May 25, 2011

Come A Little Bit Closer - the best of [pre-listen]

WILLY DEVILLE The Best Of: Live - Come A Little Bit Closer (2011 - CD album) - The late Willy DeVille was one of the finest American songwriters of his generation. Drawing influences from blues, rock, Cajun, latin, country and more he created a rich blend of music that acknowledged its roots but was uniquely DeVille. He was also a consummate live performer with a style, charisma and presence that few could match. This new compilation brings together these two elements to giveyou the Best Of 'Willy DeVille Live'. Tracks are taken from performances ranging from Amsterdam in 1977, through concerts at Nijmegen and Montreux in the 80s and 90s and into the 21st century with concerts from Berlin and back to Amsterdam in 2005. The album gives a true reflection of just how good Willy DeVille was as both songwriter and performer and what we have all lost with his passing. Includes 'Spanish Stroll', 'Cadillac Walk', 'Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl' and the Oscar nominated 'Storybook Love').

Pre-listen tracks:
01 Venus of Avenue D [DeVille] 5:47
02 This Must Be the Night [DeVille] 3:24
03 Love and Emotion [DeVille] 4:09
04 Savoir Faire [DeVille] 3:14
05 Just to Walk That Little Girl Home [DeVille, Pomus] 4:42
06 Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl [DeVille] 5:16
07 Slave to Love [Ferry] 4:23
08 Slow Drain [DeVille] 4:56
09 Demasiado Corazon (Too Much Heart)[DeVille]4:47
10 Little Girl [Berry, Greenwich, Spector] 4:37
11 Storybook Love [DeVille] 4:04
12 Can't Do Without It [DeVille] 4:06
13 Hey Joe [Roberts] 4:39
14 Just Your Friends [DeVille, Nitzsche] 3:30
15 Steady Drivin' Man [DeVille] 6:05
16 Cadillac Walk [Martin] 5:05
17 Spanish Stroll [DeVille] 5:03

Come A Little Bit Closer - Examiner review by Sterling Whitaker

On Tuesday Eagle Records released Come A Little Bit Closer: The Best of Willy DeVille Live. The 17-track CD features material compiled from concerts in Amsterdam in 1977 and 2005, interspersed with other tracks from the Eighties, Nineties and into the new millennium from tour stops in the Netherlands, Montreux and Berlin. "Venus of Avenue D" immediately introduces the listener to some of the hallmarks of DeVille's writing, with the big dynamic shifts that often characterized his dramatic live shows. "This Must Be the Night" is a perfect marriage of melody and rock and roll that begs the question, did DeVille influence Bruce Springsteen or was it the other way around? It's ironic that two artists who seemed to have many elements in common had such disparate commercial fortunes, but then again, DeVille's outlandish personal style, not to mention his impossible-to-characterize range of songwriting, must have made him considerably more difficult to market than Springsteen's Everyman persona. Other standout tracks include "Just to Walk That Little Girl Home," a perfect example of DeVille's penchant for marrying unusual percussion tracks to instrumentation like accordions and horns. The sheer range of his writing is apparent throughout. "Demasiado Corazon (Too Much Heart)" explores a Latin feel with saxophones, while "Just Your Friends" is underpinned by acoustic guitar and percussion before violins and harmonicas join in with another trademark dramatic dynamic shift. "Hey Joe" is a very unusual mariachi arrangement of the Jimi Hendrix classic, while "Can't Do Without It" is a bluesy lament with female background vocals. "Storybook Love" is a restrained piano ballad that got DeVille and Mark Knopfler nominated for an Academy Award. The set closes with "Spanish Stroll," a rocker with slide guitar solos.

If you don't like Willy DeVille, this collection is unlikely to convince you otherwise. It is what it is: a series of snapshots from the career of one of the most uncompromising singer/songwriters ever to emerge in the rock idiom. DeVille's music and idiosyncratic persona were undoubtedly a little much for some fans. But if you're a fan of Willy DeVille, the New York rock scene, or just diverse singer/songwriter material, you should find a lot to like about Come A Little Bit Closer. An audio CD can't capture what DeVille really brought to the stage, but it can sure remind us all why he was so well-regarded as one of the stronger writers and peformers of his era. [Sterling Whitaker is a Nashville-based journalist and author]

- It’s simply an amazing collection any music lover and or music player would be proud to own. Definitely check it out. [Shakefire]

The songs on this collection are well chosen. They are lively, effortlessly reflecting the quality of DeVille’s music. I do not envy the work of those who pored over the countless selections, those who had to choose the best of many. Come A Little Bit Closer is an enviably representative set of the best Willy Deville offered via his many Live performances. [MusicTAP ... essential]

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