Willy DeVille - 'Live In The Lowlands'

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Willy DeVille - 'Live In The Lowlands'

Crystal clear visuals and sound make this a must for any fan of the man's music.

Musically, I don't consider myself to be an expert on anything much (except maybe Pomp & Canadian Hard Rock & AOR), but I generally like to think I have a broad musical overview and more than a basic knowledge of most forms of rock music. However, my experience of eclectic US singer/songwriter Willy DeVille is limited to a few 70s songs by his former CBGB's house band Mink DeVille and a half-remembered collaboration with Mark Knopfler. I certainly would never have recognised the guy who looks like the bad guy from a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western, with his waist-length hair and bad teeth, a far cry from the be-suited, be-quiffed youth I remembered.

Since the demise of Mink DeVille in the mid-80s he had a moderately successful solo career, gaining respect for his mixture of blues, pop, latin, Americana & R&B and touring the world right up to his death from pancreatic cancer in 2009. This release is the Blu-Ray version of a previously available DVD of a performance at the world famous Paradiso in Amsterdam in 2005, and whilst DeVille's music certainly wouldn't be something I would rush out and buy, he was nevertheless a magnetic performer with plenty of charisma and a talented seven-piece backing band which included former Mink DeVille alumni Boris Kinberg and Kenny Margolis on bass and keyboards respectively.

DeVille's voice is limited but is raw and emotional, his twenty-year battle with heroin imbuing every word with that authentic, lived-in ambience that couldn't possibly be faked. The big Mink DeVille hit 'Spanish Stroll' is included, along with unexpected versions of 'Low Rider', 'Hey Joe' and 'Slave To Love', but it's the likes of his own 'Savoir Faire' and 'Can't Do Without It' that score the highest.

Crystal clear visuals and sound make this a must for any fan of the man's music.

Phil Ashcroft

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