Warren Zevon

The First Sessions

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While these early, pre-first album recordings are not at all characteristic of what Warren Zevon would issue during his proper career, they form an interesting sweep through his formative days. Four of these songs, including the minor hit single "Follow Me," were released on 1966 singles on which Zevon was the male half of the boy-girl duo Lyme & Cybelle. These tracks are nice folk-rock-pop tunes, highlighted by the near-raga-rock of "Follow Me," though their cover of Bob Dylan's "If You Gotta Go, Go Now" (which Dylan at that time had yet to release himself) is too jaunty. Less impressive are simple previously unreleased Lyme & Cybelle demos of "Follow Me" and the Beatles' "I've Just Seen a Face," and the previously unissued studio cover of Jimmy Reed's "Baby What You Want Me to Do" (here retitled "Peeping and Hiding") is dull. Even rarer items are five previously unreleased Zevon demos (one of them oddly credited to the Motorcycle Abeline). Four of these also seem to hail from circa 1966, with the Motorcycle Abeline's "(You Used to) Ride So High" owing a lot to high-energy Mamas & the Papas tracks like "Straight Shooter." Zevon's own version of the tough "Outside Chance," covered by the Turtles, is also among the demo pile, which is rounded out by a couple of atypically sweet, acoustic ballads. By contrast, the solo piano rambler "A Bullet for Ramona" seems to date from later than 1966, with the lower voice and saloon murder tale more in line with the mood of his solo albums. As bonus tracks, the CD also includes the poppy 1966, Curt Boettcher-produced Lyme & Cybelle single "Song 7"/"Write If You Get Work," by which time Zevon had been replaced by Wayne Erwin.

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