Sportin' Life (Mink DeVille album)

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Sportin' Life
Sportin' Life.jpg
Studio album by Mink DeVille
Released 1985
Recorded Muscle Shoals Sound Studio
Muscle Shoals, Alabama
Genre Rock, Soul
Length 35:49
Label Polydor
Producer Willy DeVille,
Duncan Cameron
Mink DeVille / Willy DeVille chronology
Where Angels Fear to Tread
(1983)Where Angels Fear to Tread1983
Sportin’ Life

Sportin’ Life, issued in 1985, is the sixth and final album by the rock band Mink DeVille. Since the band’s third album, 1981’s Le Chat Bleu, when the original members of the band departed, lead singer and composer Willy DeVille had been assembling musicians to record and tour under the name Mink DeVille. After Sportin’ Life, Willy DeVille began recording and touring under his own name.

The album was recorded for Polydor at the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. As he had done on Le Chat Bleu, DeVille wrote some songs with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Doc Pomus. Members of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm SectionRoger Hawkins (drums), David Hood (bass), and Jimmy Johnson (guitar) — played on the album. Except for saxophonist Louis Cortelezzi, none of the musicians had played with Willy DeVille before.

The song “Italian Shoes” was a hit in Europe.[1]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars[2]

Trouser Press said about the album, “Sportin' Life maintains (high) standards with a set of brand-new oldies that effortlessly evoke the bygone era of sweet soul music. 'Something Beautiful Dying' (note The Righteous Brothers reference) is tenderly melancholic; 'Little by Little' tries barrelhouse rockabilly; 'Italian Shoes' is classic bad dude strutting. Apt self-production and a sharp backing band make this first-rate.”[3]

Allmusic thought that the album suffered from overproduction and a lack of verve: "Sportin' Life is for the hardcore fan only, one who can appreciate DeVille’s canny and soulful songwriting that almost gets through this abortion of a production job.”[4]

However, David Wild of Rolling Stone praised Sportin' Life, calling it "the most modern, polished sound of (Willy DeVille's) career." He added, "Pushed to center stage, DeVille delivers, singing with more passion and more personality than ever before... The songwriting is uniformly solid. 'In the Heart of the City' takes DeVille down a side street of Springsteen's musical neighborhood, and the album-closing 'Something Beautiful Is Dying' is a wonderfully overwrought ballad of heartbreaking elegance."[5]

Collaboration with Doc Pomus[edit]

In Lonely Avenue, a biography of Doc Pomus, Alex Halberstadt wrote about the DeVille-Pomus composition "Something Beautiful Dying":

Track listing[edit]

Unless otherwise noted, all songs by Willy DeVille.

  1. “In the Heart of the City“ - 3:19
  2. “I Must Be Dreaming“ - 4:21
  3. “Italian Shoes“ - 4:23
  4. “Slip Away“ - 4:06
  5. “When You Walk My Way“ - (Willy DeVille, Doc Pomus) - 3:24
  6. “A Woman's Touch“ - 3:18
  7. “Easy Street“ - 3:30
  8. “Little By Little“ - 2:28
  9. “There's No Living (Without Your Loving)“ - (Jerry Harris, Paul Kaufman) - 3:21
  10. “Something Beautiful Dying“ – (Willy DeVille, Doc Pomus) - 3:39




  1. ^ Eagle Rock Entertainment (2007) "DeVille, Willy." Web site of Eagle Rock Entertainment. (Retrieved 3-8-08.)
  2. ^ Allmusic review
  3. ^ Editors (2006) “Mink Deville/Willy Deville.” Trouser Press. (Retrieved 3-16-08.)
  4. ^ Jurek, Thom (2007) “Review: Sportin’ Life.” AllMusic (Retrieved 3-16-08.).
  5. ^ Wild, David (March 27, 1986) "Sportin' Life: Mink DeVille." Rolling Stone, p. 114-115.
  6. ^ Halberstadt, Alex (2007) Lonely Avenue: The Unlikely Life and Times of Doc Pomus. New York: De Capo Press. p. 218.