Zevon was an absolutely brilliant song writer. His songs are tinged with a wry, subversive humor. It doesn't slap you in the face, it might go over your head, but Zevon was not one to take life too seriously...hence the title of this album. It'd from an interview Zevon had with David Letterman, when facing death from terminal cancer, he was asked if he's learned anything about life from facing death, his response was "Just how much you're supposed to enjoy every sandwich." This was Zevon; he looks at life a little differently, and we are the better for it.
Many artists see it that way as well, and so we have this album, which came in 2004, about a year after his death. The material is treated with due reverence; despite the varied styles of the artists, they all generally stick to the original arrangements of the music, and this was the right call. Throughout the album, there is not a single performance that doesn't call out Zevon's original. Even Adam Sandler, the name that made me the most nervous on this collection, did a good job with Zevon's biggest hit, "Werewolves". He plays guitar, not piano, so a compromise is reached on how it is played, but he and his supporting band end up with a good performance.
Zevon's son Jordan contributes the track "Studebaker", and while he doesn't sing with the same voice as his dad, he proves himself to have a great voice in his own right.
Other standouts include longtime friend Jackson Browne tanning with Bonnie Raitt on "Poor Poor Pitiful Me". Browne has produced Zevon's work before, and is similar to the man in many ways, also bring considered one of his generation's great American songwriters. "The Wallflowers" surprised me, giving one of their best performances in years on "Lawyers, Guns and Money". Bruce Springsteen added a live performance of "My Ride's Here", recorded just days after Zevon's death. And nothing will top the original, but the producer of this album, Jorge Calderon, does a good job teaming with Jennifer Warnes on "Keep Me in Your Heart".
These were some of the standouts, but there is not a bad track in the set. A lot of time has passed, but it still feels vital. This is a worth addition to any collection. It's true purpose should be to lead you to Zevon's own work. That is a journey every music fan owes themselves. Hopefully this tribute gives you the same appreciation for his work that the artists who contributed have. If not...well, maybe you're just an excitable boy.