Since we are experiencing the international break, I thought I would offer something a bit different as an article. Some of you may already be familiar with the content but some may not. Youtube is a wonderful device for discovering new interests. About a year ago I came across a great musical talent, sadly, no longer with us.
William Paul Borsey Jr. was born in August, 1950 and passed away in the August of 2009. He had various stage names throughout his career but is best known as Willy Deville. What music did he play? The answer is not simple. He played and wrote music across several genres. His influences included the Ramones, Lou Reed, the Drifters in his early career, and later Mark Knoffler of Dire Straits fame. Like David Bowie, he developed several on stage personae. These included a “Mr Cool”, an indigenous persona(due to his mother’s ancestors), a Cajun persona, and a blues singer. Throughout all of these impersonations, he was noted for his immaculate dress sense and pompadour hair style.
Listen to the first version of Willy Deville in a song that he wrote, Spanish Stroll. Forgive the Ads!!!
Shades of the Ramones and Lou Reed, anyone?
Willy had a group at this time called Mink Deville and such was his personality that he was frequently referred to as Mink Deville.
From around 1980 until 2000, Willy lived with a heroine addiction, but was still able to hold a career together.
His concern with fashion is reflected in his composition, Italian Shoes
Willy was married three times. Sadly, his second wife committed suicide by hanging. Willy arrived home to find her and cut her down. For a time he lost the will to live and, at the least, drove carelessly resulting in an accident that nearly took his life. He ended up with several broken bones and a hip that needed replaced.
He moved to New Orleans where he dived wholeheartedly into Cajun culture. Whilst Deville did write his own material, he was superb at interpreting the work of others. Here is a song with a “Mex” feel.
I am happy to say I encountered one or two women like that one!
Speaking about re-interpreting standards made famous by others, listen to his version of Hey Joe!
Mariachi, eat that Jimi!
My personal favourite is this one, Just to Walk that Little Girl Home
The power of Willy’s voice, his style, his performance are all illustrated in his version of Stand By Me
Like many great performers, Willy had the smarts to always surround himself with really good musicians.
I hope you enjoy Willy if you have not met him before. ………….RIP Willy, song writer, Mr Cool, drug addict, bankrupt, and great performer.
The above is by Rebus. Please consider an article on any topic for the site and help us stand out. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org