Where Angels Fear to Tread, issued in 1983, is the fifth album by Mink DeVille. The album’s title comes from the Johnny Mercer song “Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear to Tread)”, not from the novel by that title written by E. M. Forster. It was the second album Mink DeVille recorded for Atlantic Records, and Atlantic brought in two in-house producers, Howard Albert and Ron Albert, to produce the album. For this album, Willy DeVille reached deeper into his Latin roots, even recording a salsa number, "Demasiado Corazon". A single, “Each Word’s a Beat of My Heart”, reached number 89 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Two percussionists from the Latin dance/disco band Foxy, Richie Puente and Joe Galdo, played on the album. A recording of "Stand by Me" was made at this session and released on a 7-inch single along with “Demasiado Corazon” and “Are You Lonely Tonight?” The album was recorded at the Criteria Recording Studios, Miami.
Trouser Press said about the album, “This uncluttered and uncomplicated tribute to DeVille's chosen forebears — Sam Cooke, Phil Spector, the Drifters, Joe Tex, James Brown — also includes forays into Spanish Harlem and other wondrously nostalgic time warps. DeVille's songwriting and singing have returned to top strength, and the record burns with sincerity and warmth. Simply, elegantly excellent.”
Allmusic said about Where Angels Fear to Tread, “DeVille and his band were burning through the pages of rock and R&B history (there are a couple of doo wop- and New Orleans-flavored cuts as well) with raw swagger and astonishing musicianship. Why they didn't catch and George Thorogood did is a mystery that will be up to '80s historians to figure out.” Track Listing, overview and credits at AllMusic.
Boris Kinberg, a percussionist in The Mink DeVille Band, considered "Lilly's Daddy's Cadillac" one of the best songs Willy DeVille ever wrote. "It's a brilliant song. It’s a mini-film. In a three-minute song you have an hour and a half movie. It’s about drug deal gone bad."
Background singers Margaret Reynolds and Beverly Champion had sung with KC and the Sunshine Band and in 1985 would, under the name Margaret Reynolds and Girlfriends, record the Dubwise 12-inch single "Three Steps from True Love."
Willy DeVille recorded "The Moonlight Let Me Down" a second time in 1996 for a CD single. The single included a radio version and extended version of the song as well as "Ballad of the Hoodlum Priest" (from DeVille's Loup Garou)[source].
[Unless otherwise noted, all songs by Willy DeVille]
“Each Word's a Beat of My Heart" - 3:24
“River of Tears” – 3:18
“Demasiado Corazon (Too Much Heart)” - 3:33
“Lilly's Daddy's Cadillac” - 2:52
“Around the Corner” (Carl Sigman, Ezio Leoni, Vito Pallazicini) - 2:30
“Pick Up the Pieces” - 3:20
“Love's Got a Hold on Me” - 4:33
“Keep Your Monkey Away from My Door” - 3:08
“Are You Lonely Tonight?” - 3:00
“The Moonlight Let Me Down” - 5:23
Ricky Borgia – guitar, background vocals
The C Lord C – background vocals
Beverly Champion – background vocals
Louis Cortelezzi – alto sax, baritone sax, tenor sax
Willy DeVille – vocals, guitar, background vocals
Joe Galdo – drums, percussion
Kenny Margolis – piano, organ, accordion, synthesizer
Richie Puente – percussion
Margaret Reynolds – background vocals
Joey Vasta – bass guitar
Fred Wickstrom – percussion, timpani
Ron Albert - producer, mixing
Howard Albert - producer, mixing
Jay Berman - photography
Willy DeVille - associate producer
Joseph Fontana - executive producer
Mike Fuller - mastering
Patrice Carroll Levinsohn - assistant producer
Louis Ragusa - executive producer
"Fools rush in where angels fear to tread
And so I come to you, my love, my heart above my head."
- Johnny Mercer