Joan Armatrading “Joan Armatrading”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#328 in the Series) is the self-titled album from Joan Armatrading.

There are so many great Joan Armatrading albums in which to choose.  I almost went with Show Some Emotion, since I think that’s my favorite song from this British singer-songwriter.  I also could have gone with later works such as Me, Myself I or Walk Under Ladders, also great works.  In fact, I’m sure through time, we’ll get to them as well. Today however, it’s her self-titled third album, Joan Armatrading.

She did have two earlier releases but this was the first time she tasted success, sales-wise.  It was the first album that really let me hear her voice and songs as well. This is why I chose this album to feature.

This album did make me a fan, mainly on the backs of its two marvelous hit singles, “Down to Zero” and “Love and Affection.”

My fandom made an even larger leap after Show Some Emotion was released. Why, because in that era, Joan recorded an outstanding Soundstage special for PBS.  That was, of course, during the original run of the series.  It was an amazing show. I didn’t really expect to be as blown away by it as much as I was.  I didn’t even expect to watch it in its entirety. It was just so good that I couldn’t go back to the other five stations that our television received at that time!  I know some of those old Soundstage shows have made it to DVD. (I have a John Prine from 1980) I wish they’d release this one and also the series premier with Heartsfield from 1973. That was when the series was still called “Made in Chicago.”

Track listing

All tracks composed by Joan Armatrading

  1. “Down to Zero” – 3:51
  2. “Help Yourself” – 4:04
  3. “Water With the Wine” – 2:48
  4. “Love and Affection” – 4:28
  5. “Save Me” – 3:35
  6. “Join the Boys” – 4:48
  7. “People” – 3:30
  8. “Somebody Who Loves You” – 3:33
  9. “Like Fire” – 5:12
  10. “Tall in the Saddle” – 5:43


  • Joan Armatrading – vocals, guitar
  • Jerry Donahue – guitar
  • Bryn Haworth – guitar, mandolin
  • Jimmy Jewell – saxophone
  • Dave Markee – bass
  • Tony Carr – drums
  • B.J. Cole – steel guitar
  • Graham Lyle – guitar
  • Dave Mattacks – drums
  • Brian Rogers – strings
  • Peter Wood – organ, piano
  • Kenney Jones – drums
  • Leroy Champaign – background vocals


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Posted by Larry Carta

1 Comment

  1. Doug Cottrell (29 Mar 2011, 0:31)

    Excellent review and, yes, I’m a huge JA fan. You’re dead on with the comments about the PBS Soundstage shows. I’m a huge Prine fan as well so I would love to have have those wonderful musician showcases in my library.

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