"Unless you're a huge Grace Jones fan or you consider Disco to be your musical bible, this album should probably be avoided. Though I've been a fan since the days of "Living My Life," I still find it incredibly hard to sit through Grace's first two albums, including this one. It matters little that the music and presentation here are authentic disco....much of it is unlistenable.The first three tracks should be avoided at all costs; though Grace later found a way to sing around the deficiencies of her range and vibrato, these songs suffer greatly from her vocal inexperience, just as listeners are likely to suffer. Without the benefit of seeing her original (over the top) stage shows from this period, these songs fall as flat as Grace's voice sounds when she sings them. "Tomorrow" (from the Broadway musical "Annie") is particularly repellent, the vocal equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard.The original side two of the album is a measurable improvement, and includes a version of Edith Piaf's "La Vie En Rose" which is simply wonderful. Indeed, the production for this song is an engaging departure from disco norms: gentle accoustic guitar, delightful keyboard fills and an un-obtrusive rhythmic pulse propel this song more effectively than the standard big bass drum. Though Grace has to talk-sing in parts, her delight in and devotion for this song makes this one of her most affecting vocal performances.The remainder of the "B" side has some pleasant moments. "Sorry" seems uncharacteristically sentimental (for Grace) but is still appealing. "I Need A Man" is dynamic and direct, like the best songs in Grace's catalog.Grace released three albums of "old school" disco before graduating to reggae flavored dance music. Though there are memorable performances from that period, Grace's old-time Disco tracks are generally more appealing if taken out of context. That is, any "best of" that covers this period will give you the representative hits without the appalling misses. It's ironic that her best entire album from the Disco era, "Muse," has been out of print for close to twenty years. Though the only hit on "Muse" was "On Your Knees," the album is worth searching out for it's top-notch disco production, memorable songs and great vocals from Grace.My apologies to the Grace diehards here, but I can't recommend "Portfolio" to anyone who isn't already a fan. This album is more likely to alienate listeners (on the whole) than it is likely to win Miss Jones any new supporters.-Mic"
J. Collins | 06/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of her BESt albums. According to me she made three good ones,next to MUZE this is the BEST. Grace,Jamaican born,has all the punch in this album. It's an old album,but like they say,oldies are goodies! I met Grace during the International Film Festival in Cannes in 1990,she left the Miramar hotel,and was more than eager to give authographs. Also in Belgium,she was taken off stage and her show cancelled because she appeared topless on top of a motorcycle on stage to perform.Everywhere she came there's chaos,but that's Grace's trademark. Afterall,this album is a highly Collectible!from ALTER EGO in Tulsa OK."
ryan aldridge | London, UK | 12/27/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Grace's debut works so well exactly because of her robotic delivery and her aloof vocal style. This was the sneering, cynical but glamorous disco queen irreverently covering classics like La Vie En Rose, Send In The Clowns and Tomorrow. I love it."
Grace Makes A Splash
disco75 | State College, PA United States | 07/25/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The story is well known-- Grace Jones, club acolyte, was approached at a disco to consider recording her own style of dance music. Her fierce yet campy persona lent itself to just such an endeavor. She readily admitted to not having much of a singing voice, but like her, who wouldn't have accepted such an opportunity? This initial effort contained the seeds for her subsequent career, spanning the icy, detached aspect, the campy show biz side, and the romantic. As a whole, the CD is terrible; as a document of the predecessor to the more interesting and substantial things to come, it is a novelty. "I Need A Man" worked the disco sensibility effectively, both as a high-BPM dance number and as as reflection of the sexual mores of the time. "La Vie En Rose" combined the showy with the feminine sides of Grace. Both of these standout tracks are available elsewhere. "That's The Trouble" is only notable for its history as the first song Grace recorded. "Sorry" is the other workable track, conveying the singer's (mock?) regret that her lover won't share her with another man in true camp style."
Easy to trash this album, yet...
fred | Who knows? | 08/29/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"...it has NEVER been out of print, and for good reason. The criticism of Grace's lack of "traditional" singing chops, described below (and endlessly by the "Rolling Stone" magazine crit-crowd), missed the point. Can you project back to 1977, and imagine this...eruption from the depths of Downtown, taking on "Tomorrow" from "Annie"? It was so New York, so chic and so Grace, no less than any of her later (justly) praised Compass Point sesions with Sly and Robbie. The ultimate point of this album is, indeed, "I Need a Man" and "La Vie en Rose" (the latter of which works so well that Michael Fierman, an "ol-skool" dj on the muscleboy circuit, still likes to mix Edith Piaf in...the result has sent chills up my spine). Even so, side one's oft-dissed "two-step" all-Broadway suite, produced by disco pioneer Tom Moulton, serves as a sly counterpoint, building up to a fine head of steam by the time the Sweethearts of Sigma trail off with their divinely campy choruses of "Tomorrow, tomorrow, there's always tomorrow..." It's almost as if every European lounge growler (think Hildegarde Knef and work back) had channeled onto the disco floor through this cheekboned force of nature, the pride of Diana Vreeland and Syracuse University... To be sure, Grace's disco period WAS her weakest - the joke got thin. But this is a fun album, and the genesis of the Grace legend. Except for 1981's "Nightclubbing" (her best), "Portfolio" has more than any other album to do with the Grace Jones we New Yorkers know. The impish, slightly cracked Grace of "Portfolio" is the Grace who, per legend, hired goons to throw a bum new TV set back into the plate-glass window of Crazy Eddie's...who kicked the Crisco out of a leatherman who handcuffed himself to her during one of her shows...who once got up and slapped a British talk show host on-air for ignoring her. And yes, the Grace who warbles "What I Did for Love" on this album is the Grace Jones who, 50-plus, still quietly creeps out to local clubs every now and then to put on a show and raise the rent money. As she herself would later vamp on "Slave to the Rhythm," "HEEEEEEERE'S GRACE!!!!" I love her much... By the way, although Grace's next two albums (both deleted) are forgettable, "Do or Die," which opens 1978's "Fame," is a flaming disco smasherooney, Moulton's vision of Grace-as-Scarlett Empress. If you can find the 12", consider yourself blessed."