Warren Zevon, “Mohammed’s Radio” from Warren Zevon (1976): One Track Mind

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I usually start my Warren Zevon listening party from toward the end of his career with 2002’s My Ride’s Here or 1995’s Mutineer. I love his last release, the Grammy-winning The Wind, but the albums between 1982’s The Envoy and that concluding 2003 album are special to me.

A clean and sober Warren Zevon was consistently interesting and, more often than not, great. Of course, there are plenty of great Warren Zevon albums when he wasn’t clean. His second release, the Jackson Browne-produced self-titled album from 1976 (later reissued by Rhino with bonus tracks in 2008) is one such classic. One of the most fascinating songs from the album is “Mohammed’s Radio.”

Like the single “Hasten Down the Wind,” “Mohammed’s Radio” was also recorded by Linda Ronstadt, yet Warren Zevon’s version adds a much-needed bite. Jackson Browne doesn’t let things get too slick, ably employing David Lindley on lap steel guitar and using the late Bobby Keys on saxophone to complement Zevon’s piano. Drummer Larry Zack provides a solid back beat locked into Bob Glaub’s always tasteful bass playing.

The most unlikely, yet highly effective, element Zevon employs are the backing harmonies from his California fiends Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. The Buckingham-Nicks vocals are perfect together, and provide a soaring lift to the chorus. Who knew this was just the beginning for the duo? Fans of Warren Zevon likely know the live version of the song from 1980’s Stand In the Fire; while different, it is no less inspirational.

“Don’t it make you want to rock and roll all night long …”

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier is a bass-playing lawyer living in Atlanta. His first Steely Dan exposure was with an eight-track cassette of 'Pretzel Logic.' He can be reached at slangofages@icloud.com; follow him on Twitter: @slangofages. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Preston Frazier
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