Rolling Stone - p.1294 stars out of 5
-- "WARREN ZEVON captures the singer-songwriter at his peak as a black humorist."
Uncut - 9/03, p.96
"Zevon's hardboiled reputation for chronicling LA's underbelly starts here..."
Dirty Linen - p.54
"A song cycle about Southern California, WARREN ZEVON offered a hard-living, gambling, drug-taking contrast to the songs about the sun and surfing."
Record Collector (magazine) - p.1054 stars out of 5
-- "[I]t's perhaps surprising that the caustic attitude and uncomfortably forthright eloquence were so fully formed so early on."
Personnel includes: Warren Zevon (vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano, electric piano); David Lindley (guitar, slide guitar, banjo, fiddle); Waddy Watchel (guitar); Jackson Browne (slide guitar, piano, background vocals); Jai Winding (piano, organ, synthesizer); Bobby Keys (saxophone); Bob Glaub, Marty David, Roy Marinell (bass); Larry Zack, Gary Mallaber (drums); Phil Everly, John David Souther, Lindsay Buckingham, Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Stevie Nicks, Jorge Calderon, Bonnie Raitt, Rosemary Butler (background vocals).
Recorded at Elektra Sound Recorders and Sunset Sound Recorders, Los Angeles.
Personnel: Warren Zevon (vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards); Jackson Browne (vocals, guitar, slide guitar); Richard Wachtel, Glenn Frey, Lindsey Buckingham (vocals, guitar); Jai Winding (vocals, piano, keyboards); Don Henley, J.D. Souther, Gentlemen Boys, Jorge Calder¢n, Phil Everly, Rosemary Butler, Stevie Nicks, Carl Wilson , Bonnie Raitt (vocals); Ned Doheny, Waddy Wachtel (guitar); David Lindley (banjo, violin, fiddle); Sid Sharp (strings); Bobby Keys (saxophone); Gary Mallaber, Larry Zack (drums).
Audio Mixer: John Haeny.
Recording information: Elektra Sound recorders, Los Angeles, CA; Sunset Sound, Hollywood, CA.
Unknown Contributor Role: Sid Sharp.
Arranger: Warren Zevon.
Zevon actually released a record prior to his celebrated self-titled "debut," a record so bad that he took to touring with the Everly Brothers. Whatever he did on the road with them paid off. He returned to recording with bone-rattling West Coast tales of prostitutes, heroin addicts, outlaws and suicidal bar hoppers. Thus, Zevon went, with one record, from playing piano on "Bye Bye Love" to becoming supreme chronicler of L.A.'s underbelly.
Easily his richest and most consistent album, this is arguably the best place for the uninitiated to start. The deranged romp of "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" and the tongue in cheek masochism of "Poor, Poor Pitiful Me" introduced the world at large to the darkly sardonic edge of the singer's muse. From the romanticized "Frank and Jesse James" to the starkly beautiful "Desperadoes Under the Eaves," the album rolls with an insightful (albeit sometimes crazed) sense of purpose.