There where many mainstays at Max’s Kansas City back in the early mid to late 70’s. When I was either working as a production hand or just hanging out at Max’s, One of my favorite’s was “Mink DeVille”. Just a cool sharp rock n roll band with an ethnic punky flair that combined Spanish, Cajun and zydeco influences that was all new to me. Willy Deville, the leader of the band brought in this style that was unique as it was sharp and cutting edge for that time period. The band drew from many sources including Latin music, French creole ballads, New Orleans funk and Cajun accordion music. Just down right fun music to listen and dance too! Willy was born William Borsey in Stamford, Conn. and at a young age of 17 starting hanging out in Greenwich Village and down on the lower east side where he learned to play guitar and started performing. He was in several bands before he formed the Mink Deville band. I couldn’t even tell you and don’t even know the names of those bands Willy played in and what influenced him in those early stages. Willy was a sharp dresser and played the part to the “T”. From his dark slim tight fitting suits, thin tie and his pointed black dress shoe’s – he screamed Rock and Roll in a punkish sort of way.
The group recorded their first album “Cabretta” in 1977. Two of its tracks, “Spanish Stroll”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5LveBIjg3o – and O and Moon Martin’s, “Cadillac Walk” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mz3G5xaECs became minor hits but gave the band a springboard into a fairly modest model of fame in the New York music scene.
For the most part that was my experience with Willy & Mink Deville, although I thoroughly enjoyed the band and their front man “Willy Deville”.
Sadly, Willy DeVille died on August 9th of 2009, of pancreatic cancer. His adventurous forays into rhythm and blues, Cajun music and salsa made him one of the most original figures of the New York punk scene of the 1970s, He was 58 when he died.
Note: I found all these pictures from the internet – as I have none of my own from that time period, as who the hell carried a camera around with them back in the late 70’s and 80’s and of course cell phones did not exist! So thanks to all who took these pictures and full credit is deserved.