Sunday, 14 October 2018

Mink De Ville - Cadillac Walk: The Mink De Ville Collection


Mink De Ville. One of my favourite bands from the late seventies/early eighties. I saw them live on several occasions and they never disappointed.

I have always liked this quote from the legendary producer, Doc Pomus. It was used on the rear cover of the “Return To Magenta” album - 

“Mink DeVille knows the truth of a city street and the courage in a ghetto love song. And the harsh reality in his voice and phrasing is yesterday, today, and tomorrow — timeless in the same way that loneliness, no money, and troubles find each other and never quit for a minute.

I have also really rated this quote from music critic Neil McCormick too:-

“...De Ville and his band reached deep into blues and soul, the classic romantic pop of Ben E. King and The Drifters, with a side order of Spanish spices and New Orleans Zydeco swing. They favoured castanets over tom-toms, and accordion over distorted guitars, and Willy delivered his vocals with a sweet, tuneful flexibility that brought out the emotional resonance beneath his nasal sneer. What the wiry, dapper De Ville had that tied him to fellow CBGB resident bands like The Ramones, Television, Blondie and Talking Heads was an edge. He was drawing on some of the same musical areas that Bruce Springsteen ’s epic rock dipped into, but Willy was an entirely different creature, a macho dandy in a pompadour and pencil moustache, with the dangerous air of a New York gangfighter and an underbelly vulnerability that came out through the romanticism of his music. Springsteen sounded like he was your friend in desperate times. De Ville sounded like he couldn’t quite decide whether to serenade you or pull a knife on you...”

That was Willy De Ville’s image - a sharp “West Side Story” suit, with a rose for his girl in one hand and a switchblade in the other.

With that image, Mink De Ville came out of nowhere in 1977, looking like an extra from “West Side Story” he rode the waves of punk with his Latin-influenced soul rock, (if that makes any sense). De Ville liked a bluesy rocker or two in between the Drifters-style romance, as well. Both those sides of his music is well represented here. 

This album takes us from that point in 1977 to through to 1980, with seven songs from each of the group's first two albums, "Cabretta" and "Return To Magenta" and eight from the third, "Le Chat Bleu". Most of the best tracks are there, although I would have liked to have seen "Can't Do Without It" from "Cabretta" in there, maybe replacing "Gunslinger" or "Confidence To Kill". 

The sound is remastered and impressive, although I have to say that I actually prefer the sound on the original albums as remastered on the Raven label, these have truly outstanding sound. Overall, this is an ideal way for people to enjoy the music of this underrated band and their much-missed singer without getting all of the albums.


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