Lost Albums: Mink Deville

Diamond Rugs nominate a hidden classic...
Cabretta

Diamond Rugs aren't in it for the glory.

Between them, the six members who constitute the North American collective have rocked up countless miles in pursuit of their dreams. Now settling into something approach a quiet life, Diamond Rugs is a means for the band to let off some steam, to re-visit the fury of their earlier endeavours.

They undoubtedly come with plenty of experience. The varied musicians who form Diamond Rugs boast previous stints in the likes of Six Finger Satellite, Black Lips, Los Lobos, Dead Confederate and Deer Tick, all of whom boast passionate cult following in their own right.

Recent single ‘Gimme A Beer/Christmas In A Chinese Restaurant’ dropped just before Christmas, a right royal racket packed with jagged punk riffs and debauched vocals. Set to release their debut album this year, Clash thought it only right to ask Diamond Rugs to name a cult release from their own record collection. Robbie Crowell obliged.

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My current favorite lost album is one that I've only discovered recently, that being 'Cabretta' by Mink Deville, released in the US as simply 'Mink Deville'. A good friend and fellow music nerd by the rock'n'roll name of name of Mike Campbell (but not THAT Mike Campbell) had recently got ahold of the Diamond Rugs record, and was enthusiastically playing it at his after-hours hangout, The Tiki one night. As we were listening to it, 'Call Girl Blues 'came on, and he made some joke about us sounding like Mink Deville, and upon finding out I had never heard of Mink Deville, put 'Cabretta' on and turned it up.

'Cabretta's pretty much everything that's awesome about rock'n'roll. It sounds like the bastard child of The Rolling Stones, Lou Reed, and Van Morrison. Songs about New York neighborhoods, girls getting away, and street romances. Produced by Jack Nitzsche, it's not only one of my favorite, but favorite sounding albums. The band is tight, but ragged enough that breathes.

It's hard to understand why it wasn't way bigger than it was (only one song charted, and that one only in the UK), but it was released in the 1979, when greasy rock with r'n'b/soul influences wasn't the thing in New York City. The band, led by Willy Deville, played regularly at CBGB's but were out of place in the middle of punk and new-wave bands, especially with Willy's leopard skin-covered guitar and greased-up pompadour. Ten years before who knows what could have happened, but 1979 wasn't the time for this breed of music. More albums came after this, and the two immediately following are great as well (and also produced by Nitzsche), but this one's still my favorite of his that I've found. I'm still looking for a vinyl copy...

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Diamond Rugs are set to release their debut album in 2013.

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