The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus*
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)
- This insanely good copy of Zevon's 1978 release boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides
- The sound is anchored by an exceptionally fat, rich, punchy low end - make no mistake, this is a killer Demo Disc for Bass when the low end is as meaty as it is here
- Much like The Pretender, this is a superb recording with the kind of Tubey Magical Analog Richness we go crazy for here
- 4 stars: "Excitable Boy was an actual hit, scoring one major hit single, 'Werewolves of London,' and a trio of turntable hits ('Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner,' 'Lawyers, Guns and Money,' and the title track)."
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- On side one, a group of marks makes 12 light to moderate crackles during the outro of Track 5, Accidentally Like a Martyr.
Sometimes the copy with the best sound is not the copy with the quietest vinyl. The best sounding copy is always going to win the shootout, the condition of its vinyl notwithstanding. If you can tolerate the problems on this pressing you are in for some amazing Warren Zevon music and sound. If for any reason you are not happy with the sound or condition of the album we are of course happy to take it back for a full refund, including the domestic return postage.
Just listen to 'Excitable Boy' and 'Werewolves Of London' to hear how full-bodied the sound of this album can be -- the louder you play it the better it gets!
That's the Big Speaker Quality we live for around here. You turn it up and it starts to really ROCK.
This early Asylum pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to "see" the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It's what vintage all analog recordings are known for -- this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it -- not often, and certainly not always -- but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What the best sides of Excitable Boy have to offer is not hard to hear
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1978
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there's more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
The Fleetwood Mac Connection
Speaking of Werewolves of London, some of you may not know that the rhythm section for that song is made up of John McVie and Mick Fleetwood, otherwise known as Fleetwood Mac. Over the years I have come to appreciate the fact that they are clearly one of the top rock rhythm sections in the history of popular music. One can listen to Fleetwood Mac's albums for the sole purpose of hearing the bass and drums create the ideal support for the songs as well as to drive the music rhythmically forward. On Werewolves their contribution is every bit as important to the success of the song as Zevon's, IMHO.
What We're Listening For on Excitable Boy
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- The Big Sound comes next -- wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information -- fast, clear, sharp attacks for the guitars, keyboards and drums, not the smear and thickness common to most LPs.
- Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering -- which ties in with good transient information, as well as the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency -- the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the players.
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren't "back there" somewhere, way behind the speakers. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would have put them.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of later pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.
- Johnny Strikes up the Band
- Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner
- Excitable Boy
- Werewolves of London
- Accidentally Like a Martyr
- Night Time in the Switching Yard
Donald Fagen stole the beat for this song; do you know which of his songs is based on this rhythm track?
- Tenderness on the Block
- Lawyers, Guns and Money
AMG 4 Star Review
Warren Zevon's self-titled 1976 album announced he was one of the most striking talents to emerge from the Los Angeles soft rock singer/songwriter community, and Linda Ronstadt (a shrewd judge of talent if a sometimes questionable interpreter) recorded three of its songs on two of her biggest-selling albums, which doubtlessly earned Zevon bigger royalty checks than the album itself ever did.
But if Warren Zevon was an impressive calling card, the follow-up, Excitable Boy, was an actual hit, scoring one major hit single, "Werewolves of London," and a trio of turntable hits ("Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner," "Lawyers, Guns and Money," and the title track).