The Willy DeVille Trio: Live In Berlin
The CD Credits Rolling: Willy DeVille – Dobro, Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals. Seth Farber – Piano, Vocals (bckgr). Boris Kinberg – Percussion. Freddy Koella – Guitar, Mandolin, Violin. YaDonna Wise – Vocals (bckgr). David Keyes – Bass, Vocals (bckgr).
In 1972, there was this punk band called Mink DeVille. It was a punk band. William Borsey aka Willy DeVille was the front man. Mink DeVille was this fucked up version of blues, R&B, Cajun, and punk. It was DIFFERENT and people still remember it-Mink DeVille broke up in the Wall Street Rush of the 1980’s. The country was too busy paying attention to Ronald Reagan, Insider Trading, Duran Duran, and A Flock of fucking Seagulls. –So what is a punk rocker to do when his band dies? Crawl off into the fucking bushes and call it a day? Not Willy. Willy went to New Orleans and geared his music toward his love of the blues. Willy went off and did what he wanted to, and why the fuck shouldn’t he have? Life is too fucking short to do what other people tell you to do anyway. Me? I don’t like taking orders from fucking anybody either-so it seemed like the time was right to take a look at Mr. Willy DeVille. –First off, I dig the shit out of his look. I like his look SO MUCH that I am going to FORGIVE him for wearing Stevie Ray Vaughn’s hat. Willy has this long black flowing hair. Willy wears a cape and carries a walking stick. Willy wears a white poet shirt, and Willy wears a moustache that looks like the one Zorro wears. Willy’s whole look reminds me of Zorro on a casual day, but in this case Willy’s sword is his guitar. (I have NEVER seen that walking stick, so I can’t say if there is a sword point in it or not, but he was a punk rocker, he lived in New Orleans, and I have my suspicions.) -Secondly, let’s talk about Willy’s voice. In the lower registers, Willy reminds me of a John Lee Hooker/Muddy Waters cocktail. He is the fucking blues in those keys, but as he drifts up into the higher registers his voice just sounds broken-not bluesy. That was my disappointment with the CD. I wanted him to stay where he sounded GREAT. Instead, he let it drift to a place where he just sounded worn out and broken-but hell, what is great art if it doesn’t make a fucking mistake every once and a while?
-Last, but definitely not least, let’s talk about Willy on guitar. Willy has my vote for sounding like John Lee Hooker on that guitar. Willy taught himself how to play guitar, and he has a style that comes from his heart. Willy is not going to blow you away with his amazing technical ability on this cd, but when you hear him stroke that acoustic you can feel where he is coming from. Willy has had a long, hard path straight up the side of a mountain-and you can walk it with him on this cd set.
David Keyes on bass was a great complement to Willy’s voice and style. David Keyes vocals reminded me of Stevie Ray Vaughn. I would have sworn that Stevie was doing back up for Willy in Berlin. He added a depth to the performance that was really fucking incredible. –Seth Farber MUST have studied blues piano SOMEWHERE along the line. He was quite fucking good as well. Listening to Seth Farber made me try to play my piano, again. I never really learned how to play piano, but having one impresses the hell out of people when they realize I run a music magazine.
1. St Peter’s Street-The start of the trip. This made me visualize going to the church of the blues somewhere in the French Quarter with Willy, Farber, and Keys. Pretty good start to the cd; I definitely would not have changed this.
2. Betty And Dupree-Oh Yeah, Dupree gets thrown in the Atlanta jail because he wants to give Betty a diamond ring. So-he shot some cops. –This song is just SO fucking Atlanta, and the lyrics are tailor made for Willy’s smoky blues voice. Willy sounds really good on this track. This is a good vocal range and key for him.
3. It’s Too Late She’s Gone-This is another great showcase for Willy’s voice. Maybe he should do a whole bunch of songs by fucking Chuck Willis. I believe Willy when I hear this. I can feel him fucking hurt though his voice.
4. Spanish Harlem-This one was not a good idea. It goes along with the whole Zorro thing, but remember Willy-Phil Spector is associated with a whole STRING of deaths. –Carlos Santana got somebody else to sing for him when he did this one, and let his guitar playing take center stage. This song was not built for your voice, but it was built for your guitar style.
5. Trouble In Mind-Perfect Acoustic Blues. The original was done by R.M. Jones. Janis Joplin did it. Marianne Faithfull did it, and this one was a good choice for Willy. All great music in America has come from the blues, and this song deserves to live on and on. I believe Willy when he sings that the sun is going to shine through his backdoor someday.
6. Storybook Love-The Princess Bride. Everybody knows this one. This was Willy’s collaboration with Mark Knopfler. It is well done. It was well done when it won Best Song, but I was stick of it then and when I listened to it I was still sick of it. –I can’t criticize the song or the performance of the song, it just pissed me off that it followed Trouble In Mind.
7. Big Blue Diamond-Oh yeah man. I wish I had a big blue diamond when I listened to this song. This made me think of The Titanic and fucking Leonardo DiCaprio. This made me think about how much I could get for The Hope Diamond at my local pawn shop. This song made my brain swim on a fun little fucking acid trip. Try hitting the replay button on your cd player a half dozen times.
8. Shake Sugaree-Perfect follow up to Big Blue Diamond, because now everything Willy has got it in the pawn shop. To be honest, I didn’t see this coming because I was still too busy thinking about pawning The Hope Diamond to buy my firebird and launch a hard copy of MusicIncider. I wasn’t daydreaming about buying dope, honest.
9. Let It Be Me-The Everly Brothers, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Glenn Campbell and Bobbie Gentry and The Sweet Inspirations did this one. This one is a classic love song. This was a good choice to follow the smack song on the cd. Willy handles this one well, so why not Let It Be Him?
10. The Way We Make A Broken Heart-Like fucking men NEED a blueprint on HOW to MAKE a BROKEN HEART!! Why in the world did John Hiatt write this song? Did he really think we need men to have an action plan on how to be pigs? Willy, honey, you are a Virgo and Virgos are gentlemen. You sound pretty terrific on this, but why the hell are you singing it? Is there some fucking conspiracy going on? Inquiring minds want to know.
11. Hound Dog-ELVIS. Okay. Willy does Elvis, the King of Rock. Yes, Elvis and rock and roll were both strongly influenced by the blues. The question you HAVE to ask yourself here is this: Should Hound Dog have EVER been done acoustically? The other question is this: Is Willy going to trade in his cape for a jump suit?
12. Junker’s Blues-GREAT SONG AND DEDICATED TO THE MEDIA on this cd!! I agree Willy! We should all be getting HIGH. Pot should be legal. The way the fucking economy is going we all need it. If we all smoked pot in the media, especially the music media, we might not need therapy for writing about Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake.
13. You Better Move On-More classic blues. This one was originally done by Arthur Alexander. I dig the shit out of Willy’s voice on classic blues cuts. –Of course, this one is about a rich man trying to steal his woman. Just how broke could Willy REALLY be with all of those royalties from Princess Bride rolling in?
14. Night Falls-This is not the song by Iced Earth, and I know I have to clear that up right away because you are all a bunch of metal heads like I am. This is a Willy original. For you illiterate mother fuckers-this is not the Knight Fall song by Coolio. This is a Willy DeVille original. You will like this one.
15. Since I Met My Baby-Ivory Joe Hunter. This song is an American classic. Listen to me children, if you listen to Overkill and Anthrax twenty four seven, you won’t be able to hear a fucking thing when you are fifty. Every once in a while, you gotta take it easy on your ears. Give Zorro a shot.
16. Heaven Stood Still-From the days of Mink Deville. Willy trots out an acoustic version of a song that should have been a classic. This is a definite reward for diehard fans of Willy DeVille. If you have not heard it, try it. You will like it.
1. I’m Blue So Blue-How blue are you? Ocean blue? Midnight blue? Purple-Blue? Saying you are blue just don’t make you all that blue. Get bluer, I want to see you hurt. Hurt with Willy.
2. Keep A Knocking / Sea Cruise- I am going to be totally honest. I hated this. It had to have been put together for a European audience. This song WAS NOT something to have put on this cd. If he tries to sound like Stevie Ray Vaughn again, I am going to find him in New York and SNATCH his walking stick away from him and do BAD things to his hat, AND I will tell Little Richard on him. Little Richard LIVES in Atlanta you know.
3. Shake Rattle And Roll-Jerry Lee Lewis? This one didn’t make me very fucking happy either. Farber did a good job with the keys, but Willy’s fucking blues voice did not mesh well acoustically with this particular rock and roll song. AGAIN, he just may have been trying to put together a showcase of American music for a European audience.
4. Rambling On My Mind- Robert Johnson. Willy sounds great when he sticks with the mother fucking blues. Willy sounds great when he sounds comfortable. I like Willy’s version of this better than I liked Eric Clapton’s.
5. One Night Of Sin- More Elvis. I just have this opinion that anything Elvis did should be left to fucking Elvis. Lisa Marie doesn’t even do any Elvis. –Though it may be pretty fucking cute to hear Zorro do Teddy Bear.
6. Steady Drivin’ Man-DeVille. Give me DeVille and Willy leaving out the covers and Willy doing blues classics-and we have a pretty fucking awesome cd. I know that DeVille was a punk rocker and that there is this whole debate going on over Elvis vs. The Beatles-Which one was the father of punk music, but give me a fucking break. The blues fathered everything.
7. Goin’ Over The Hills- I smoke too many Marlboro’s and so did Willy, but that smoky sound kicks ass in a blues voice. If we added some heavy electric guitars and a big fucking drum kit, this could be metal.
8. Bamboo Road-Willy sounds like Bruce Springsteen on this. When did Thunder Road turn into Bamboo Road? What happens when you get to the end of the Bamboo Road? Do they have Bamboo Road’s in Louisiana? Did the Devil Steve Vai LIE to you about where The Crossroads are? -Still, Willy sounds pretty fucking good on this track.
9. Who’s Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot?-Very traditional blues. I love that he did this one, because you just don’t hear this shit anymore. This song is a fucking music lesson. Listen to it.
10. Carmelita-Warren Zevon. Warren Zevon was fucking AMAZING. The Cowboy Junkies and G.G. Allin did this song-probably because it had some heroin on it. The Counting Crows did it-probably because the lyrics are so tragic. –I think Willy did it just because he could. You gotta earn your stripes to do this one right. And Willy-I don’t give a fuck WHAT you may or may not have been addicted to. I drink too much coffee.
11. All By Myself-I love Fats Domino. I was waiting for him to make this one a medley with Blueberry Hill. Willy carries this one off really well. Willy and Fats can hit all of the same fucking notes. Go Willy Go.
12. Billy The Kid –Okay. I like Willy’s version MUCH BETTER than Bob Dylan’s, but we all know Dylan could NEVER sing. The ONLY reason Bob is still popular AT ALL is that he reminds old hippies of free love and good drugs. You know, the shit that old hippies did SO MUCH that they wrecked it for the rest of us?
Would I get this cd? Yes. I went out and brought myself a copy. I am into the blues and I love my fucking guitar players. I need a change from the heavy shit that I love every once in awhile. In the interests of bringing you something a little different, I reviewed Willy.
-Willy should stick to the Blues and his original work. He sounds good there, like he is at home. If you love the Blues, you are going to love this cd set. Give it a fucking try-you won’t be sorry.
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