Joan Armatrading: Into the Blues (Shock)

 |   |  <1 min read

Joan Armatrading: There Ain't A Girl Alive
Joan Armatrading: Into the Blues (Shock)

For years Armatrading - whose job description includes folk, reggae, rock, jazzy pop and so on -- had been promising herself she would write an album of songs within the the same genre.

This is it, her "blues" album.

But far from being a monochromatic trawl through same-same songs in a blues style she brings her inclusive musical intelligence to 13 songs which reach from Chicago-style to gospel, from raunchy tracks where she seems to be channeling the spirit of John Lee Hooker to quietly stinging BB King guitarwork, to . . .

But is this diversity any good?

Well, a couple of weeks after its release it topped the Billboard blues charts, the first time an Armatrading album has done serious business in the States for decades.

It is still very much an Armatrading album, that earthy voice by turns raunchy and sensual (the lusty Liza and Deep Down), at other times riding on questioning (the gentle Secular Songs about the absence of God and hymns in English churches) or self-doubt.

There's an autobiographical piece (Mama Papa) and it goes out with a ripping eight-minute Something's Gotta Blow where she fully unleashes her guitar playing.

Armatrading wrote, sang, played every instrument (aside from some percussion) and produced this herself. The pleasure she took in it is evident everywhere.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Gin Wigmore: Gravel and Wine (Universal)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Gin Wigmore: Gravel and Wine (Universal)

Although the remarkable Gin Wigmore mostly co-wrote here, you'd have to say it is her voice -- not just her musical voice -- which comes through with utter clarity. And yes, this extraordinary... > Read more

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: The Live Anthology (Universal)

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: The Live Anthology (Universal)

They used to say you could always judge a band by its covers. But today many bands write "originals" which sound exactly like their influences (like these people), or seem to be above... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

SUBTERRANEAN HOMESICK BLUES, REVISITED (2019): The sources, the song and the trickle-down

SUBTERRANEAN HOMESICK BLUES, REVISITED (2019): The sources, the song and the trickle-down

In 1965 Bob Dylan wrote Subterranean Homesick Blues and its innovative video (actually a film, this was before video clips) was much imitated (look down the bottom of this link to just how... > Read more

Dave Dobbyn: Twist (1994)

Dave Dobbyn: Twist (1994)

With the Australian success of the Footrot Flats film in the early Nineties, it made sense for Dave Dobbyn to relocate across the Tasman and ride the wave of popularity of the songs he wrote for... > Read more