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Warren Zevon and Hunter S. Thompson
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I had never noticed before the clear influence of Hunter S. Thompson (of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas fame) on his friend Warren Zevon before watching this acoustic version of Lawyers, Guns, and Money by Zevon and T-Bone Burnett.

My favorite Warren Zevon story is 13-year-old Warren pounding on the door of Igor Stravinsky to ask for music lessons.

After all these years, I can’t tell T-Bone Burnett from Ry Cooder among introverted musicians who aren’t rock stars. I guess Cooder is the one who taught Keith Richards how to tune his guitar for all those Peak Rolling Stones songs of 1968-1972. But which one does songs for Coen Brothers movies? Burnett?

 
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  1. All I can add is that Hunter never liked getting old. He was afraid of “old.”

  2. Old column by Hunter S. Thompson about Zevon for ESPN magazine. Apparently Zevon was a passionate hockey and lacrosse fan, crack shot and strong admirer of Colts owner James Irsay.

    http://proxy.espn.com/espn/page2/story?id=1206003

    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
    Only a hockey fan could have written "Hit Somebody".
    , @fnn
    He must have liked boxing too:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMfjyD8__Yo
  3. After all these years, I can’t tell T-Bone Burnett from Ry Cooder…

    Cooder’s the one who wrote an opera of sorts about Chavez Ravine.

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
    Ry Cooder has also done a lot of soundtrack work for Walter Hill.
  4. Cooder is the one who played guitar on “Safe As Milk,” probably the greatest non-famous record of the 1960s.

    Burnett is the guy who does a lot of very good music for hipster TV shows.

    Both have very good rock n roll names, although personally I always find the nick “T-Bone” a trifle precious, like “Doc”.

    And speaking of docs, Hunter Thompson is absurdly over-rated.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Cooder is the one who played guitar on “Safe As Milk,” probably the greatest non-famous record of the 1960s.
     
    I've always thought "Electricity" would sound great, and most ironic, played acoustically. Cooder had a different experience of the song:

    While playing "Electricity" for a warm-up performance at the Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival at Mt. Tamalpais in 1967, Beefheart stopped the song, straightened his tie, and walked off the stage, landing face flat into the grass. He later claimed that he saw a girl in the audience turn into a goldfish. This caused guitarist Ry Cooder to immediately quit the Magic Band because he couldn't deal with Beefheart's unpredictability.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_(Captain_Beefheart_song)
     
  5. I’d pay money to hear iSteve commenter “birdsong” or better yet, Ol’ Man Steve Sailer, “sing” “Sailing To Byzantium” –

    “That is no country for old men. The young
    In one another’s arms, birds in the trees,
    —Those dying generations—at their song,
    The [incel] salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
    Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
    Whatever is begotten*, born, and dies.
    Caught in that sensual music all neglect
    Monuments of unageing intellect.”

    * begotten – also see “..but he’s not forgotten,
    This is a story of Johnny Rotten…”
    http://songs-tube.net/181715-Neil%20Young-Hey%20Hey%2C%20My%20My%20%28into%20The%20Black%29.html

    See also “Thompson S. Hunter” in the National Lampoon Radio Hour “California Show”

  6. That was Boomer-rific.

    There are few ways to make a song worse than to have two guitars artlessly clanging out the same chord voicings through the whole thing.

    Warren Zevon is one of those 70’s-era critical darlings – along with Elvis Costello, Robbie Robertson, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, and a host of others I’m mercifully blanking on – whose reputation as a great musician I’ve never heard any evidence for.

    T-Bone Burnett’s chief talents seem to be 1) being a rock-era musician who is actually familiar with a lot of non-rock music and 2) having a good instinct for using those songs in movies and TV. Nice work if you can get it.

    • Agree: South Texas Guy
    • Replies: @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan
    Indeed. It amazes me that some people would rather listen to this boomer crap than listen to the likes of Merle Haggard. Traditional country music was jokingly described as "three chords and the truth," but I'd say that the above-average country singer back in the day was instrumentally superior to this Zevon stuff.

    And compared to a country man like Guy Clark, Zevon comes across as an even lousier guitarist and songwriter.
    , @Sean

    Warren Zevon is one of those 70’s-era critical darlings – along with Elvis Costello, Robbie Robertson, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, and a host of others I’m mercifully blanking on – whose reputation as a great musician I’ve never heard any evidence for.
     
    Kid Rock disagrees with you.
    , @JMcG
    Lucinda Williams is down there with Lou Reed in my personal pantheon of spectularly overrated critical darlings. She’s loathesome.
    , @Autochthon
    #NABALT

    https://youtu.be/CuGDZNxrKn8
    , @Chris Mallory
    Ah, boomer hate. A sure sign that if the writer was female he would have 4 hafrican kids, several tattoos, and be twirling around a stripper pole.
    Boomer hate is just daddy issues for whiny males.
    , @Ganderson
    It is boomeriffic- but then I’m a boomer.

    Don’t love everything in Cooder’s oeuvre, but a lot of good stuff. I particularly enjoyed his Tex-Mex period. I’ve only seen him live once- with Little Village (John Hiatt, Nick Lowe, Jim Keltner and I forget who else). Good show.

    Liked Zevon a lot. Saw him many times over the years, and while not all his songs were great, many were- and not just the old chestnuts like “Werewolves” and Lawyers Guns and Money”, IMHO he continued to write and record good songs up until the end. Sentimental Hygiene, Transverse City and Mr. Bad Example are pretty good albums. I also liked his version (with REM as his backup band) of Raspberry Beret.
    , @slumber_j

    Warren Zevon is one of those 70’s-era critical darlings – along with Elvis Costello, Robbie Robertson, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, and a host of others I’m mercifully blanking on – whose reputation as a great musician I’ve never heard any evidence for.
     
    I don't think critics were ever saying they were all great musicians, but that they were great songwriters. And it's clear to me that at least two of them were certainly that: Warren Zevon and Elvis Costello.

    Here's some evidence for Zevon as a great songwriter:

    https://youtu.be/z0J3ossUzhU

    And for Elvis Costello:

    https://youtu.be/C9GlC9GyF4Y
    , @From the Peanut Gallery
    The reputations of Zevon and the other musicians you list are primarily for songwriting, not for virtuosity in performance.
    , @obwandiyag
    Django Reinhardt has 7 guitarists banging out the same chord in the same voicing in many instances. If you badmouth him, you obviously are among the dummesel.
  7. @The Germ Theory of Disease
    Cooder is the one who played guitar on "Safe As Milk," probably the greatest non-famous record of the 1960s.

    Burnett is the guy who does a lot of very good music for hipster TV shows.

    Both have very good rock n roll names, although personally I always find the nick "T-Bone" a trifle precious, like "Doc".

    And speaking of docs, Hunter Thompson is absurdly over-rated.

    Cooder is the one who played guitar on “Safe As Milk,” probably the greatest non-famous record of the 1960s.

    I’ve always thought “Electricity” would sound great, and most ironic, played acoustically. Cooder had a different experience of the song:

    While playing “Electricity” for a warm-up performance at the Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival at Mt. Tamalpais in 1967, Beefheart stopped the song, straightened his tie, and walked off the stage, landing face flat into the grass. He later claimed that he saw a girl in the audience turn into a goldfish. This caused guitarist Ry Cooder to immediately quit the Magic Band because he couldn’t deal with Beefheart’s unpredictability.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_(Captain_Beefheart_song)

    • Replies: @Anon
    Magic mountain? Wow I was in one of the last, if not the last, yellow school buses used to get concert goers up Mt Tam that day. The roads were closed off to normal traffic and the hells angels reportedly patrolled the roads (and maybe the trails). Every time a yellow bus showed up at the embarkation point in Terra Linda, the waiting crowd surged forward encirling it. Then there was a mass scramble through doors and windows until the bus was full and off it went. I was a young 7th grader, un familiar with such savagery and queued waiting my turn. When my buddy and I arrived at the mountain theatre some 5 hours later the Doors were going hard into “light my fire”. I’d like to say we stayed for the whole experience but we looked around at the debauchery and decided this was no country for young men with private school sensitivities:). One thing for sure, a concert like this could never happen today.
  8. WZ’s penultimate album, My Ride’s Here, has a song co-written by WZ and HST. They were pretty good friends, at least as good friends as generally self-centered assholes can be. I love large parts of both men’s work, especially the earlier stuff, but by all accounts they were lousy people, especially when drunk, which they were a lot of the time.

    But when sober, WZ managed to have a torrid affair with former Second Daughter Eleanor Mondale, who was a pretty hot blonde despite being the daughter of one of the most boring people to have ever been VP.

    • Replies: @Anon
    From what I've heard (same undergrad college) having a fling with second daughter made you part of a crowd.
    , @Tim
    "But when sober, WZ managed to have a torrid affair with former Second Daughter Eleanor Mondale, who was a pretty hot blonde despite being the daughter of one of the most boring people to have ever been VP."

    Eleanor Mondale was a tramp. I grew up in DC and she was everywhere, banging black guys and everybody else who came around.
    , @Tim
    "But when sober, WZ managed to have a torrid affair with former Second Daughter Eleanor Mondale, who was a pretty hot blonde despite being the daughter of one of the most boring people to have ever been VP."

    Eleanor Mondale was a tramp. I grew up in DC and she was everywhere, banging black guys and everybody else who came around.
  9. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:

    Keith Richards was into slide playing, which is simply steel guitar playing but “underhand”, and like steel guitar is always (or nearly always) done in an open chord tuning, before meeting Cooder.

    Usually steel players have a sixth or ninth in the tuning whereas slide is using open major chords.

    Cooder was, however, much more along the way than Richards. Cooder felt and still feels as if Richards and the Rolling Stones “used him”. He has bitched about this incessantly.
    His playing on “Let it Bleed” is 50% or more of why anyone knows who he is. There are loads of innovatvie players in Cooder’s class who have much less name recognition.

    I can’t write briefly about Ry Cooder, the virtuoso guitarist who has a new record, “Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down.” Admiration for his accomplishments, his singularity, and the longevity and diversity of his career intervene. For more than forty years, since Cooder released his first record, “Ry Cooder,” in 1970, he has been a musician other musicians have followed closely, and no popular musician has a broader or deeper catalog. He has played songs so simple that they are hardly songs, and songs so complex that theyhttps://www.unz.com/isteve/warren-zevon-and-hunter-s-thompson/ would tax, if not overwhelm, the capacities of most lauded guitarists. He had quit making rock ‘n’ roll records sixteen years before Rolling Stone, in 2003, named him the 8th greatest guitarist on their list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time (three of the seven ahead of him are dead guys). Even so, his influence has been felt more than his records have been heard, with perhaps one exception: the group of elderly Cuban musicians whom he assembled and recorded in 1997 and called the Buena Vista Social Club.

    Cooder’s guitar playing is expressive, elegant, and rhythmically intricate. It frequently has a pressured attack that he has described as having the feel of “some kind of steam device gone out of control.” His sense of phrasing was partly imprinted in his childhood by a record of brass music made by a group of African-American men who found instruments in a field left by Civil War soldiers during a retreat, and played them according to their own inclinations. If you wonder what his sensibility sounds like when applied to rock ‘n’ roll—one version of it anyway—the most widely known example I can think of comes from the period when Cooder had been hired to augment the Rolling Stones during the recording of “Let It Bleed.” He was playing by himself in the studio, goofing around with some changes, when Mick Jagger danced over and said, How do you do that? You tune the E string down to D, place your fingers there, and pull them off quickly, that’s very good. Keith, perhaps you should see this. And before long, the Rolling Stones were collecting royalties for “Honky Tonk Women,” which sounds precisely like a Ry Cooder song and absolutely nothing like any other song ever produced by the Rolling Stones in more than forty years. According to Richards in his recent autobiography, Cooder showed him the open G tuning which became his mainstay and accounts for the full-bodied chordal declarations that characterize songs such as “Gimme Shelter,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Start Me Up,” and “Brown Sugar.” The most succinct way I can think of to describe the latticed style that Keith Richards says he has sought to achieve with Ron Wood is to say that for thirty-five years the Stones have been trying to do with four hands what Cooder can do with two.

    Cooder might have been heard more widely except that he doesn’t like to perform. He doesn’t care for being watched so closely or having to entertain. “I couldn’t go out there anymore and say, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, and especially you ladies,’” he says. The people who like the applause should have it, he feels, but he says he doesn’t care for it. After performing, he used to feel like a withered balloon under a chair on the day after a child’s birthday party. He grew up in recording studios and is more at home there, privately trying to capture something ephemeral and elusive—“the big note,” a friend of his has said, the one that makes all the other concerns fall away. In the last few years, he has toured briefly in Europe and Japan and Australia, with his son, Joachim, playing drums and Nick Lowe playing bass—but not in North America.

    For most of Cooder’s career he arranged songs from other writers and various historical sources ranging from Depression era songs, to Bix Beiderbecke’s repertoire, to folk and drifter and cowboy songs, miner’s songs, work songs, surf songs, jukebox songs, calypsos, roadhouse and dance hall songs, protest songs, and songs from the registry of rhythm and blues—but in 2003 he began recording albums of his own material. (My own introductory list of highlights from Cooder’s earlier period: “Great Dreams from Heaven,” “How Can you Keep on Movin’,” “Get Rhythm,” which has a fantastic video, “In a Mist,” “Ditty Wah Ditty,” “Smack Dab in the Middle,” “Tattler,” “France Chance,” “Little Sister,” “Dark at the End of the Street,” “Maria Elena,” “I Think It’s Going to Work Out Fine,” “The Very Thing That Makes You Rich,” and I’ll stop, but I could keep going happily.)

    The recent records formed a kind of Los Angeles trilogy. The first, “Chavez Ravine.” was inspired by black-and-white photographs of the hill town community inhabited by Mexicans and destroyed to build Dodgers Stadium. The second, “My Name is Buddy,” concerned a red cat named Buddy and his adventures during the most virulent period of anti-workingman and anti-communist feeling. One of the songs he sings is “Red Cat Till I Die.” The third record, “I, Flathead,” is a desert narrative about salt-flat drag racers and an alien racer entangled in a complicated moral dilemma.

    https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/ry-cooders-elegant-indignation

    Like so many New York publications, it leaves out a lot of the salient points, such as that Cooder “has the attention span of a gnat” according to several people I’ve known who have worked with him, or that he is a bitter pain in the ass on occasion, or that, talent aside, there is not a huge number of people that are that into what he does.

    That is what makes a lot of fans of these very talented eccentrics upset: not everyone is into what they do. And they think everyone ought to be. We, that just is not how it works, unfortunately.

  10. T-Bone is the born again Christian.

  11. When Warren Zevon was on his deathbed with lung cancer, he once stated “life is too short, so enjoy every sandwich.” Words to live by.

  12. Makes one want to go out and howl at the moon.

  13. @Anonymous
    Old column by Hunter S. Thompson about Zevon for ESPN magazine. Apparently Zevon was a passionate hockey and lacrosse fan, crack shot and strong admirer of Colts owner James Irsay.

    http://proxy.espn.com/espn/page2/story?id=1206003

    Only a hockey fan could have written “Hit Somebody”.

  14. Ry Cooder collaborated with Nicky Hopkins, Mick Jagger, Bill Wyman, and Charlie Watts for the Jamming With Edward! album (1972). Here’s a fun song from it, a cover of Elmore James’ “It Hurts Me Too”. Bob Dylan’s “Pledging My Time” is “It Hurts Me Too” with different lyrics, and Jagger sings one verse from the Dylan song. Listen for the verse about an ambulance.

  15. @Darwin's Sh-tlist
    That was Boomer-rific.

    There are few ways to make a song worse than to have two guitars artlessly clanging out the same chord voicings through the whole thing.

    Warren Zevon is one of those 70's-era critical darlings - along with Elvis Costello, Robbie Robertson, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, and a host of others I'm mercifully blanking on - whose reputation as a great musician I've never heard any evidence for.

    T-Bone Burnett's chief talents seem to be 1) being a rock-era musician who is actually familiar with a lot of non-rock music and 2) having a good instinct for using those songs in movies and TV. Nice work if you can get it.

    Indeed. It amazes me that some people would rather listen to this boomer crap than listen to the likes of Merle Haggard. Traditional country music was jokingly described as “three chords and the truth,” but I’d say that the above-average country singer back in the day was instrumentally superior to this Zevon stuff.

    And compared to a country man like Guy Clark, Zevon comes across as an even lousier guitarist and songwriter.

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
    From a music fan's perspective, it's all relative. But Warren Zevon was well-respected by his fellow musicians. He was one of the best song writers in the music business.
  16. @Darwin's Sh-tlist
    That was Boomer-rific.

    There are few ways to make a song worse than to have two guitars artlessly clanging out the same chord voicings through the whole thing.

    Warren Zevon is one of those 70's-era critical darlings - along with Elvis Costello, Robbie Robertson, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, and a host of others I'm mercifully blanking on - whose reputation as a great musician I've never heard any evidence for.

    T-Bone Burnett's chief talents seem to be 1) being a rock-era musician who is actually familiar with a lot of non-rock music and 2) having a good instinct for using those songs in movies and TV. Nice work if you can get it.

    Warren Zevon is one of those 70’s-era critical darlings – along with Elvis Costello, Robbie Robertson, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, and a host of others I’m mercifully blanking on – whose reputation as a great musician I’ve never heard any evidence for.

    Kid Rock disagrees with you.

  17. @cthulhu
    WZ’s penultimate album, My Ride’s Here, has a song co-written by WZ and HST. They were pretty good friends, at least as good friends as generally self-centered assholes can be. I love large parts of both men’s work, especially the earlier stuff, but by all accounts they were lousy people, especially when drunk, which they were a lot of the time.

    But when sober, WZ managed to have a torrid affair with former Second Daughter Eleanor Mondale, who was a pretty hot blonde despite being the daughter of one of the most boring people to have ever been VP.

    From what I’ve heard (same undergrad college) having a fling with second daughter made you part of a crowd.

  18. @Darwin's Sh-tlist
    That was Boomer-rific.

    There are few ways to make a song worse than to have two guitars artlessly clanging out the same chord voicings through the whole thing.

    Warren Zevon is one of those 70's-era critical darlings - along with Elvis Costello, Robbie Robertson, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, and a host of others I'm mercifully blanking on - whose reputation as a great musician I've never heard any evidence for.

    T-Bone Burnett's chief talents seem to be 1) being a rock-era musician who is actually familiar with a lot of non-rock music and 2) having a good instinct for using those songs in movies and TV. Nice work if you can get it.

    Lucinda Williams is down there with Lou Reed in my personal pantheon of spectularly overrated critical darlings. She’s loathesome.

  19. @Darwin's Sh-tlist
    That was Boomer-rific.

    There are few ways to make a song worse than to have two guitars artlessly clanging out the same chord voicings through the whole thing.

    Warren Zevon is one of those 70's-era critical darlings - along with Elvis Costello, Robbie Robertson, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, and a host of others I'm mercifully blanking on - whose reputation as a great musician I've never heard any evidence for.

    T-Bone Burnett's chief talents seem to be 1) being a rock-era musician who is actually familiar with a lot of non-rock music and 2) having a good instinct for using those songs in movies and TV. Nice work if you can get it.

    #NABALT

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    See you and raise.

    https://youtu.be/Yz0uh_49vUc?t=11
    , @Autochthon
    It's way more difficult to do this on the same guitar (fretboard, soundboard); a double-necked guitar is effectively just two guitars consolidated for convenience, so the Vaughans are really just doing a bit of flashy showmanship. The Morse brothers are also showing off, of course, but their antics (four hands on what is truly single guitar) require much more dexterity and coordination.

    Anyhow, they're all talented guys, and music ain't a pissing context; I just wanted to provide an example of a duet on guitars that wasn't as lame as what Darwin's Shitlist rightly lamented.
  20. I saw the Coen Brothers do a live bull session on stage with Burnett some years back at the New Yorker Festival. I was not particularly impressed by him.

  21. The one factoid I recall about Ry Cooder is that his 1979 album “Bop ‘Till You Drop” was the first major studio effort made using all digital recording technology.

  22. @Darwin's Sh-tlist
    That was Boomer-rific.

    There are few ways to make a song worse than to have two guitars artlessly clanging out the same chord voicings through the whole thing.

    Warren Zevon is one of those 70's-era critical darlings - along with Elvis Costello, Robbie Robertson, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, and a host of others I'm mercifully blanking on - whose reputation as a great musician I've never heard any evidence for.

    T-Bone Burnett's chief talents seem to be 1) being a rock-era musician who is actually familiar with a lot of non-rock music and 2) having a good instinct for using those songs in movies and TV. Nice work if you can get it.

    Ah, boomer hate. A sure sign that if the writer was female he would have 4 hafrican kids, several tattoos, and be twirling around a stripper pole.
    Boomer hate is just daddy issues for whiny males.

    • Agree: dfordoom
    • Replies: @Autochthon
    Wise words. Isn't it Napoleon who's credited with advising never to attribute to the irreversable ruination of civilisation what can be motivated instead by unsubstantiated accusations of resentment towards one's father?
  23. @Anonymous
    Old column by Hunter S. Thompson about Zevon for ESPN magazine. Apparently Zevon was a passionate hockey and lacrosse fan, crack shot and strong admirer of Colts owner James Irsay.

    http://proxy.espn.com/espn/page2/story?id=1206003

    He must have liked boxing too:

  24. T-Bone helped convert Dylan to evangelical Christianity for a time
    A bit dated but his “Proof Through the Night” is worth a listen. “Brave New world on a mirror”

    With Mr. Cooder from that album.

  25. @Darwin's Sh-tlist
    That was Boomer-rific.

    There are few ways to make a song worse than to have two guitars artlessly clanging out the same chord voicings through the whole thing.

    Warren Zevon is one of those 70's-era critical darlings - along with Elvis Costello, Robbie Robertson, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, and a host of others I'm mercifully blanking on - whose reputation as a great musician I've never heard any evidence for.

    T-Bone Burnett's chief talents seem to be 1) being a rock-era musician who is actually familiar with a lot of non-rock music and 2) having a good instinct for using those songs in movies and TV. Nice work if you can get it.

    It is boomeriffic- but then I’m a boomer.

    Don’t love everything in Cooder’s oeuvre, but a lot of good stuff. I particularly enjoyed his Tex-Mex period. I’ve only seen him live once- with Little Village (John Hiatt, Nick Lowe, Jim Keltner and I forget who else). Good show.

    Liked Zevon a lot. Saw him many times over the years, and while not all his songs were great, many were- and not just the old chestnuts like “Werewolves” and Lawyers Guns and Money”, IMHO he continued to write and record good songs up until the end. Sentimental Hygiene, Transverse City and Mr. Bad Example are pretty good albums. I also liked his version (with REM as his backup band) of Raspberry Beret.

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
    I came to Warren Zevon through his collaboration with REM, first on Sentimental Hygiene (1987), then the side-project Hindu Love Gods (1990). Both Transverse City (1989) and Mr. Bad Example (1991) are albums I return to.
  26. @cthulhu
    WZ’s penultimate album, My Ride’s Here, has a song co-written by WZ and HST. They were pretty good friends, at least as good friends as generally self-centered assholes can be. I love large parts of both men’s work, especially the earlier stuff, but by all accounts they were lousy people, especially when drunk, which they were a lot of the time.

    But when sober, WZ managed to have a torrid affair with former Second Daughter Eleanor Mondale, who was a pretty hot blonde despite being the daughter of one of the most boring people to have ever been VP.

    “But when sober, WZ managed to have a torrid affair with former Second Daughter Eleanor Mondale, who was a pretty hot blonde despite being the daughter of one of the most boring people to have ever been VP.”

    Eleanor Mondale was a tramp. I grew up in DC and she was everywhere, banging black guys and everybody else who came around.

  27. @cthulhu
    WZ’s penultimate album, My Ride’s Here, has a song co-written by WZ and HST. They were pretty good friends, at least as good friends as generally self-centered assholes can be. I love large parts of both men’s work, especially the earlier stuff, but by all accounts they were lousy people, especially when drunk, which they were a lot of the time.

    But when sober, WZ managed to have a torrid affair with former Second Daughter Eleanor Mondale, who was a pretty hot blonde despite being the daughter of one of the most boring people to have ever been VP.

    “But when sober, WZ managed to have a torrid affair with former Second Daughter Eleanor Mondale, who was a pretty hot blonde despite being the daughter of one of the most boring people to have ever been VP.”

    Eleanor Mondale was a tramp. I grew up in DC and she was everywhere, banging black guys and everybody else who came around.

  28. Zevon, surprisingly, remains fairly relevant. This article was inspired by basically one line in a Zevon song, Carmelita: https://thelandmag.com/pioneer-fried-chicken-los-angeles-kaleb-horton/

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
    "Zevon, surprisingly, remains fairly relevant."

    Nope, no surprise at all.
  29. @Darwin's Sh-tlist
    That was Boomer-rific.

    There are few ways to make a song worse than to have two guitars artlessly clanging out the same chord voicings through the whole thing.

    Warren Zevon is one of those 70's-era critical darlings - along with Elvis Costello, Robbie Robertson, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, and a host of others I'm mercifully blanking on - whose reputation as a great musician I've never heard any evidence for.

    T-Bone Burnett's chief talents seem to be 1) being a rock-era musician who is actually familiar with a lot of non-rock music and 2) having a good instinct for using those songs in movies and TV. Nice work if you can get it.

    Warren Zevon is one of those 70’s-era critical darlings – along with Elvis Costello, Robbie Robertson, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, and a host of others I’m mercifully blanking on – whose reputation as a great musician I’ve never heard any evidence for.

    I don’t think critics were ever saying they were all great musicians, but that they were great songwriters. And it’s clear to me that at least two of them were certainly that: Warren Zevon and Elvis Costello.

    Here’s some evidence for Zevon as a great songwriter:

    And for Elvis Costello:

    • Agree: Ganderson
  30. “Chavez Ravine.” was inspired by black-and-white photographs of the hill town community inhabited by Mexicans and destroyed to build Dodgers Stadium.

    Somehow I doubt that Mr. Cooder would get upset by white communities being destroyed… face it folks, pop musicians are DUMB AS ROCKS!

  31. Burnett and Cooder both deserve all the accolades they can get, not only for their playing, but for introducing two generations of Americans to a world of music.

    Now if you will excuse me, I have to go play Talking Timbuktu…..again.

  32. @Darwin's Sh-tlist
    That was Boomer-rific.

    There are few ways to make a song worse than to have two guitars artlessly clanging out the same chord voicings through the whole thing.

    Warren Zevon is one of those 70's-era critical darlings - along with Elvis Costello, Robbie Robertson, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, and a host of others I'm mercifully blanking on - whose reputation as a great musician I've never heard any evidence for.

    T-Bone Burnett's chief talents seem to be 1) being a rock-era musician who is actually familiar with a lot of non-rock music and 2) having a good instinct for using those songs in movies and TV. Nice work if you can get it.

    The reputations of Zevon and the other musicians you list are primarily for songwriting, not for virtuosity in performance.

  33. More evidence, Your Honor:

  34. @Darwin's Sh-tlist
    That was Boomer-rific.

    There are few ways to make a song worse than to have two guitars artlessly clanging out the same chord voicings through the whole thing.

    Warren Zevon is one of those 70's-era critical darlings - along with Elvis Costello, Robbie Robertson, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, and a host of others I'm mercifully blanking on - whose reputation as a great musician I've never heard any evidence for.

    T-Bone Burnett's chief talents seem to be 1) being a rock-era musician who is actually familiar with a lot of non-rock music and 2) having a good instinct for using those songs in movies and TV. Nice work if you can get it.

    Django Reinhardt has 7 guitarists banging out the same chord in the same voicing in many instances. If you badmouth him, you obviously are among the dummesel.

    • Replies: @Darwin's Sh-tlist
    I've always listened to Django despite the rhythm section, not because of it. It has a bounce that's attractive at first, but it does get a bit tiresome.
    , @Anonymous
    Gypsy jazz is overrated, to me. Although Django did display amazing speed for someone with two dysfuctional fingers on his fretting hand.
  35. @obwandiyag
    Django Reinhardt has 7 guitarists banging out the same chord in the same voicing in many instances. If you badmouth him, you obviously are among the dummesel.

    I’ve always listened to Django despite the rhythm section, not because of it. It has a bounce that’s attractive at first, but it does get a bit tiresome.

  36. My brother mentioned Thompson to the guy working that weird tavern shaped like an Indian teepee in Baker. The guy was unaware Thompson had ever mentioned the place in a book. I think the bar is gone now. It has been years since I have seen it when going through there.

  37. Steve,

    Blake Mills, who used to play at the Mollusk Surf Shop in Venice, has played with Ry Cooder. Mills is arguably a guitar genius. Here’s a tune of his called “If I’m unworthy” that showcases his slide guitar skills:

    You should review some live music shows in LA! I’d be interested to hear your opinion of a Jon Brion show. As you probably know, Brion is a composer/producer/multi-instrumentalist who’s worked on many of Paul Thomas Anderson’s movies. He had something to do with Elliot Smith’s rise to fame. I’ve heard he does solo shows around LA where he creates loops (including piano, guitar, bass and live drums) to perform his songs. Here’s Brion describing what he calls the difference between songs and performance pieces:

    T Bone Burnett is a pretty big-time producer in LA. I think he did work on many of the Cohen Bros’ movies. My guess is he plays around town there too.

  38. @Reg Cæsar

    After all these years, I can’t tell T-Bone Burnett from Ry Cooder...
     
    Cooder's the one who wrote an opera of sorts about Chavez Ravine.


    https://www.nonesuch.com/sites/g/files/g2000005811/f/media/images/cooder-chavez-ravine.jpg

    Ry Cooder has also done a lot of soundtrack work for Walter Hill.

  39. @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan
    Indeed. It amazes me that some people would rather listen to this boomer crap than listen to the likes of Merle Haggard. Traditional country music was jokingly described as "three chords and the truth," but I'd say that the above-average country singer back in the day was instrumentally superior to this Zevon stuff.

    And compared to a country man like Guy Clark, Zevon comes across as an even lousier guitarist and songwriter.

    From a music fan’s perspective, it’s all relative. But Warren Zevon was well-respected by his fellow musicians. He was one of the best song writers in the music business.

  40. @Ganderson
    It is boomeriffic- but then I’m a boomer.

    Don’t love everything in Cooder’s oeuvre, but a lot of good stuff. I particularly enjoyed his Tex-Mex period. I’ve only seen him live once- with Little Village (John Hiatt, Nick Lowe, Jim Keltner and I forget who else). Good show.

    Liked Zevon a lot. Saw him many times over the years, and while not all his songs were great, many were- and not just the old chestnuts like “Werewolves” and Lawyers Guns and Money”, IMHO he continued to write and record good songs up until the end. Sentimental Hygiene, Transverse City and Mr. Bad Example are pretty good albums. I also liked his version (with REM as his backup band) of Raspberry Beret.

    I came to Warren Zevon through his collaboration with REM, first on Sentimental Hygiene (1987), then the side-project Hindu Love Gods (1990). Both Transverse City (1989) and Mr. Bad Example (1991) are albums I return to.

  41. @vinny
    Zevon, surprisingly, remains fairly relevant. This article was inspired by basically one line in a Zevon song, Carmelita: https://thelandmag.com/pioneer-fried-chicken-los-angeles-kaleb-horton/

    “Zevon, surprisingly, remains fairly relevant.”

    Nope, no surprise at all.

  42. @Autochthon
    #NABALT

    https://youtu.be/CuGDZNxrKn8

    See you and raise.

    • Replies: @Brutusale
    Meh...rookies.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80DtQD5BQ_A
  43. Wasn’t Ry Cooder the answer and/or question on the Chitlins IQ test out of Harvard in the 1960s? Didn’t he play a square guitar? The monkey and the plywood violin as Cohen might have put it.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    I've never seen a picture of Cooder with a "square guitar", but most "square guitars" are cigar box or oil can guitars. Bo Diddley also had Gretsch make him a square guitar with otherwise typical Gretsch hardware. It would not astonish me to find that Cooder had played a cigar box or oil can guitar at some point, but I haven't seen it.

    Cooder was mostly famous for playing a "Coodercaster", an old Fender Strat butchered to put in an old lap steel pickup and control plate.
  44. Anon[242] • Disclaimer says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Cooder is the one who played guitar on “Safe As Milk,” probably the greatest non-famous record of the 1960s.
     
    I've always thought "Electricity" would sound great, and most ironic, played acoustically. Cooder had a different experience of the song:

    While playing "Electricity" for a warm-up performance at the Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival at Mt. Tamalpais in 1967, Beefheart stopped the song, straightened his tie, and walked off the stage, landing face flat into the grass. He later claimed that he saw a girl in the audience turn into a goldfish. This caused guitarist Ry Cooder to immediately quit the Magic Band because he couldn't deal with Beefheart's unpredictability.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_(Captain_Beefheart_song)
     

    Magic mountain? Wow I was in one of the last, if not the last, yellow school buses used to get concert goers up Mt Tam that day. The roads were closed off to normal traffic and the hells angels reportedly patrolled the roads (and maybe the trails). Every time a yellow bus showed up at the embarkation point in Terra Linda, the waiting crowd surged forward encirling it. Then there was a mass scramble through doors and windows until the bus was full and off it went. I was a young 7th grader, un familiar with such savagery and queued waiting my turn. When my buddy and I arrived at the mountain theatre some 5 hours later the Doors were going hard into “light my fire”. I’d like to say we stayed for the whole experience but we looked around at the debauchery and decided this was no country for young men with private school sensitivities:). One thing for sure, a concert like this could never happen today.

  45. @Jim Don Bob
    See you and raise.

    https://youtu.be/Yz0uh_49vUc?t=11

    Meh…rookies.

  46. @Autochthon
    #NABALT

    https://youtu.be/CuGDZNxrKn8

    It’s way more difficult to do this on the same guitar (fretboard, soundboard); a double-necked guitar is effectively just two guitars consolidated for convenience, so the Vaughans are really just doing a bit of flashy showmanship. The Morse brothers are also showing off, of course, but their antics (four hands on what is truly single guitar) require much more dexterity and coordination.

    Anyhow, they’re all talented guys, and music ain’t a pissing context; I just wanted to provide an example of a duet on guitars that wasn’t as lame as what Darwin’s Shitlist rightly lamented.

  47. @Chris Mallory
    Ah, boomer hate. A sure sign that if the writer was female he would have 4 hafrican kids, several tattoos, and be twirling around a stripper pole.
    Boomer hate is just daddy issues for whiny males.

    Wise words. Isn’t it Napoleon who’s credited with advising never to attribute to the irreversable ruination of civilisation what can be motivated instead by unsubstantiated accusations of resentment towards one’s father?

  48. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @trelane
    Wasn't Ry Cooder the answer and/or question on the Chitlins IQ test out of Harvard in the 1960s? Didn't he play a square guitar? The monkey and the plywood violin as Cohen might have put it.

    I’ve never seen a picture of Cooder with a “square guitar”, but most “square guitars” are cigar box or oil can guitars. Bo Diddley also had Gretsch make him a square guitar with otherwise typical Gretsch hardware. It would not astonish me to find that Cooder had played a cigar box or oil can guitar at some point, but I haven’t seen it.

    Cooder was mostly famous for playing a “Coodercaster”, an old Fender Strat butchered to put in an old lap steel pickup and control plate.

  49. @obwandiyag
    Django Reinhardt has 7 guitarists banging out the same chord in the same voicing in many instances. If you badmouth him, you obviously are among the dummesel.

    Gypsy jazz is overrated, to me. Although Django did display amazing speed for someone with two dysfuctional fingers on his fretting hand.

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