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The Envoy - Warren Zevon

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The Envoy (1982) - Warren Zevon

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Warren Zevon

    Tracklisting »

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Regular Album Tracklisting:
The EnvoyLyrics available
  Date Performance: 1982, Running Time: 3:13
The OverdraftLyrics available
  Date Performance: 1982, Running Time: 2:44
The Hula Hula BoysLyrics available
  Date Performance: 1982, Running Time: 3:02
Jesus MentionedLyrics available
  Date Performance: 1982, Running Time: 2:45
Let Nothing Come Between YouLyrics available
  Date Performance: 1982, Running Time: 3:41
Ain't That Pretty At AllLyrics available
  Date Performance: 1982, Running Time: 3:35
Charlie's MedicineLyrics available
  Date Performance: 1982, Running Time: 4:51
Looking For The Next Best ThingLyrics available
  Date Performance: 1982, Running Time: 3:41
Never Too Late For LoveLyrics available
  Date Performance: 1982, Running Time: 4:46

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2007 Rhino CD Reissue Bonus Tracks:
Word Of MouthInstrumental
  Date Performance: 1982, Running Time: 4:01
Let Nothing Come Between YouLyrics available
  Date Performance: 1982, Running Time: 3:40
  Comments: (Alternate)
The RiskLyrics available
  Date Performance: 1982, Running Time: 2:34
Wild Thing
  Date Performance: 1982, Running Time: 2:29
    Guest Appearances »

Michael/Mike Botts, Lindsey Buckingham, Jorge Calderon, Kenny Edwards, Steve For(e)man, Bob Glaub, Don Henley, Jim/James R. Horn, Danny (Kootch) Kortchmar, Russ(ell) Kunkel, David Landau, Steve Lukather, (Le)Roy P. Marinell, Rick Marotta, Graham Nash, Jeff(rey) Porcaro, Leland (Lee) Sklar, J(ohn) D(avid) Souther, Waddy (Robert) Wachtel, Jordan Zevon

    Released »


    Format »

Domestic Vinyl/CD Album

    Other Appearances »
Kenny Edwards (Songwriter), (Le)Roy P. Marinell (Songwriter), Thomas Francis McGuane, III (Songwriter), Chip Taylor (John Wesley Voight) (Songwriter), Warren Zevon (Songwriter), Hugh Brown (Design), Jamie Ledner (Assistant Engineer), Wayne Tanouye (Assistant Engineer), David Wild (Liner Notes), Dan Hersch (Remastering), Bill Inglot (Remastering), Mike Engstrom (Product Manager), Liuba Shapiro (Product Manager), Cory Frye (Editorial Supervision), Greg Ladanyi (Recorded By), Andrea Craig (Project Assistance), Ginger Dettman (Project Assistance), Beatriz Pace (Project Assistance), Steve Woolard (Project Assistance), Niko Bolas (Additional Recording By), Greg Ladanyi (Mixed By), Jimmy Wachtel (Album Design By), Bill Inglot (Sound Produced By), Greg Ladanyi (Original Album Produced By), Waddy (Robert) Wachtel (Original Album Produced By), Warren Zevon (Original Album Produced By), James Austin (Reissue Supervision), Cheryl Pawelski (Reissue Supervision), Gary Braglia (Actor (In Cover Photo)), Jonathan Exley (Actor (In Cover Photo)), Don G(rabowski) (Actor (In Cover Photo)), George Gruel (Actor (In Cover Photo)), Jim/James Houghton (Actor (In Cover Photo)), Mick Johnson (Actor (In Cover Photo)), Greg Ladanyi (Actor (In Cover Photo)), Harry Landry (Actor (In Cover Photo)), Ted Shackleford (Actor (In Cover Photo)), George Gruel (Aide-De-Camp), Jimmy Wachtel (Cover Photography By), Michael/Mike Curtis (Album Design Assistance From), Michael/Mike Curtis (Cover Photography Assistance From), Randee S(ain)t(.) Nicholas (Inside Cover Photography By), Bob Barnes (Warner's Pilot (In Cover Photo)), Rich Hildenbrand (Warner's Pilot (In Cover Photo)), Harry Landry (Warner's Pilot (In Cover Photo)), Randy Mowrey (Warner's Pilot (In Cover Photo)), John Black (Lighting Crew (For Cover Photo)), Janice Colty (Lighting Crew (For Cover Photo)), Tim(othy J.) Griffith (Lighting Crew (For Cover Photo)), Dan Hajek (Lighting Crew (For Cover Photo)), Glenn Marygold (Lighting Crew (For Cover Photo)), Terry Novell (Lighting Crew (For Cover Photo)), Timothy Phelps (Lighting Crew (For Cover Photo)), Ralph Stiers (Lighting Crew (For Cover Photo)), Gloria Von Jansky (Actor's Make-Up (For Cover Photo))

    Record Label »
Asylum Records

    Catalogue Number »

60159 (LP) R2 101758 (Rhino CD Reissue)

    Running Time »


    Liner Notes »

Recorded at Record One, Los Angeles

Thanks to Joe Smith & Irving Azoff

Special thanks to:
Aaron Norris for his conceptual contributions and to "Kootch", LeRoy, John David, Kim Lankford, Larry Solters, Howard Kaufman, Burt Stein, Carol Sidlow, Karen Ladanyi, Dale Hood, Johnny Lea Hodges, Don G. & Starllte Limousine, Tim Griffith, Barbara Walker, Randee St. Nicholas, Ron Coro, Elmi Graphics, Guy Salvadore, Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, Jeff Bridges, James Houghton and Tom McGuane of Montana.

Thanks always to Jackson.

For Kim

Graham Nash appears courtesy of Capitol Rocords.
Steve Lukather, Jeff Porcaro & J.D. Souther appear courtesy of Columbia Records.

Rhino CD Reissue Notes:

Remastering at DigiPrep

Special Thanks: Audrey Bilger & Jordan Zevon

Nearly a quarter-century ago, the late, great Warren Zevon told Mikal Gilmore in Rolling Stone that he thought of his latest effort, The Envoy, as Excitable Boy Grows Up - referring back to the 1978 album that brought the world "Werewolves Of London" and made Zevon a fantastically unlikely pop star. All these years since making its own original diplomatic mission, The Envoy has itself grown up quite beautifully - and just in time for its long-delayed and richly deserved CD release. A compelling piece of work that offers some surprising moments of emotional vulnerability and outright unjaded romance, The Envoy still sounds every bit as resonant as it ever did, and not simply because it opens with haunting lines about frightening disorder in the Middle East and our world in general:

Nuclear arms in the Middle East
Israel's attacking the Iraqis
The Syrians are mad at the Lebanese
And Baghdad does whatever she please
Looks like another threat to world peace
For the envoy

Those words hold up hellishly well, but ultimately it's not the political particularities of Zevon's musical vision that make The Envoy so relevant three years after the death of its remarkable creator. Rather, its undying power is in the sense of a wildly gifted and intelligent writer searching for some order amid the chaos. Listen closely and you can hear the sound of Zevon in the very adult struggle to actually grow up a little, insomuch as such a thing might be possible in this world. The gorgeous and gripping sound of The Envoy may occasionally reflect its early-'80s origins, but listen beyond those sonics and you'll hear about the eternal need we all have for some sort of envoy to get us out of trouble - often trouble of our own making.

The creation of The Envoy apparently found Zevon more focused than ever before - in no small part because he was then in a period of sobriety after a few years when he seemed bent on self-destruction like one of the many highly unreliable narrators that populate his fantastically edgy songs. So rather than encountering the appealing nihilism of, say, Excitable Boy's "Lawyers, Guns And Money," here we get a title track celebrating a different and more reasonable sort of international fixer, one based on the high-profile shuttle diplomacy of Philip Habib. As Zevon explained to Gilmore in Rolling Stone, his envoy was "just this kind of workmanlike, self-disciplined version of a James Bond-style agent. I like him because he has a will, because he's a problem-solving kind of guy, and because I need his kind of control."

As life would have it, Zevon would continue to struggle with issues of control (and the lack thereof) in the years immediately following The Envoy. Indeed, Zevon would once again fall off the wagon, and fall pretty hard, at that. It may not have helped that The Envoy - one of Zevon's greatest achievements - was a relative commercial disappointment, reaching only #98 on the Billboard Album chart and failing to yield even a significant airplay hit. Ultimately, this would be Zevon's final studio album for Elektra/Asylum. The singer-songwriter would not reemerge with another new release until his notable 1987 comeback, Sentimental Hygiene, when, backed by members of R.E.M., Zevon was sharing tales of his trip to a "Detox Mansion" and movingly asking the world to "Reconsider Me."

The Envoy's commercial fortunes may partly explain why this extraordinary album has been unavailable in CD form. Yet there should be no doubt that it is by any fair standard a tremendous and heartening success in its own right. Here Zevon strikes an altogether excellent balance between his yin and his yang, the part that yearns for love and the part for which lawyers, guns, and money seem far more pressing needs.

After the brooding, intriguing start of "The Envoy," comes the rollicking dark ride of "The Overdraft" - cowritten by Zevon and famed novelist Thomas McGuane - featuring a splendidly crazed backing vocal by Lindsey Buckingham that only adds to the song's winning sense of life on the edge. "The Hula Hula Boys" is a story of a sunny Hawaiian cuckolding that begins with the classic line, "I saw her leave the luau with the one who parked the cars." Zevon goes on to comment on the death of Elvis Presley in his own way on the stately "Jesus Mentioned." Side One of the original album then ended with "Let Nothing Come Between You," a buoyant song of romantic commitment that showcases Zevon's sweeter side to fine effect.

Side Two began with a hard look at bad habits, from the exciting, punkish self-abuse of "Ain't That Pretty At All" (cowritten with LeRoy Marinell) to "Charlie's Medicine," the more sober tale of a fallen dealer. "Looking For The Next Best Thing" - a collaboration between Zevon, Kenny Edwards, and Marinell - is an unlikely, upbeat-sounding salute to "settling for less." Yet Zevon significantly chose to end the song cycle on an altogether different note: "Never Too Late For Love" offers a shockingly inspirational message as Zevon bravely dares to wear his heart way out on his sleeve.

Produced by Zevon, Greg Ladanyi, and Richard "Waddy" Wachtel, The Envoy found the singer-songwriter once again backed by an impressive group of singers and players that included many big names of El Lay rock, such as the aforementioned Buckingham, Don Henley, J.D. Souther, Graham Nash, Danny "Kootch" Kortchmar, Steve Lukather, Rick Marotta, Russ Kunkel, Jorge Calderon, Leland Sklar, Jeff Porcaro, and Zevon's own son, Jordan.

Rightly revered by many of his better-known fellow travelers in Southern California rock, Zevon long suffered from the idea that he was just too smart, too cynical, too literary, and just too damned good for his own good. With this release, The Envoy now gets a new musical mission - a new life. Zevon's music is aging quite beautifully, even without his physical presence. Zevon is too damned good to be obscured by even the Big Sleep.

And now that the album is finally out on CD, The Envoy is itself bigger and better than ever with the addition of four bonus tracks: "Word Of Mouth" is an infectious and thoughtful instrumental that sounds like a lost movie soundtrack Zevon should have written. "Let Nothing Come Between You" is an alternate track with some different lyrics. A lost gem, "The Risk" seems vaguely reminiscent of Zevon's friend Bruce Springsteen. Finally, Zevon's take on the rock classic "Wild Thing" is suitably wild.

In his too-short lifetime much was made of the millions of albums Warren Zevon didn't sell, the arenas he didn't pack, the masses he didn't reach despite his clearly singular talent. In the end, though, we do not remember what wasn't, but what was. The Envoy survives as a vivid reminder of what this brilliantly gifted and just plain brilliant man could do. So let us all now become envoys that carry forward this message to all our friends and even enemies far and wide:

The Envoy represents Warren Zevon at his very best. And at his best, Warren Zevon remains one of the best that ever was.

-David Wild
David Wild is a Contributing Editor to Rolling Stone.

Look for I'll Sleep When I'm Dead The Dirty Life And Times Of Warren Zevon by Crystal Zevon Forward by Carl Hiaasen. Available wherever books are sold.

(P) & (C) 2007 This reissue Manufactured & Marketed by Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company
3400 W. Olive Ave.
Burbank, CA 91505-4614

All Rights Reserved.

Department Of Justice Federal Bureau Of Investigation FBI Anti Piracy Warning
Unauthoruzed copying is punishable under federal law.

Printed/Made in U.S.A.

Compact Disc Digital Audio

0 8122 79997 8 0

    Reviews »
Add your review here.

The overdraft rocks (literally) but not much else
Review written by John Fitzgerald, June 2nd, 2005

The second song, "The overdraft" is a fiery rocker which features Lindsey on well heard background vocals and it's one of the best moments on an average outing for Warren. He's had worse albums but the compositions contained here don't really have the bite that those from his self titled 1976 album and "Excitable boy" had which make it rather forgettable but still worth a look at for "The overdraft", the opening title track as well as the fact that theres interesting production from Warren with our old pals Waddy Wachtel and Mr. "Behind the mask" himself Greg Ladanyi and I do hope that this platter is released on CD soon as I feel it may be the kind of album one can appreciate more when they have the sound quality and convenience of a disc.

    Comments »

2007 Rhino CD Reissue release date: March 27, 2007

    Last Modified »
    Tracklisting »
Discography entry submitted by Pablo Roufogalis & Jeff Kenney.