The legendary Willie Nile’s latest album Children of Paradise is an excellent follow-up to his Bob Dylan cover album Positively Bob: Willie Nile Sings Bob Dylan. If you’re a fan of Willie’s latest resurgence, then you’ll be really happy with the way this one has come out.
The album opens with a song you might have heard before, with “Seeds of a Revolution” which was off his 1992 EP Hard Times in America. I always liked that one, so I was happy to see that it was reworked for this new full-length. That is not the only song to be reworked, since the title track “Children of Paradise” is off my favorite Willie album Places I Have Never Been. Seems like he wanted to dive back into his catalogue and bring them back to the forefront since maybe they didn’t get the attention they deserved in the 90s. Like with all bands re-doing their albums or songs, you can still be a fan of both. Either way, brilliant songs and sound even better now I think!
“All Dressed Up and No Place To Go” is an rockin’ good tune and classic Willie. It sort of reminds me of “Can’t Stay Home” from The Innocent Ones…a little. It’s one of my favorites off the new album. “Don’t” is perhaps the angriest I heard Willie get on a song, which today’s political and social climate is definitely understandable. I just love the chorus “Don’t let the fuckers kill your buzz/Don’t let the fuckers turn you into suckers…” Not sure I heard him curse in a song, at least I can’t remember. Besides that, he sings about the environment with “Earth Blues.” I’m sure climate change deniers will just LOVE this song. “Getting Ugly Out There” is a great acoustic tune and it’s self explanatory. “I Defy” is a ‘70s style punk tune that will get in your head in no time. That’s what I love about Willie’s music because he’s got a wide range of rock that he plays. I still think it would be interesting to see Willie tackle a ska song. He’s got the punk part down, just needs a horn section and upstroke. Make it happen Willie!
As much as I liked his last two albums, I think this has been his best since American Ride. Children of Paradise is definitely one of his best albums of recent memory and can’t wait to hear these songs live. If you never saw Willie and his band play live before, his shows are legendary and the guy just knows how to put on an entertaining show. This album has some very topical themes and there’s a lot to chew on. It’s a classic Willie album with fast rock songs, slower piano ballads, and stuff in-between. Don’t be a sucker and get this album, fuckers! Ha – see what I did there?
Bottom Line: 70 years old and releasing some of his best material to date!
Notable Tracks: Seeds of a Revolution, All Dressed Up and No Place to Go, Earth Blues, Children of Paradise, Getting Ugly Out There, I Defy