Saturday, December 12, 2009

Excitable Boy

I bought this album when it first came out. Nobody else in Brownwood, Texas, was interested in it. In fact, the record store (yes, there were record stores in those long-ago days, kiddies) had to order it for me. When it arrived, the clerk, who happened to be one of my students, suggested that I listen to a few cuts to be sure I actually wanted to buy it. When the first couple of bars of "When Johnny Strikes up the Band" played, I told her I was sure. When I got it home and played it all the way through, I knew I'd be listening to it for a long time.

I was right. I listened to it again yesterday (I have it on CD now), and it's a fresh and and wild and crazy as ever. Songs like "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner," "Lawyers, Guns, and Money," "Werewolves of London," "Excitable Boy," "Vera Cruz." They don't write 'em like that anymore, and for that matter nobody else ever did. I bought Zevon's earlier albums, and all the subesquent ones. There are plenty of great songs on all of them, but Excitable Boy remains my favorite.


  1. Scott cupp8:33 AM

    When Sandi and I first got married 30 years ago, we would go to a Pizza Hut in Laredo. On the jukebox they had a copy of the Werewolves of London single. When we would go in the music playing was always Country and Western. I would put in my money and play the flip side of Werewolves which was Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner. The place would usually empty out pretty fast after that. I love Warren Zevon's work.

  2. You're right about EXCITABLE BOY being Warren Zevon's best work. Like you, I bought it, listened to it, and loved it all those years ago. It still sounds fresh today. A classic!

  3. Max Allan Collins9:06 AM

    Great record.

    Some of the smartest, nastiest and yet oddly compassionate rock 'n' roll ever.

  4. And yet you didn't link to an audio file of some sort and now I have the tune bopping around in my head.

  5. Thanks for reminding me, Gerard.

  6. Bill, that kink isn't working. It asks the person trying to play the song to sign up for LALA, and clicking that takes me to a screen to fill out to complete "it's free!" sign up. Maybe a new link, please, since I like the song quite a bit.

    I believe I first heard Warren when he did "Werewolves of London".

  7. Darren Mitchell10:12 AM

    I was 15 when the album came out and I couldn't afford the album (which was $6.95 - $7.95), but I did plunk down 99 cents for the Werewolves of London/Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner 45, which I played constantly, first one side and then the other. Later, I asked for the album for my birthday or Christmas, but my mom said that when she saw the album cover she figured I had made a mistake because she couldn't believe anyon would want it. Eventually I bought the album and I have had it in every available format (album, cassette, eight-track (?), and CD) since then.

  8. Darren, I have the cassette and CD. No 8-track, though.

    Rick, that link plays for me, but maybe that's because I've signed up for LaLa. It's hard to find a good music link these days.

  9. The link worked fine for me, and I'm not signed up for LaLa. There are so many great Zevon songs, but for me, none of them top "Mutineer". It's one of my all-time favorites by anybody.

  10. Yep, that's a great one. The whole CD is good, but not quite up to EXCITABLE BOY for me.

  11. Anonymous6:32 PM

    Absolutely, Bill. I still remember the excitement when I discovered the real Lee Ho Fook in London's Chinatown, which has pictures of Warren and the album in the window.

    The Greatest Hits CD has most of the hits from this and his other great songs, but EXCITABLE BOY is the best.

    "I'm an innocent bystander,
    But somehow I got stuck
    Between a rock and a hard place
    And I'm down on my luck."

    Great stuff.


  12. I got this off Amazon's MP3 store for two bucks. Of the songs I'd never heard before, I think "Veracruz" was my favorite. This version has a few extra tracks, including an alternate take of "Werewolves" and a brief a cappella tune called "I Need A Truck".

  13. A bargain! I've heard "I Need a Truck," probably on Rhapsody.

  14. It drives me crazy when I'm listening to the radio and I think I hear the opening of "Werewolves of London," so I crank up the volume only to discover it's that complete ripoff song by Kid Rock.