Monday, February 1, 2016

Great Songs You Probably Don't Know - Mama Couldn't Be Persuaded - Warren Zevon

It's notoriously hard to hear a Warren Zevon song on the radio dial outside of "Werewolves of London." That's a same too considering how much wonderful music he released, especially on his first few albums. His 1976 self-titled debut didn't land any hits for him, but Linda Ronstadt did cover several of his songs and turned "Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me" into a top 40 Billboard chart hit. 

One song she didn't cover, and seemingly few people have, is another cut from that self-titled Zevon record, "Mama Couldn't Be Persuaded."

It's a fairly simple Zevon song, propelled by piano and simple guitar chords, but the arrangement grows more complicated during the chorus, Zevon recruits J.D. Souther and Jackson Browne to sing harmony vocals at this point, and David Lindley contributes fiddle too. It has a bit of a country rock tone to it because of said fiddle, and some of the guitar licks; but there's still a firm rock edge to it.

Eagles could be country/rock, but when Zevon does the genre he packs it full of bite; more so than Frey and Henley did (even though they both contribute to this album too). Zevon presents the character of the song as an unsavory gambler; someone who probably would be a corrupting influence. As the song goes along, we hear that though the family of a girl begs and pleads with their daughter not to marry Zevon's character, she couldn't be persuaded otherwise.

This little ditty is a sorely underappreciated Zevon gem, and unless you know his albums well enough, you probably aren't aware of it. Here's your chance to dig in and enjoy. 

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