Backstreets of Desire

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
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 ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/17/1994
  • Label: Rhino
  • UPC: 081227168629
  • Catalog Number: 71686

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Willy DeVille Primary Artist, 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
Los Angles Band Of Salvation Choir Choir, Chorus
The 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, 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
E. Randle 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
Doug Saks Mastering
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