"If I were to list Sheila E.'s assets, it would be foremost as a drummer, then a singer. She could do long drum solos with a few words inbetween so the audience doesn't tune her out and that would be just fine. Not to say she isn't a good vocalist."The Belle Of St. Mark" is a fun and upbeat warmup exercise to what would be later heard in the title track. That is followed by the instrumental "Shortberry Strawcake" whose percussive and synthesizer backbeat would be used in "A Love Bizarre" with diluted results. Interspersed in the background are distorted and garbled voice trying to sound like a guitar, which does nothing to ruin this track."Oliver's House" clocks in at 6:20 and serves as a prelude to what the title track offers. Two ballads that give sparkle to this album are the lush and classy "Noon Rendezvous" and "Next Time Wipe The Lipstick Off Your Collar." Quite frankly, I don't know why she didn't maintain this sort of singing in Romance 1600. The second song shows her to be a girl with simple tastes, not minding hamburgers instead of a fancy place, dancing in the backyard instead of out on the town, but her sole request is the title of the song. Novi Novog, whose forlorn violin was a great touch on the "Purple Rain" song, returns here for "Collar." And guess who co-wrote this song? Why, none other than Brenda Bennett of Vanity 6 and later Apollonia 6.And best for last, or best for penultimate, for the CD. The title track, a superlative exercise in pulsing percussive virtuosity and brass accompaniment, is present in its full, unadulterated near nine minutes. Larry Williams' sax works wonders here. From the lyrics beginning with "She's got big thoughts, big dreams," I've noticed what I think is Prince's vocals buried in the background. The myth is that Prince sang it first as a template and then had Sheila sing it. That's just a minor hand Prince had in this album, anyway. After all, the credits list the Starr Company as being the "director", as in Jamie Starr, one of many pseudonyms for Prince.Also, the Club Mix, while a nice addition to the CD, does not compare to the original, but at least it's better than the tepid Eden's Crush remake.A stunning debut whose potency was left unmatched by Romance 1600, Sheila E., and Sex Cymbale."
Shelia's fun and funky debut
Vincent M. Mastronardi | Michigan | 07/15/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Shelia gives a cool performance in the "Glamorous Life". It's a slightly funky off beat pop record with lots of fun beats and a very catchy rhythm. The tracks are all good in their own special way. The romantic tragedy of "The Belle Of St. Mark" is done very well with controlled percussion and instrumentation yet a lot of spirit in Shelia's voice. "Shortberry Strawcake" is hot instrumental begging for sexy lyrics. The screams the grooves are fun and catchy. Shelia wails here. "Noon Rendezvous" is a sweet and loving account of lust. The next two tracks are silly and make Shelia look like a second rate Vanity with even weaker dialogue. The ending is essentially perfect. A long percussion production of "The Glamorous Life" with Shelia playing her heart out and making some of the best dance, R&B around are caught on both cuts that are full and complete. You don't feel something's missing like you do when listening to the radio edits. The full version starts off with a jazzy sax while the Club Edit just lets the steam start off from the top. In general, it's a great set, but you are left wanting more. Other than "The Glamorous Life" nothings truly essential on the set and for the most part it just wanders off on to unneeded pop junk like "Oliver's House". If you get the album only for the title track, you'll be very happy and have a few really nice extras. The song "The Glamorous Life" is one of the brightest moments in eighties pop. A must have for fans."
TRUE CLASSICS NEVER GET OLD!!!
Darrell L. Lee | Jackson, MS | 12/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When Sheila E. first came on the scene in 1984 (I was 14 then), I had the biggest crush on her, and played my "Glamorous Life" 45 at least a hundred times in one day, mimicing her as if I was on percussions. Man! Those were the days of REAL music and REAL artists--and to show you how influential and powerful that LP was and still is, I put it on the other night and immediately began singing the hooks to "Belle of St. Mark", "Oliver's House", "Next Time Wipe the Lipstick Off Your Collar" and "Glamouroous Life." Strangely enough at the age of 33, I was still pretending like I was on stage with the glow-n-the-dark drumsticks Sheila E. used during her fabulous concerts. "Glamourous Life" was truly the pinnacle CD that launched Sheila E.'s career, not to mention her associations with the Purple Rocker Prince himself. "Glamourous Life" is laden with the "Minneapolis-sound", but that's okay because with the addition of Sheila E's cowbell, bongo drums and sultry vocals, it sets her apart from the rest of the talentless artists in Prince's camp at the time."
A classic in my book
j_nice | Phila, PA USA | 01/15/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The 1st solo outing for Sheila & her 1st under the purple one's reign. The title cut is, of course, the proverbial 80s classic that drove it to #7 on the pop charts. It's the best song on the album & the ample time given for Sheila's precisioned & energetic percussive solos as well as the fantastic sax of Larry Williams makes it a real jam. The rest was actually NOT filler but worth listening to. "Oliver's House" & "Shortberry Strawcake" provide funk-filled jams showcasing their Prince-fused inspiration. Where "Noon Rendezvous" is slower but equally appealing. "Bell of St. Mark" was another hit but I must admit, I didn't feel that one much. I liked "Next Time Wipe the Lipstick..." because of it's "cute" lyrics. Her singing voice on this one is not her strongest asset but when combined with her exceptional musicianship makes for pop music ear candy. This one is a must-have for Sheila E & Prince fans alike."
Prince Strikes Gold with Sheila E.
musiquelagroove | Atlanta,Ga | 12/15/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The debut album from Sheila E. is her best recording ever. The title track speaks for itself as Sheila lays the foundation for her arrival under the purple umberella. Sheila jams from beginning to the end proving that she has more talent than Vanity and Apollonia together. The Belle of St.Mark opens the cd and is followed by the instrumental sounds of Shortberry Strawcake. Noon Rendezvous and Next Time Wipe the Lipstick Off Your Collar are her signature slow songs. We all know the popular and famous dance track Glamorous Life which can bring most parties and dance floors to a standing room only dance scene. Prince found true talent this time and to him I say "Thank You". This talented female drummer and singer proves that her time has come and her reign is forever."