Warren Zevon

Mutineer

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After touring as a solo act in support of his album Mr. Bad Example, Warren Zevon apparently grew to enjoy working on his own, and for 1995's Mutineer, he recorded the bulk of the album in his home studio, handling most of the instrumentation himself and bringing in some friends to help sweeten some of the tracks (among them David Lindley, Bruce Hornsby and Rosemary Butler). While the live album Learning to Flinch demonstrated how compelling Zevon could be all by his lonesome, Mutineer suggests that without an audience or collaborators, he had a hard time working up the enthusiasm to make his songs come to life. The material on Mutineer is quite strong for the most part, especially the bitterly philosophical "The Indifference of Heaven," the witty tale of white collar crooks on the run "Seminole Bingo," and the title cut, which manages to make something honestly romantic of Zevon's outlaw reputation. (There's also a splendid cover of Judee Sill's "Jesus Was a Cross Maker.") But the performances are poorly focused and lack punch, and the banks of keyboard noodling on "Piano Fighter" and "Similar to Rain" are uncharacteristically self-indulgent. Mutineer was Zevon's last album for Giant Records and he would be without a label for five years after this was released, and despite his impressive track record, it's hard to blame an A&R man for not seeing a lot of promise in the guy after listening to this.

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