1. Johnny Strikes up the Band 2. Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner 3. Excitable Boy 4. Werewolves of London 5. Accidentally Like a Martyr 6. Night Time in the Switching Yard 7. Veracruz 8. Tenderness on the Block 9. Lawyers, Guns and Money
With this 1978 LP, Warren Zevon stepped forward as something of the dark prince of California. Like fellow Southern California outcast Randy Newman, Zevon achieved some fame, albeit not what his talent would have earned him had he written songs more like his mellower pal Jackson Browne and a little less like Jack the Ripper in a convertible. Fascinated with bloodthirsty antiheroes, Zevon wrote with the flair of a desperately bright pulp writer and summoned images of mutilated mercenaries ("Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner"), pampered bad boys ("Lawyers, Guns and Money"), helpless sickos (the title track), and, of course, feral Chinese-food fiends ("Werewolves of London"). Excitable Boy's 1976 predecessor (Warren Zevon) may be a more consistent album, but this is the one that put Zevon in the public consciousness as someone to keep an eye on--for protection as well as promise. --Steven Stolder
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