Willy DeVille – The Best Of Willy DeVille Live – Come a Little Bit Closer

January 01, 1970





Despite the fact that his career encompassed all or part of
four decades, the late Willy DeVille never achieved more than second-string
status as far as America’s awareness was concerned. Reared in New York’s
seminal punk scene and a fixture at its spiritual hub, CBGB’s, DeVille first
made his mark at the helm of his group Mink DeVille before venturing out on his
own. Stirring a far-flung concoction of street savvy rock ‘n’ roll, Latin
rhythms, Springsteen-inspired anthems and his own impetuous attitude, he
evolved into a charismatic performer with a genuine command of the stage. He
went on to win an international audience that showered him with the adulation
he never attained here at home.


This collection of live tracks spans DeVille’s entire
trajectory with 17 songs recorded at various overseas venues. They cull the
best of his catalogue, most of which will be well known to devoted fans. All
bear elements of essential early ‘60s pop -as vested in the earnest intensity
of “Walk That Little Girl Home,” the restive, retuned “Hey Joe,” the wrenching
“Storybook Love” and the could-have-been, should-have-been standards “Venus of
Avenue A,” “This Must Be the Night,” “Savoir Faire,” “Cadillac Walk” and
“Spanish Stroll.” These musings and melodies were fused forever by DeVille’s
impassioned delivery… in his sneering vocals, the fiery brass-infused backing
bands and an angst-intensive approach that found him distinct and defiant to
the end.


Fortunately, those traits overcome some deficits in the
recording quality – most of the mixes are rather muddy, given that there’s
little separation between vocals and instrumentation – and happily then, the
energy and intensity never diminish. Two years after his premature death from
pancreatic cancer, this musical vagabond’s legacy survives with soul intact.


DOWNLOADS: “Storybook Love,” “Hey Joe,” “This Must Be The Night” LEE ZIMMERMAN

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