Into The Blues - Joan Armatrading Album Review
Joan Armatrading MBE made her mark way back in late 1976 with top ten hit Love And Affection. Singles wise she charted up to 1992, her last being Wrapped Around Her. Her last chart album was in 1995 - What's Inside. She's been nominated for a Brit and Grammy, though she finally won a gong with an Ivor Novello ward in 1996. Now comes a Blues inspired release, though purists will probably dismiss this one, as it's new territory for the West Indian born songwriter-singer, as it does have a broader sheet than normally used in the genre. Nevertheless, she makes a real fist at it on her 19th album, Armatrading said of her new CD,
Into The Blues is the CD I've been promising myself to write for a long time.Apart from drums / percussion (Miles Bould), Armatrading plays all other instruments which is some feat. She's also written, arranged, produced and recorded the entire album. Dropping her penchant folkie approach and famous acoustic guitar, Armatrading shows us a totally new side to her skills as she tackles an electric guitar, (Fender Stratocaster possibly?) which, it must be said is something of a revelation. Her meticulous guitar technique is evident from the start as she displays some deft finger work on the smooth stylings of a poppy, catchy and mellow ditty that, if released, would make Radio 2 playlistings, and Play The Blues in which she declares,
Recording it has given me so much pleasure and playing blues guitar.... I adore it!
I'd take off all my clothes for you / Baby when you sing the Blues,though she doesn't mention who the 'you' is. The title track is more rootsier in styling, a much broodier affair, with delicious picks and chord breaks with added backing vox by Joan herself. She drops in enough hints for her inspiration,
Are you a mannish boy, just like the might mud.Liza is a massive nod to BBKing/Hooker with a standard Hooker heavy riff textured by wiry picks. Secular Songs returns to her more traditional template of acoustic leanings as she has a pop at the type of songs sung in some church,
It's all Schubert and Beethoven / Oh and lots of French love songs.But further on she reveals,
Yea we'll pray / Pray/ Pray/Pray/ Our souls will rise upon that day.Crunching chords open My Baby's Gone with again a catchy hook and chorus, with odd picks littered here and there, bottleneck, and organ floating in the shadows. Mandolin drenched Baby Blue Eyes once again shows her instrumentation versatility, as does her Blues-harp (harmonica) breaks. Thumping Deep Down is a heavy as Armatrading is ever going to get, an unintentional 'tribute' to the Blues masters of Rock - Led Zeppelin with out and out rocker There Ain't A Girl getting an almost Rockabilly nod. More brooding Blues engulfs Empty Highway, with some stylish picks once again. On closer Something's Gotta Blow she proves she can give maestro Gary Moore a run for his money on a slumbering and dust- fuelled gem. Her keyboard skills are also highlighted here.
A very tasty album.
You may be interested in
- Sat 30th Apr 2016 to Sun 17th Jul 2016 Billy OceanBuy Tickets
- Fri 6th May 2016 to Tue 20th Dec 2016 John OtwayBuy Tickets
- Fri 6th May 2016 Jah WobbleCluny (Newcastle-upon-Tyne)Buy Tickets
- Fri 6th May 2016 to Fri 10th Jun 2016 Terry HallBuy Tickets
- Fri 6th May 2016 Bombskare, Terry HallThe Record Factory (Glasgow)Buy Tickets
- Tue 10th May 2016 to Tue 19th Jul 2016 Elvis CostelloBuy Tickets
- Wed 11th May 2016 Billy Ocean, YolanDa BrownTramshed (Cardiff)Buy Tickets
- Thu 26th May 2016 to Thu 2nd Jun 2016 Bonnie RaittBuy Tickets
- Sat 18th Jun 2016 Let's Rock Leeds, Johnny Hates Jazz, Billy Ocean, Jason Dono...Temple Newsam (Leeds)Buy Tickets
- Sun 19th Jun 2016 The Boat We're In: Robert Plant, Fundraising EventRoyal Festival Hall (Lambeth)More Info..
- Thu 23rd Jun 2016 to Tue 28th Jun 2016 FotheringayBuy Tickets
- Sat 2nd Jul 2016 Let's Rock Exeter, T'Pau, The Human League, Rick Astley, Kim...Powderham Castle (Exeter)Buy Tickets
- Sat 9th Jul 2016 Let's Rock Southampton, Holly Johnson, Rick Astley, Jason Do...Southampton Common (Southampton)Buy Tickets
- Sat 9th Jul 2016 Paul CarrackRobin 2 (Wolverhampton)Buy Tickets
- Wed 20th Jul 2016 to Sat 23rd Jul 2016 Pet Shop BoysBuy Tickets
- Fri 29th Jul 2016 George Clinton, Parliament, FunkadelicO2 Academy 1 & 2 (Liverpool)Buy Tickets
- Sun 31st Jul 2016 Nick Lowe, Paul CarrackPerth Concert Hall (Perth)Buy Tickets
- Fri 5th Aug 2016 Eddi ReaderGawsworth Hall (Macclesfield)Buy Tickets
- Sat 13th Aug 2016 Eddi Reader, Kris DreverKelvingrove Park (Glasgow)Buy Tickets
- Fri 28th Oct 2016 and Sat 12th Nov 2016 John Otway, The John Otway BandBuy Tickets