Willy DeVille Come A Little Bit Closer

One of the most charismatic soul singers of the last three decades, Willy DeVille passed away two years ago. He remains rather undervalued, so hopefully this best-of live collection will attract attention. It's no surprise that the performances were recorded in Europe, given its populace's better appreciation of his great talent. "Venus of Avenue D" and "Little Girl" date back to a gig at famed Amsterdam club the Paradiso in 1977, with his seminal band, Mink DeVille, while three more were recorded there in 2005. Montreux Jazz Festival shows from 1982 and 1994 are also featured, while four songs come from two Berlin gigs in 2002. The sound quality varies a little, but the strengths of DeVille's songwriting and that rich, sensual voice are captured nicely. DeVille was equally capable of nailing passionate ballads, as on "Love and Emotion," "Just to Walk that Little Girl Home" and Phil Spector co-write "Little Girl," as rockin' out lustily, as on "Savoir Faire," "Steady Drivin' Man" and "Cadillac Walk." Only on "Storybook Love," the theme song from hit movie The Princess Bride, does he slip into schmaltz. The cover of Bryan Ferry's "Slave to Love" fails to improve upon the original, but these are minor flaws on a very worthy 17-song collection. (Eagle)