I haven’t counted the posts but I have counted the weeks and this is show number 23 – I missed one week. It’s very hard to believe that I have gone through this process so many times and you have listened so many times.
I think I’ll make a foolish target and aim not to miss any more weeks until the end of this year. I’m now guaranteed not to post next week.
You know the process now. Fill up your coffee, sit down and relax.
I was shocked to find that Joan was almost as old as I – born in December 1950 in St Kitts. When she was seven her family moved to Birmingham. I had a couple of her early albums and then as I lost touch with music generally I lost touch with Joan totally.
As my interest in music has blossomed in the last 6 months I have rediscovered my old music and, as with many who have featured in the show, there I found Joan.
Merchant of Love
I start with a song I hadn’t heard before but this was just the right one to open the show.
The bass voice which comes through at the very end of this line - “Someone help me find the merchant of love” – [not it’s first use] transforms the song in a way I can’t describe. Strange that such a small part can have such a huge effect on me. I have spent a long time listening over and over to this but I can’t add to my description.
My two albums are “Me Myself I” and “Walk under Ladders” from 1980 and 1981 respectively and we continue with title track of the first of these.
Me Myself I
Power! That’s what she has.
Joan is one of those artists who, despite the success she had, never made it up into the next league. This must happen to so many but it does not reflect in any way on her abilities.
She lost her contracts with the majors and recorded no albums between 1995 and 2003 but since then she has issued four.
During this week, I was very pleasantly surprised to see this song and this video on Colin’s here. He wrote very succinctly about Joan.
“One of the greatest live performers ever. Have seen her three times.”
And who am I to argue with another lad from Dunfermline.
I love this song. I don’t know why.
I just noticed – Wikipedia – that
“Her first job was working at Rabone Chesterman (makers of fine engineering tools), in Hockley, Birmingham. She was sacked from this job because she insisted on bringing her guitar to work and playing during tea breaks.”
That must have been at a time that workers got tea breaks!
The Weakness in Me
The lyrics are so ….. I don’t know again …… wonderful, touching, perfect. Something like this.
Halfway through. Top up your coffee if you need to. Rewarm it if you’ve forgotten about it. I’ll give you a minute or so.
Right. Let’s get going again.
I didn’t like this on my first hearing but its beauty shines through, the feelings and emotions captured to perfection.
Apparently Joan has been a big influence on others. This extract from another online encyclopaedia has this.
Such artists as Tracy Chapman and Melissa Etheridge sold millions of recordings thanks to a stylistic blend that was rooted in folk music, with its emphasis on insightful lyrics, but also incorporated blues, jazz, rock, and dashes of various international styles. That stylistic blend was partly the creation of Joan Armatrading, an Afro-British songwriter and vocalist who was in many ways ahead of her time.
“I know I’ve been an incredible influence on many people and I’ve played a big part in all the stuff that happens now,” Armatrading told the Los Angeles Times. “…But it’s almost like people are in denial. If it’s something that has touched you and been a big influence, you should say so.”
In Your Eyes
The simplicity of this song belies the talent required to produce this work of beauty.
I am in love with this!
Every week I get a fright at this point: only two more and the show is over. Every week I could run and run but I realise that all of you have more in your lives than my little show and so I’ll let you go in another 7 minutes or so.
Call Me Names
This video is from the Secret Policeman’s Third Ball in 1987. One of the commenters left this,
“A real musician. Could you imagine many of today’s pop stars standing up on the stage with just a guitar and no back up singing a song. I think not!!”
Unfortunately I think he is right.
Do you see what my anonymous commenter was on about? Solo and absolutely brilliant!
Initially when I was thinking about featuring Joan I wasn’t sure that I’d get a show from her material far less really enjoy her music. ha! I was so wrong.
I wasn’t grabbed as Rod’s music did last week but her mastery of her craft is a joy to hear. I hope you enjoyed yourselves.
I finish up with a song for all times and not just “these times”. This was the only way to end this show.
In These Times
“In these times everyone needs love
In these times do you pray to God
In these times everyone needs comfort
And would welcome a hand to hold
Your passion is the fire
That burns the hurt
That pains the soul
And though my eyes are so polluted
By the sight of lost desires
Good to have you in these times”
Week 23 completed and with another show to prepare for I need to leave you now.
Well, that’s it for another week. I hope you enjoyed your coffee and the music. Tune in again next week and thanks for listening.