Come A Little Bit Closer:
The Best Of Willy DeVille

Willy DeVille

A live CD spanning the years 1977-2005, Come A Little Closer: The Best Of Willy DeVille showcases the unique singer, songwriter and guitarist performing songs from his Mink DeVille band days as well as solo material. Taken from concerts recorded in Amsterdam, Montreux, Nijmegen and Berlin, this is a true ‘best of’ from one of the most arresting voices rock has ever produced.

A deep guitar feedback leads into the opening rolling bass of “Venus of Avenue D.” On to “Savoir Faire,” which features Deville and his tighter-than-tight band in sync and struttin’ (as the CD booklet outlines, DeVille worked with some heavy players throughout his career). “Just To Walk That Little Girl Home,” a romantic heart-tugger, is one of the best songs of this 17-song collection. At times, the sax and DeVille’s voice from the earlier recordings remind me of old Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes. Guys like DeVille and Southside have these lower, romantic voices that instantly lull you into imagined seaside cafés and street scenes.

Dewille is at his best on the seemingly Spanish-influenced love songs like “”Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl” and “Little Girl.” He also has the ability to turn things on their ear, as he does on a very low-register piano lush version of Brian Ferry’s “Slave To Love,” another sparkling highlight. There are those kicking horns in the salsa-flavored “Demasiado Corazon (Too Much Heart),” and a piano-based, gospel version of “Storybook Love” (a song DeVille co-wrote with Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler for the film, The Princess Bride ). A violin goes wacky on a slicing take of “Hey Joe,” even if DeVille’s voice is sounding a little rough. Of course, the talkin’ percussion push of “Cadillac Walk” is here too, with its nasty slide. The CD ends with DeVille doing his best Lou Reed on his signature “Spanish Stroll.” Bottom line: If you love great songs, you owe it to yourself to snatch up Come A Little Closer: The Best Of Willy DeVille.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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