Backstreets of Desire

Backstreets of Desire

by Willy DeVille


Released to complete indifference in the United States a full year after its issue on the Finac label in France, Willy DeVille's Backstreets of Desire stands tall as his masterpiece as both a singer and a songwriter. DeVille's considerable reputation in Paris -- he regularly filled the Olympia Theater there and had Edith Piaf's arranger writing charts and conducting an orchestra for him -- buoyed him up to make this disc at a handful of studios in his adopted New Orleans home. With guest spots by Dr. John, Zachary Richard, and David Hidalgo, DeVille creates a tapestry of roots rock and Crescent City second line, traces of '50s doo wop, and elegant sweeping vistas of Spanish soul balladry, combined with lyrics full of busted-down heroes, hungry lovers, and wise men trying to get off the street. The sound of the album balances Creole soul and pure rock pyrotechnics. DeVille sounds like a man resurrected, digging as deep as the cavernous recesses of the human heart will allow him to on "Empty Heart"; he brings down the house roaring on "All in the Name of Love," with its forlorn but anthemic refrain underscored by Dr. John's gutter funk guitar playing. "Even While I Sleep" features DeVille in a smoky falsetto shuffling along with Hidalgo's squeezebox and Brian Ray's rockabilly guitar picking. The cover of Billy Roberts' "Hey Joe" is a radically new and moving interpretation of the song, with only Jimi Hendrix' version topping it. The New Orleans street jazz on "Voodoo Charm" throws a curve to the emotionally intense contents with a backbone slip rhythm and popping horns in a slow stroll. In all, Backstreets of Desire reveals more about where DeVille had been than he'd perhaps like listeners to know. The wasted rock & roll junkie may have been resurrected from the dead by music (unlike his neighbor Johnny Thunders), but the darkness that informed that soul graces this music with a ragged elegance and tough grace.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/17/1994
Label: Rhino
UPC: 0081227168629
catalogNumber: 71686

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Willy DeVille   Primary Artist,Background Vocals,Slide Guitar
Zachary Richard   Accordion
Dr. John   Synthesizer,Piano,Tambourine
Lost Angels   Background Vocals
Jimmy Z.   Harmonica
Jose Arellano   Guitar,Guitarron
Jeff Baxter   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Luis Conte   Percussion
Luis Damian   Violin,Vihuela
Denny Fongheiser   Percussion,Drums
Freebo   Tuba
Jim Gilstrap   Background Vocals
Jesús Guzmán   Violin,Grito
David Hidalgo   Accordion
Carlos Gudino Jimenez   Trumpet
Freddy Koella   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Violin,Electric Guitar,12-string Guitar
Angles Band Of Salvation Choir   Choir, Chorus
Lost Angels of the Vieux Carre   Background Vocals
Steve Madaio   Trumpet
Steve Madrid   Trumpet
Mariachi Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Reggie McBride   Bass,Fretless Bass Guitar
Quincy McCrary   Choir, Chorus
Juan Morales   Guitar
Elizabeth Moss   Choir, Chorus
Tamera Mowry   Choir, Chorus
Tia Mowry   Choir, Chorus
Joel Peskin   Baritone Saxophone
John Peskin   Baritone Saxophone
Lon Price   Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Brian Ray   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Slide Guitar
John Philip Shenale   Synthesizer,Percussion,Piano,Strings,Keyboards
Bonnie Sheridan   Background Vocals
Fred Staehle   Drums
Efrain Toro   Percussion,Conga,Shaker
Billy Valentine   Background Vocals
Victor Manuel Villa   Violin
Marta Woodhull   Choir, Chorus
John Valentine   Background Vocals
Juan Jose Almaguer   Violin,Grito
John Ewing   Trombone
Z. Jimmy   Harmonica
Johnny Valentine   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Dr. John   Arranger,Producer,Horn Arrangements
Willy DeVille   Composer,Producer
Elli Medeiros   Cover Design
W. Mitchell   Composer
Philippe Rault   Producer,Executive Producer
Doug Rider   Engineer
Bill Roberts   Composer
John Philip Shenale   Producer
Fred Staehle   Contributor
Efrain Toro   Sound Effects
Victor Manuel Villa   Arranger
Marta Woodhull   Director
Earl Randle   Composer

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