Opening line: Enjoy an early-career sandwich with the excitable boy himself.
WMMS-FM, one of the United States’ most influential rock-radio stations, hosted a series of weekly “Chat ‘n’ Music” sessions throughout the early 1970s and 80s, largely with guests billed as up-and-coming artists. Hosted by DJ Matt The Cat, these now legendary “Coffee Break Concerts,” remain a fascinating archive of American radio at its best.
On 10 October 1976 the invited guest was Warren Zevon, still a virtual unknown despite having put out two albums. Warren began the session with a version of a new song entitled “Excitable Boy,” which would become the title track to his top 10 album two years later. It’s a haunting solo-piano rendering of this now-classic Zevon song.
Warren is interviewed by Matt the Cat after each performance and the chat is, not surprisingly, as interesting as the music. Most of the songs are from Warren’s eponymous second album, as well as a gorgeous cover of J.D. Souther’s “Simple Man, Simple Dream” and a few bars of the traditional “Cindy, Cindy.” This session is a gem in the early history of Zevon, released 12 years after his tragic passing from complications of abdominal cancer. Make this unique bit of history part of your collection, because it’s not available to stream anywhere.