Tuesday, 22 December 2009

"CADILLAC WALK - The Mink DeVille Collection" by MINK De VILLE [featuring Willy DeVille] (2001 EMI CD Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

This review is part of my Series "SOUNDS GOOD: Exceptional CD Remasters 1970s Rock And Pop" Download Book available to buy on Amazon to either your PC or Mac (it will download the Kindle software to read the book for free to your toolbar). Click on the link below to go my Author's Page for this and other related publications:


"…She’s My Inspiration Dressed In Red…She’s Spinning All My Friends Heads…"

This unassuming and slightly forgotten September 2001 CD compilation is a superb little number - and for two of the best reasons - track choices and sound.

"Cadillac Walk - The Mink DeVille Collection" by MINK DeVILLE on EMI/Capitol 5350162 (Barcode 724353501624) gives us 22 songs taken from Willy DeVille's first three albums for Capitol Records credited as the band MINK DeVILLE - all of which feature truly fantastic 24-Bit Remastering by EVREN GOKNAR. There have been reissues of this stuff before but never sounding this good...it breaks down as follows (70:22 minutes):

1. Spanish Stroll
2. Mixed Up Shook Up Girl
3. She’s So Tough
4. Cadillac Walk
5. Gunslinger
6. Venus Of Avenue D
7. Little Girl
Tracks 1 to 7 are from their debut album "Mink DeVille" [aka "Cabretta"] issued in the US in June 1977 on Capitol ST-11631 and June 1977 in the UK on Capitol E-ST 11631 (7 of its 10 songs are here - produced by JACK NITZSCHE)

8. ‘A' Train Lady
9. Guardian Angel
10. Confidence To Kill
11. Soul Twist
12. Desperate Days
13. I Broke That Promise
14. Just Your Friends
Tracks 8 to 15 are from their second album "Return To Magenta" issued April 1978 in the USA on Capitol ST-11780 and July 1978 in the UK on Capitol E-ST 11780 (7 of its 10 songs are here - also produced by JACK NITZSCHE)

16. This Must Be The Night
17. Savoir Faire
18. Mazurka
19. Turn You Every Way But Loose
20. Bad Boy
21. Just To Walk That Little Girl Home
22. That World Outside
Tracks 16 to 22 are from their third album "Le Chat Bleu" issued in the UK in March 1980 on Capitol E-ST 25390 and in the USA in September 1980 on Capitol ST-11955. Their 3rd album was co-produced by DeVille with legendary saxophonist STEVE DOUGLAS.
NOTE: Both albums in the UK album and USA sported 10 cuts - but the US version had a different track run to the UK variant on Side 2 only. The US version replaced the UK “Mazurka” track with "Turn You Every Way But Loose" – both of these songs are on this compilation (Tracks 18 and 19). This CD therefore offers 7 remastered tracks out of a total of 11 across the UK and US variants.

The 8-page booklet has detailed and very affectionate liner notes by BEN EDMONDS while the inlay beneath the see-through CD tray pictures single and album sleeves from all over the world - a nice touch. While the wonderful "Spanish Stroll" is a great opener, it's not until you reach "The Immortals" singing their doo-wop back up vocals on "Mixed Up Shook Up Girl" that you really start to hear how good the sound quality is - this is a beautifully remastered disc. The cover of John "Moon" Martin's "Cadillac Walk" is punchy as hell too, while the big slide intro for "Venus Of Avenue D" sounds so muscular - a cool street hustle beat that is so Lou Reed it's brilliant (lyrics above).

His 3rd album benefited enormously from a like-minded soul when DeVille co-wrote many of its songs with the legendary DOC POMUS - "Just To Walk That Little Girl Home" and the almost Spector feel to "You Just Keep Me Holding On" are lovely (Steve Douglas who worked with Spector in the Sixties probably made sure of that huge sound).  Another little gem is "Bad Boy" - a typically cool cover; it was a hit for a Rhythm 'n' Blues Vocal Group called THE JIVE BOMBERS in 1957 on Savoy; it was subsequently used on the soundtrack to the 1983 movie "Breathless". 

Niggles - it's a damn shame that Cabretta's Side 2 opener "Can't Do Without It" which also features The Immortals isn't on here - and another gem "Steady Drivin' Man" from "Return To Magenta" is missing too, but it's good for UK buyers to have "Turn You Every Way But Loose" which was exclusive to the original US LP (see above). Ok - so eight tracks across the 3 albums are missing and when you check the seventy minute playing time, a couple more could have been thrown in easily - but dirt cheap online - "Cadillac Walk" is still stunning value for (peanuts) money.

DeVille then signed to Atlantic and produced two more albums "Coup De Grace" (1981) and "Where Angels Fear To Tread" (1983). Thereafter releases were sporadic but often brilliant - "Miracle" in 1988 with MARK KNOPFLER jumps to mind - it's long been a unspoken masterpiece in my mind and a hi-fi wet dream - while "Loup Garou" from 1996 saw him return to his more romantic troubadour persona but with honesty about his fatal drug-taking - I play both to this day and love them to bits (see review for "Miracle").

Aged only 56 - Willy De Ville sadly died of Pancreatic Cancer in August 2009 - another one of my heroes from the vinyl-days gone. I only have to hear "Hey Johnny! They lookin' for you man..." in "Spanish Stroll" and I'm beaming. This superb CD is a great way to remember him by… 

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