While Willy DeVille was trying to perfect his blend of roots rock, fiery punk energy, and the heart-rending ballad style that established vocalists such as Ben E. King and Clyde McPhatter, he went through a few changes. Mink DeVille's previous recording, Le Chat Bleu, had opened the door to DeVille being as fine a ballad singer as any. Along with the Doc Pomus ballads there were a few rockers, and the seeds were sewn for the band to pursue this direction, with Willy DeVille stepping more and more out front as an enigma. The combination of DeVille and Jack Nitzsche brought the early rock and soul vibe deep into the heart of Coup De Grace. Louis Cortelezzi and Kenny Margolis provided the sound of the Jersey Shore and Coney Island on saxophone, keyboard and accordion and swirled around DeVille's and Rick Borgia's guitars, undercut by Tommy Price's drums. The band's sound combined with Nitzsche's timeless production style thatr, combined with his singing voice, created a rock & roll purer than even Bruce Springsteen's in 1981. The evidence is on the anthems "Maybe Tomorrow," the slippery doo wop feel of "Love & Emotion," and the devastating read of Arthur Alexander's "You Better Move On" that includes in its soulful Spanish stroll mix a pair of marimbas and the ever-lamenting accordion, that turns the track into something that is so deadly serious it could have been in West Side Story. This was Mink DeVille near their zenith as a recording unit.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek