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October 2003 Pick of the Month 
The Wind
Artist: Warren Zevon 
Label: Artemis Records
Length: 11 tracks 

Warren Zevon’s songs resided in that cheap apartment beside the citys second-hand record shop. You know the one where the guy behind the desk knew exactly what you wanted and would play it before he sold you it. They lived there because everybody who bought the records shopped there. They were not going to sell copious amounts through the Main Street chains. These guys were way left field. They were about bizarre things like "Werewolves In London", Headless Thomson Gunners, Ice Hockey players, French Inhalers, Porcelain Monkeys, and Rottweilers. They had a tongue in their cheek, they had a rascals grin, they had humor that could have dragged them into being a novelty act but they had social awareness, cultural insight, and a romantic beauty but were sadly rarely invited out for tea! 

The Wind is Zevon’s latest and last album, as he died two weeks after it came out Stateside and a week before its UK release. Diagnosed with inoperable cancer a year before, Zevon’s eccentricity, humor, and artistic ability were enough to ensure that he spent the time he had left on the planet doing what he did best. So he wrote songs and then drew in his friends like Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris, T-Bone Burnette and loads more to record them with him.

What we get is perhaps Zevons most accessible album to date. The rockers like his duet with Springsteen, “Disorder in the House” and the lets party manifesto of “The Rest of the Night” with Tom Petty are celebratory. Then on the other side of the looking at death in the eye coin there have never been songs about dying by a man who is dying as vulnerable as “Please Stay” with Emmylou’s haunting sad and poignant backing with a lonely last buggle type saxophone solo and the cry to be remembered “Keep Me In Your Heart.” If it takes his death to send people to this and then back through the quarter century of his catalogue then It’ll be sad but well deserved. Better too late than never! 

The Wind is a marvellous swan song. It is a reminder of the quality songwriter Zevon was. 

Steve Stockman 9/25/2003
 
 

Steve Stockman is the Presbyterian Chaplain at Queens University, Belfast, Ireland, where he lives in community with 88 students. He has just finished a book on U2, Walk On; The Spiritual Journey of U2, is the poetic half of Stevenson and Samuel who have just released their debut album Gracenotes, and he has a weekly radio show on BBC Radio Ulster (listen anytime of day or night @ www.bbc.co.uk/ni/religion/rhythmandsoul). He has his own web page--Rhythms of Redemption at http://stocki.ni.org. He also tries to spend some time with his wife Janice and daughters Caitlin and Jasmine.
   
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