Joan Armatrading : Love and Affection
Joan Armatrading sings about love and affection in such honest ways even listeners feel vulnerable. It's not an act. Even with two albums under her belt, Armatrading was far from the most outrageous musical act producer Glyn Johns had ever seen when he caught her act at the Cellar Door club in Washington DC in 1976.
I remember it was a very small stage with avery large band crammed onto it. The singer was painfully shy, barely lifting her head from her chest to look at the audience, and mumbling incoherently in between songs. The sound was not at all good and she was over-powered by the band.
Johns gave Armatrading a second chance. She brought her acoustic guitar into his office and he within a few bard of the first song, he was hooked. Three weeks later, they started work on Joan Armatrading with the finest musicians Johns could gather, including members of Fairport Convention and Faces.
All she needed in order for her talent to be recognized was a really good band and a sound that did her justice.
The feisty single "Love and Affection" would peak at UK #10 and help Joan Armatrading and the four albums that followed go gold. There are touchstones in every one of her song. In the line'Now if I can feel the sun/ In my eyes /And the rain on my face /Why can't I Feel love?" I hear the regret that comes when you're with a good person who just doesn't happen to be the right person.
When people talk about Armatrading, they often fail to mention what an extraordinary acoustic guitar player she is. I won't. Listen to the beginning of "Like Fire". That says more than anything I can write here.