Tuesday 8 September 2015

American music - Mink DeVille

American band Mink DeVille had a top 20 hit in Britain with 'Spanish Stroll' from their 1977 debut album and then largely disappeared from view over here. Which was a shame because their third album, Le Chat Bleu (1980) is a masterpiece, keeping all the swagger and style of the earlier work but now combining it with the braying backing vocals and saxes of Dion DiMucci. It also had a strong French influence in places, having been recorded in Paris.

Willy DeVille wasn't technically the world's greatest singer, but his voice was distinctive and warm and he had taste, style and attitude in abundance. To prove it, he co-wrote some of the songs on Le Chat Bleu with Doc Pomus, and if Doc Pomus endorses you, you know you're onto something good.

This is a live version of the album's opening track, 'This Must Be the Night' and it's fabulous, wrapping up the entire history of New York rock 'n' roll in a single song of bruised street-punk romance. In addition to which, the roses climbing up the mike-stand are a genius bit of theatre, and Willy's hairdo is at its magnificent best.

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