Willie Nile (Robert Noonan) is a New York singer-songwriter who was announced as the "next
Dylan" in an era in which "next Dylans" in the USA were as common as
"next big things" in Britain.
Willie Nile (Razor & Tie, 1980) collects songs composed between 1976 and
1980. Vagabond Moon, Across The River, That's The Reason,
Sing Me A Song were not so much Dylan
imitations as Byrds imitations. Nile heralded the folk-rock revival of the
Unfortunately, Golden Down (Razor & Tie, 1981) sounded like a collection
of left-overs from the previous album, arranged by a rock band that completely
missed the point of Nile's lyrical impetus and transformed it into a literal
impetus (Les Champs Elysees).
After a ten-year hiatus, due to legal problems, Nile delivered another strong
set of folk-rock ballads, Places I Have Never Been (Columbia, 1992),
featuring cameos by Richard Thompson, Loudon Wainwright III, Roger McGuinn and
others. Nile hasn't lost the vice of quoting Dylan and the Byrds on every
other song, but
Rite Of Spring,
Cafe` Memphis, Don't Die,
Everybody Needs A Hammer, Heaven Help The Lonely
live up to their models.
Nile disappeared agains from the scenes after the EP
Hard Times in America (Polaris, 1992), that contains the title-track and
Seeds of a Revolution.
It took seven more years for
Beautiful Wreck Of The World (River House, 1999) to see the light.
Nile has become a powerful rocker, and the material runs the gamut from
blues-rock to almost punk-rock. On top of the strong instrumental backing and
driving rhythm, Nile delivers touching, harrowing and rousing stories of his
times (On The Road To Calvary, You Gotta Be a Buddha,
Bread Alone, Every Time The World Turns Around,
Beautiful Wreck Of The World).
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