Zevon's latest offers familiar, comic mix

Thirty-two years after the release of "Wanted Dead or Alive," his first album, Warren Zevon doesn't stray far from familiar territory on his latest release. There are a number of catchy tunes filled with side-splitting lyrics.

Zevon handles all the guitar and keyboard playing on "My Ride's Here," with drummer Anton Fig and bass player Sheldon Gomberg comprising the rhythm section. There are a number of guest musicians.

But the most important infusion comes from Zevon's songwriting collaborators, including contemporary writers Carl Hiaasen, Hunter Thompson, Mitch Albom and poet Paul Muldoon.

Hiaasen and Zevon, who worked together on a few tunes for "Mutineer," team up on the first single, "Basket Case," which also became the title of Hiaasen's latest book. It is a foot-stomper, about "A bipolar mama in leather and lace, face like an angel � she's a perfect waste."

There is a strong Irish undercurrent on the album, particularly on "Macgillycuddy's Reeks," one of his efforts with Muldoon.

The highlight of the album is the sports anthem "Hit Somebody! (The Hockey Song)," which Zevon wrote with Albom, the noted sportswriter and "Tuesdays With Morrie" author. It is the saga of Buddy, who dreamed of being Rocket Richard but wasn't that good with the puck. "Buddy's real talent was beating people up."

David Letterman lends vocals to the song, which resonates more given the spate of violence going on in the current NHL playoffs.

Veteran Zevon fans will not be disappointed with "My Ride's Here." It doesn't break any new ground, but it treads on comfortable territory well. As with any Zevon release, the liner notes are required reading.

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