Joan Armatrading - do i ever need to listen to her?

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i see her records everywhere, but i'm worried she'll just be another tracy chapman

jaxon, Thursday, 13 September 2007 07:05 (thirteen years ago) link

god, my wife was into her a long time ago (no lesbo).
the early 80s records were good, i think, i haven't heard this stuff for 18 years or something. they were fairly poppy, vaguely new wavish.(perhaps they haven't aged well)
try Me Myself I and Walk Under Ladders if you're feeling lucky.

gershy, Thursday, 13 September 2007 07:23 (thirteen years ago) link

Much more sensual than Tracy Chapman (on stuff like "Love and Affection") and much looser and a little quirky ("Walk Under Ladders").

If Timi Yuro would be still alive, most other singers could shut up, Thursday, 13 September 2007 08:19 (thirteen years ago) link

four months pass...

Is this really the only Joan Armatrading thread? Massively underrated. I feel like I heard Alfred speak in praise of her early/mid-80s stuff but maybe I'm wrong. Anyway, her 'Love and Affection: Joan Armatrading Classics 1975-1983' is a really wonderful Sunday evening listen.

J0hn D., Monday, 14 January 2008 03:10 (twelve years ago) link

I don't know her well but I will say that "Somebody Who Loves You" is just a wonderful song. Melody, production, lyrics-- everything about it is great. Possibly my favorite love song of all time.

Mark Rich@rdson, Monday, 14 January 2008 03:30 (twelve years ago) link

"Opportunity" is another great one.

Mark Rich@rdson, Monday, 14 January 2008 03:38 (twelve years ago) link

"The Weakness In Me", very nice.

Lostandfound, Monday, 14 January 2008 03:44 (twelve years ago) link

my best friend maggie had lots of sisters and they ALL loved joan. so i got to love her too in the 80's. i had a great hits comp that came out in the 80's on cd, but i think it's out of print. i'm lucky, drop the pilot, me myself i, i love that 80's stuff. but the earlier years are filled with gems. show some emotion is just a flat-out great song. but she had a ton of them. i love it when you call me names!

ah, here's the one i had:

http://www.amazon.com/Joan-Armatrading-Classics-21/dp/B000056UVV/ref=m_art_pr_18

GREAT track-listing and great chronological overview. if you don't want to go all the way with the one john is talking about (which is 2cds?). there are other best-ofs out there though.

scott seward, Monday, 14 January 2008 03:49 (twelve years ago) link

yeah the one I mention above - there's so much on it, and it's all good - really remarkable!

J0hn D., Monday, 14 January 2008 04:00 (twelve years ago) link

it's funny that jaxon mentions tracy chapman at the top there. maggie and her sisters went to wooster school in danbury with tracy and tracy would come over to their house and hang out and play guitar. don't know if she did any joan covers though.

scott seward, Monday, 14 January 2008 04:01 (twelve years ago) link

i should get that comp. i only have a couple of the early albums.

scott seward, Monday, 14 January 2008 04:02 (twelve years ago) link

I have these two. Pretty easy to find her records on cheap vinyl.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/11/Joan_Armatrading_%28album%29.jpg

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41FN2MKM47L._SS500_.jpg

Mark Rich@rdson, Monday, 14 January 2008 04:24 (twelve years ago) link

love and affection
me myself i
willow*****this is awesome
drop the pilot (this got actual rock-radio play at the time, first place i heard her)

tipsy mothra, Monday, 14 January 2008 05:12 (twelve years ago) link

I love it when you call me names, classic

CaptainLorax, Monday, 14 January 2008 05:13 (twelve years ago) link

eight months pass...

Listening to "Willow" right now. It is awesome!

(Not to mention a walking negation of the concept of genre in music.)

Lostandfound, Friday, 19 September 2008 23:59 (twelve years ago) link

Drop the Pilot...seems like she was a lot bigger in Australia than the US. No-one I know seems to have ever heard of her. (Unless I'm fraternising idiots which is entirely possible.)

VegemiteGrrrl, Saturday, 20 September 2008 04:26 (twelve years ago) link

she was sort of on the verge of a us breakthough in the early 80s - me, myself and & the key were top 40 albums - but she never had that big hit to make her a household name.

the bridge to erewhon (velko), Saturday, 20 September 2008 04:45 (twelve years ago) link

Her first album 'Whatever's for us' from 1972 is outstanding... Much more in the folk-rock vein - but well worth checking out..

Jack Battery-Pack, Saturday, 20 September 2008 06:03 (twelve years ago) link

born and bred on this (in oz!). classic and still great to listen to. the upbeat poppy stuff very housework-improving-danceable.

search: (i love it when you) call me names - joyfully un-p.c. for nowadays

fantasimundo, Saturday, 20 September 2008 10:16 (twelve years ago) link

ive wanted to hear her for ages...all i really remember is that her her name seemed to be around when i was young, and she appeared with dennis the menace on the front of the beano..
so this thread has shifted my ass to exploring her work.

The Atlantis Mystery Solved! (Frogman Henry), Saturday, 20 September 2008 13:18 (twelve years ago) link

There's a lot of Tracy Chapman in there (or rather the opposite), but what's wrong with that. It would be better if we have more female acts sounding like Tracy Chapman or Joan Armatrading, and fewer female acts sounding like Patti Smith or Liz Phair.

Geir Hongro, Saturday, 20 September 2008 13:41 (twelve years ago) link

speaking of which, why doesn't Tracy Chapman have her own thread?

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Saturday, 20 September 2008 13:42 (twelve years ago) link

i really adore "i'm lucky" - did she ever make a whole album of concessions to synthpop?

donna rouge, Saturday, 20 September 2008 15:08 (twelve years ago) link

GEIR IS RIGHT I'M SICK OF PATTI SMITH-SOUNDING WOMEN CLOGGING UP THE CHARTS ALL THE TIME

Scowly D (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 20 September 2008 16:20 (twelve years ago) link

i really adore "i'm lucky" - did she ever make a whole album of concessions to synthpop?

That's her synthiest song; Thomas Dolby plays on most of the album (Walk Under Ladders), if that helps.

Hideous Lump, Sunday, 21 September 2008 03:34 (twelve years ago) link

four months pass...

Whoa. How had I missed her until now?

PappaWheelie V, Saturday, 14 February 2009 02:37 (eleven years ago) link

To me, her voice sounds like the harmonics of Christine McVie and Lindsay Buckingham. I made this observation to a classmate in grad school in 1980, and she looked at me, as with a polite a look as she could manage, as if I were insane.

Love this comment upthread, btw:

god, my wife was into her a long time ago (no lesbo).

M.V., Saturday, 14 February 2009 06:36 (eleven years ago) link

"as"

M.V., Saturday, 14 February 2009 06:37 (eleven years ago) link

"...with a look as polite as..."

M.V., Saturday, 14 February 2009 06:38 (eleven years ago) link

now that we can embed i'm going to embed this, because it's one of my favorite things on youtube

paper plans (tipsy mothra), Saturday, 14 February 2009 07:01 (eleven years ago) link

ten months pass...

I am discovering a like a bunch of her songs that I never knew were hers, and I'm a little confused about where I heard them. Did she get much commercial radio play in the U.S.? I know WXPN (Penn's radio station) used to play her a lot, but I mostly didn't listen to the type of shows that would have played her music.

Anyway, yeah, I think probably very underrated at this point, and much more interesting and musical to my ears than Tracy Chapman. I do remember that she seemed pretty popular in Philadelphia in the 80s.

"Me Myself and I" is a curious take on some sort of new wave sound mixed with characteristically bright 70s pop moments. I remember that song, though I haven't thought of it in years, and I never would have guessed it was Joan Armatrading. (The only song that had really stuck in my head in connection with her is "Love and Affection," which I do think is quite good.)

_Rudipherous_, Tuesday, 29 December 2009 05:31 (ten years ago) link

Also, a reissue of one of her 80s albums is due out shortly.

_Rudipherous_, Tuesday, 29 December 2009 05:32 (ten years ago) link

(And I don't want to turn this into a bashing Tracy Chapman thing, but it just annoys me that I see Joan Armatrading identified/explained partly as someone who made Tracy Chapman possible when there's a whole lot of reason to be interested in Joan Armatrading in her own right.)

_Rudipherous_, Tuesday, 29 December 2009 05:34 (ten years ago) link

Also, the harmonic stuff going on in "Water With Wine" is just great:

http://www.last.fm/music/Joan+Armatrading/_/Water+with+the+Wine

When she gets to "This man was. . ." whatever it is: oh man, that gives me chills.

_Rudipherous_, Tuesday, 29 December 2009 05:37 (ten years ago) link

Sounds almost like an Al Stewart song at that point, but classier if I may say so (not that I hate Al Stewart).

_Rudipherous_, Tuesday, 29 December 2009 05:39 (ten years ago) link

And "Me Myself and I" deserves to be a well-known classic:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBRNfWGxBp8

_Rudipherous_, Tuesday, 29 December 2009 05:40 (ten years ago) link

Did she get much commercial radio play in the U.S.?

Me Myself I, Walk Under Ladders and The Key all got play on the big New York album rock station WNEW-FM. She was definitely going for a poppier bounce at that point--witness her dropping longtime producer Glyn Johns for Richard Gottehrer on Me (bringing the "bright '70s pop" you mentioned) and then Steve Lillywhite on the next two. The new wave influence got stronger with each of those albums--"I Love It When You Call Me Names" from The Key got a lot of play on new wave stations like WLIR (an Adrian Belew guitar solo didn't hurt in that regard).

Hideous Lump, Wednesday, 30 December 2009 04:34 (ten years ago) link

the clip of "willow" that tipsy posted upthread is seriously wonderful (i even prefer it to the actual recorded version)

great sugar wall of sheena (donna rouge), Wednesday, 30 December 2009 04:40 (ten years ago) link

And I don't want to turn this into a bashing Tracy Chapman thing, but it just annoys me that I see Joan Armatrading identified/explained partly as someone who made Tracy Chapman possible when there's a whole lot of reason to be interested in Joan Armatrading in her own right.
Thank you. I'm not a big fan of either, but I've never gotten the connection people try to make between these two. Is it because we're talking about two black chicks with afros who play guitar? They sound very different to me.

Jazzbo, Wednesday, 30 December 2009 12:45 (ten years ago) link

Jazzbo your post is hilarious. They are both high quality but so different! Like someone else said, she was on the new wave stations all the time, but not everyone had access to new wave radio in the eighties.

US EEL (u s steel), Wednesday, 30 December 2009 12:54 (ten years ago) link

three weeks pass...

I've been listening to her non-stop all week. Somewhat surprisingly, I'm not fond of the synth-pop concessions; the walloping arrangements force her to bray too loudly for my ears ("Temptation," "Kind Words and a Real Good Heart").

Blue Fucks Like Ben Nelson (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 21 January 2010 14:54 (ten years ago) link

Did you get a review copy of the one that was just reissued or something?

_Rudipherous_, Friday, 22 January 2010 11:38 (ten years ago) link

Walk Under Ladders? I want to!

Blue Fucks Like Ben Nelson (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 22 January 2010 12:13 (ten years ago) link

Did she get much commercial radio play in the U.S.?

I def. remember hearing "Drop the Pilot" a bunch of times when I was a kid (and only listened to commercial radio). That song has been running through my head for years, but I just recently found out that it was by JA. It didn't help that I couldn't remember any of the lyrics right. (For some reason I used to think that it was called "Shock the Monkey" until I actually heard the Peter Gabriel song.)

President Keyes, Friday, 22 January 2010 12:19 (ten years ago) link

b/c of the monkey line?

Blue Fucks Like Ben Nelson (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 22 January 2010 12:23 (ten years ago) link

Not sure. I just had no idea that she was saying "Drop the Pilot" and was aware that there was a song called "Shock the Monkey" so my mind filled it the blank.

President Keyes, Saturday, 23 January 2010 13:44 (ten years ago) link

one month passes...

I'm in love with "The Shouting Stage."

The Magnificent Colin Firth (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 13 March 2010 15:43 (ten years ago) link

I still haven't heard her

jaxon, Saturday, 13 March 2010 20:32 (ten years ago) link

i was playing her SO LOUD the other day. like, death metal loud. sounded awesome. me myself i cranked loud on a good stereo is heaven on earth.

horrible video sound doesn't do it justice, but anyway...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBRNfWGxBp8

scott seward, Saturday, 13 March 2010 20:45 (ten years ago) link

haha, didn't see that rockist already posted the vid.

scott seward, Saturday, 13 March 2010 20:45 (ten years ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifARMmcqhD8

scott seward, Saturday, 13 March 2010 20:50 (ten years ago) link

Given how many people (including people I'd expect to be interested) haven't heard her, or in some cases even heard of her, I think she is due for some sort of big rediscovery.

_Rudipherous_, Sunday, 14 March 2010 02:40 (ten years ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vyqm7cLy3RA

zvookster, Sunday, 14 March 2010 03:10 (ten years ago) link

i have this one lying around somewhere but I dont think ive ever listened to it, i should dig it out i like the sound of her from this thread

http://991.com/newgallery/Joan-Armatrading-To-The-Limit-422772.jpg

plax (ico), Sunday, 14 March 2010 13:13 (ten years ago) link

four months pass...

Really like what I'm catching up on. Touring too:

http://www.joanarmatrading.com/index.asp?m=misc&n=tours&p=1

Pete Scholtes, Wednesday, 14 July 2010 18:10 (ten years ago) link

six months pass...

Listening to 1986's Slelight of Hand. Although it's her first entirely self-produced album, on which she plays all the electric and acoustic guitars, it's her most mechanized album: Emulators and drum machines galore.

Rich Lolwry (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 22 January 2011 14:05 (nine years ago) link

"Killing Time" and "Russian Roulette" are my picks from that album.

Hideous Lump, Saturday, 22 January 2011 19:46 (nine years ago) link

and "Jesse"

Rich Lolwry (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 22 January 2011 21:33 (nine years ago) link

five years pass...

I guess today was the day I became an Armatrading fanatic. Gave all the albums up thru 1985 a spin today while working.

I came away liking Me, Myself & I the most, and particularly the song "Is It Tomorrow Yet?" which is just packed to the seams with brilliant guitar parts. I'd love to get a hold of that master tape and break it down into individual tracks just so I can fully know what's going on.

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Tuesday, 20 September 2016 21:58 (four years ago) link

The Key is a really really good album

brimstead, Tuesday, 20 September 2016 23:40 (four years ago) link

Before even looking at the credits, I could tell it was Tony Levin all over The Key.

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Tuesday, 20 September 2016 23:41 (four years ago) link

two years pass...

gonna try to get through most of her records this year bc i think walk under ladders is a masterpiece

jolene club remix (BradNelson), Thursday, 28 March 2019 15:46 (one year ago) link

also "the weakness in me" is the best song i've ever heard

jolene club remix (BradNelson), Thursday, 28 March 2019 15:48 (one year ago) link

idk what it is but her work speaks directly to me. i'm listening to her debut whatever's for us rn and i'm just like "wow all of these songs are brilliant"

jolene club remix (BradNelson), Thursday, 28 March 2019 15:49 (one year ago) link

"Love and Affection" is such a great song

. (Michael B), Thursday, 28 March 2019 16:41 (one year ago) link

four months pass...

Random discovery on Google Maps: Ma-Me-O Beach is on a lake in Edmonton, Canada.

Hideous Lump, Wednesday, 21 August 2019 20:06 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

I'm only discovering her but I'm positively awed. Her accent is more on voice than composition compared to Joni Mitchell but the music is totally comparable. What a presence.

Nabozo, Wednesday, 11 November 2020 18:44 (two weeks ago) link

she’s great
shit attitude in title/OP, but she’s never really been given the due she deserves

a nice person (Left), Wednesday, 11 November 2020 19:53 (two weeks ago) link

yeah lots of old threads have bummer titles

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 11 November 2020 19:55 (two weeks ago) link

I've been listening to her a lot the last few years. Enjoyed her most recent album (2018) too, down to the "casual leaning in negative space" throwback of the cover photo.

swing out sister: live in new donk city (geoffreyess), Wednesday, 11 November 2020 19:57 (two weeks ago) link

walk under ladders is the greatest album of all time

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Wednesday, 11 November 2020 20:50 (two weeks ago) link

she also has many albums that are nearly as good

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Wednesday, 11 November 2020 20:50 (two weeks ago) link

I first heard her last year while listening to a 70s soft rock playlist on a plane; Love and Affection was the only song that I had never heard. On her 1976 album, her singing goes to more delicate extremes than you would expect from her "regular" voice.

Her lyrics are too prosaic and casual to compare to Joni Mitchell, but her arrangements and playing with the band are certainly more rocking. Her acoustic guitar playing in Like Fire stands out for aggression and energy.

Halfway there but for you, Wednesday, 11 November 2020 20:58 (two weeks ago) link

the first song i heard by her was "down to zero" and it was like being kicked directly in the chest

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Wednesday, 11 November 2020 20:59 (two weeks ago) link

still stand behind this:

Listening to 1986's Slelight of Hand. Although it's her first entirely self-produced album, on which she plays all the electric and acoustic guitars, it's her most mechanized album: Emulators and drum machines galore.

― Rich Lolwry (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, January 22, 2011

Patriotic Goiter (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 11 November 2020 21:30 (two weeks ago) link

the first song i heard by her was "down to zero" and it was like being kicked directly in the chest

Me too! Heard it on an episode of Homicide, Life on the Street, and it's still my favorite song by her.

Lily Dale, Thursday, 12 November 2020 01:16 (two weeks ago) link

Checked the thread to make sure that I have at some point expressed my love for "Willow." Back in 2008!

This is so great.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kl3i1GMuyeU

a man often referred to in the news media as the Duke of Saxony (tipsy mothra), Thursday, 12 November 2020 01:36 (two weeks ago) link

Drop the Pilot...seems like she was a lot bigger in Australia than the US.

I'd believe this. "Drop the Pilot", "Call Me Names" and "Me Myself I" were in sufficiently high rotation that they are -- along with "Young Turks" -- basically what early childhood sounds like in my memory.

Nag! Nag! Nag!, Thursday, 12 November 2020 04:54 (two weeks ago) link

Joan is a badass boss and her singles ruled my childhood

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 12 November 2020 06:26 (two weeks ago) link

Still feel like I'm hearing her influence on the new Nilüfer Yanya single. Time to try coining "Armatrenaissance" again :)

swing out sister: live in new donk city (geoffreyess), Thursday, 19 November 2020 04:33 (one week ago) link


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