of the hardest rocking and most joyous titles in Zevon's catalog; it's not quite as strong as the 1980 live album Stand in the Fire, but it comes very close, and if you want to hear Zevon rock out, you should certainly search this out.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming