Friday, July 29, 2016

40 Year Itch : Brand New Dandy

Joan Armatrading : Down to Zero

On July 29, 1976 Joan Armatrading gave lucky BBC Radio 1 listeners a preview of her upcoming self-titled album on the John Peel show. It may be surprising that she did not perform "Love and Affection", which would be her breakout hit. As for the album itself, Joan Armatrading would top Sounds Magazine's poll for best album of the year.

It was 1976 and Armatrading often used gender neutral language in her love songs ( though she drops several "he"s in "Water With the Wine"). 

  When I saw her perform at the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans around 1984-1985, I stood in a hall full of women swaying with arms outstretched and singing along as Armatrading sang the crowd favorite "Willow".

Armatrading is now 65 and married to her partner and although she has retired from touring, she is still recording.  And still quite private about her own life as she recently told the Independent:

This is how I've always been. It's not something that I learned to do once people started to know my name. To me, it's good to have some privacy. I always ask people, and I will ask you, if you have 10 friends, do you tell each of those 10 friends exactly the same information about yourself? Do you?

1 comment:

  1. Actually this past winter I saw Joan Armatrading do a solo show she claimed to be her retirement tour. She was wonderful. She teased that since it was her last tour she already had retired "Love and Affection" and would not be performing it. She had done that song at every show and could finally leave it out. Of course that was met with audible groans. She did perform every other song you might wanna hear. With stories, pictures in the background and that voice. Oh that voice. At one point near the end of a two hour show she sat back down at the piano, giggled and played "Love & Affection". This woman gets a tiny portion of the credit she deserves. Musician, songwriter, that voice. All in her unique style. And damn! can she play the freakin' guitar!! She did a few tracks from "Into the Blues" and like wow! Amazing. And of course she did my favorite Armatrading "Down to Zero". I'm not sure what her sexual orientation is, but her songs are genderless love. And affection. Thanks for the nod to her!