Return to Magenta
|Return to Magenta|
|Studio album by Mink DeVille|
|Recorded||Columbia Recording Studios,
New York, New York
Sound Factory West,
|Genre||R&B, Rock, Soul, Blues|
|Mink DeVille chronology|
Return to Magenta, issued in 1978, is the second album by the rock band Mink DeVille. The album was the last to feature all the original members of the band. For this album, the band was joined by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Steve Douglas on sax and, on piano, Dr. John, who would later collaborate with leadsinger Willy DeVille after his move to New Orleans.
Return to Magenta continued in the vein of the first album, with a mixture of rock, soul, blues, and Latin rhythms. It was produced by Jack Nitzsche, who also co-wrote a song with DeVille ("Just Your Friends"). Willy DeVille said about Cabretta, Mink DeVille's album prior to Return to Magenta, "We went against strings on the first album — decided it should be outright, raw, and rude." On Return to Magenta, however, Willy DeVille and producers Jack Nitzsche and Steve Douglas employed lavish string arrangements on several songs.
Willy DeVille sings a quasi-duet with singer-songwriter David Forman on the Forman-composed “’A’ Train Lady.” "Steady Drivin' Man" became a favorite of Willy DeVille fans; DeVille performed the song on his Acoustic Trio Live in Berlin 25 years after the original recording.
Critic Robert Christgau gave the album a C+, writing, “The main thing wrong with Willie DeVille is that he hasn't had a new idea since he decided he didn't like acid in 1970. Even as the songpoet of greaser nostalgia, he's got nothing to say..." Many reviewers believed that Mink DeVille's second album sounded too much like its first, and the band had not broken new ground (although Kid Leo, musical director of WMMS in Cleveland, ranked it as the eighth best rock album of all time.) Return to Magenta peaked at 126 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart.
During the Return to Magenta recording sessions, the band recorded two songs for the background of Paul Schrader's Hardcore: "Easy Slider" and "Guardian Angel", three songs for the soundtrack of the movie Cruising: "Heat of the Moment", "Pullin' My String", and "It's So Easy." These songs were written by Willy DeVille and produced by Jack Nitzsche, who wrote the musical score for Cruising. The three songs appeared on the CD reissue of Willy DeVille's 1987 album Miracle. "It's So Easy" is also on the soundtrack of Quentin Tarantino's movie Grindhouse: Death Proof.
- Mink DeVille knows the truth of a city street and the courage in a ghetto love song. And the harsh reality in his voice and phrasing is yesterday, today, and tomorrow — timeless in the same way that loneliness, no money, and troubles find each other and never quit for a minute. But the fighters always have a shot at turning a corner, and if you holler loud enough, sometimes somebody hears you. And truth and love always separate the greats from the neverwases and neverwillbes.
DeVille said about the song "I Broke that Promise": "It's one of my favorite songs in that album. I keep it in the bag to do it. It has a good feeling because it says, 'I broke that promise that was so important to me.' You can say 'I broke that promise that was so important to you,' but it's even worse to break a promise that's only important to whoever made the promise."
Pianist Bobby Leonards said about Return to Magenta, "Willy had wanted to do an album much like the first one. He wanted to team up with Nitzsche to write some tunes, but Nitzsche wasn’t interested in doing that. All he wanted to do was produce. He was there to help. He didn’t actually say no. He said, 'Hey we’re wasting valuable time and you don’t have a lot of material. The record companies want you to produce a product every year, ten to twelve songs, but nobody writes that way. You do a record when you’ve got something. Don’t record unless you’re ready to record.'" He added, "I went back and erased most of my tracks, but some of mine are still on there.”
Unless otherwise noted, all songs by Willy DeVille.
- “Guardian Angel” - 3:29
- “Soul Twist” - 2:32
- “’A’ Train Lady” (David Forman, Duke Levine) - 3:20
- “Rolene” (John Martin) - 3:51
- “Desperate Days” - 2:49
- “Just Your Friends” (Willy DeVille, Jack Nitzsche) - 2:11
- “Steady Drivin' Man” - 3:40
- “Easy Slider” - 3:53
- “I Broke That Promise” - 3:05
- “Confidence to Kill” (Robert Aherns, Louis X. Erlanger) - 1:53
- Thomas R. "Manfred" Allen, Jr. – drums
- Max & Bees - background vocals
- Willy DeVille – guitar, harmonica, vocals
- Mac Rebennack (Dr. John) – piano, 88s and reminiscent tonalities
- Cleon Douglas – background vocals
- Steve Douglas – saxophone
- Louis X. Erlanger – guitar, vocals
- David Forman – vocals, background vocals
- Jackie Kelso – saxophone
- Bobby Leonards – piano, keyboards
- Rubén Sigüenza – bass
- Ken Anderson - design
- Steve Douglas – producer
- Mark Howlett - recording engineer, mixing
- Roy Kohara - art direction
- Duana Lemay - cover photo
- Brian D. McLaughlin - liner photos
- Jack Nitzsche - arranger, producer
- Ken Perry - mastering
- Larry "Lord Logar" Rosen - road
- Rhodes, Dusti (1978) “Issue 13: Mink DeVille: Smooth Running Caddy: The Tale of the Mink.” Rock Around the World. (Retrieved 1-29-08.)
- Allmusic review
- Christgau, Robert (1978) Mink DeVille Consumer Reviews. (Retrieved 3-16-08.)
- Baker, Glenn A. (1987) "Individual Critics Top 10s." The World Critics Lists ~ 1987. (Retrieved 3-16-08.)
- Editors (2006) Allmusic: Return to Magenta. (Retrieved 8-19-08.)
- Editors (1994) “ Interview: Concierto Básico.” Archived 2008-12-01 at the Wayback Machine. Canal magazine. (Retrieved 3-9-08.)
- See Laura Rangel (1993) Interviews: King Creole Archived 2004-12-18 at the Wayback Machine.. Willy DeVille: Spanish Stroll. Archived 2007-12-24 at the Wayback Machine. Said Willy DeVille, "I have une histoire d'amour with Paris... I've lived in Paris, on Magenta Boulevard." (Retrieved 1-29-08.)
- Dussault, Colin (2004) New York City + Mink Deville. Tiffany Shade.com. (Retrieved 7-20-08.)