Thursday, December 31, 2009

In Memorium: Willy DeVille

Mink DeVille: Just to Walk That Little Girl Home


Willy DeVille had one of the most soulful voices ever, but far too few people ever got to hear it. He formed the group Mink DeVille in 1975, and made something of a splash at CBGBs in New York City. This was good for his career at first, but in the long run, his music never should have been associated with the punk scene. That was not what he was about.

The other thing that limited DeVille’s potential audience was the fact that he was a musical chameleon. His music had a foundation in R & B, but he stirred Cajun, salsa, and even French cabaret music into his musical stew. Late in his career, he performed with an acoustic trio. And he did not like to repeat himself. The thing is, many of the things he tried worked. And there was always that voice.

Mink Deville had a stable lineup for two albums. After that the lineup shifted constantly, until finally, Willy DeVille decided to continue his career under his own name. Whatever he called it, the music was always emotionally direct, and satisfying. I missed hearing some of his work. Now, unfortunately, I have time to get caught up.

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