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Into The Blues

4.3 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 26, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Into the Blues is the album that Joan Armatrading was always meant to write. Immediately you can tell how much she enjoys playing the blues as her guitar belts out these 13 hits.

Amazon.com

On the surface, yes, this is a blues album; mostly, though, it's a Joan Armatrading album--which means she'll follow blues forms and conceits wherever she damn well pleases. On "Liza," she takes the "Mannish Boy" groove across the tracks for a pick-up on the wrong side of town; on "There Ain't a Girl Alive (Who Likes to Look in the Mirror Like You Do)," she dresses down a rival; on "Play the Blues," she simply undresses herself to a juicy, contemporary soul groove; and on "Mama Papa," the album's finest and funkiest moment, she recalls her youth on the island of St. Kitts in lines that flash with truth: "Seven people in one room/No heat/One wage/And bills to pay." It's also a guitar album: her blues chops, especially on the sprawling closer "Something's Gotta Blow," would give Robert Cray a serious run. Fiery as her playing can be, her blues riffs are mostly economical, concise, with evocative spaces between the notes. The same can't be said for the overall production values. Armatrading is still enamored with slick gimmicks: doubling and tripling her vocals and adding layers of echo on top of that, and synth pads and distortion that feel more bombastic than bright. Into the Blues is far from a return to form, but it still sends a tough, funky message. --Roy Kasten
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 26, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: 429 Records
  • ASIN: B000NVHWMU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,946 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tankery VINE VOICE on May 6, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Since I saw this tiny young woman with this incredibly rich voice on a stage in Illinois somewhere in the early 80s, I have followed Joan with every album.

This is by and large one of her best albums ever. It's bluesy, yes, but it also showcases her incredible voice even on the non-blues songs and such songs as Baby Blue Eyes and There Aint a Girl alive are good examples.

The music has never been more varied and interesting. DNA is a masterpiece of rock and roll and of course the numerous traditional hard blues songs ala Buddy Guy show just how talented Ms. Armatrading is.

This album should not be missed by one of Rock's most underated and influencial artists.
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Format: Audio CD
For decades Joan Armatrading has been adored as an articulate troubador singing about matters of the heart, a singer-songwriter who was too soulful to pigeon-hole as a folksinger but whose superbly dispassionate delivery only highlighted the passion of her subject matter.

If that's what you're looking for, you will not find it here. Joan has plugged in and recreated standard blues, getting downright giddy in this "woe is me" art form. For example, on the title tune "Into The Blues," with its haunting keyboards, Joan sings "the blues are here to make you glad you took a different path." On "Play The Blues" she sings "Baby when you sing the blues I take all my clothes off for you" and on the celebratory "Deep Down" the standard blues is boiled down to one sentence "I love you baby - deep down." No doom and gloom here.

The purest blues song thematically on the CD is probably "Empty Highway" with its "I stand outside in my underwear and watch the gentle rain fall down" refrain. The variety of the blues here is wide, from the poppy, acoustic "Baby Blues Eyes" with its anti-depressive lyric "those little imperfections are what I love about you/baby blue eyes and the smile of an angel" to the sothern fried reminiscence of "Mama Papa" which brings early Tina Turner to mind, to the uptempo blues shuffle of "D.N.A." and the straight up rocking blues of "There Ain't A Girl Alive" which is a screed about a vain woman that just cries out to be covered by The Rolling Stones.
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I fell in love with Joan in the mid-70's after hearing her Back To the Night album (vinyl issued 1975; so sad it is currently unavailable on CD) and her 3rd album called simply Joan Armatrading (1976). I was extremely charmed by her vocal (smooth & husky & strong & natural, capable of unbelievable finesses, which were, however, very functional and devoid of any signs of exhibitionism). She had an outstanding technique of tone forming which varied with every syllable she sang. The other point was she was a fantastic song-write of beautiful melodies, performed with great feeling, only occassionally bluesy. Her lyrics has been also delightful, sensitively marking the intimate spaces between two people. I came back to JA in the early 80's (Me, Myself, I album, 1980) and then again, I somewhat forgot about her (being principally a rock fan). Then it took me another 15 years to get astonished for the third time, by means of her fantastic comeback with the album What's Inside (1995). I thought this was to be her last masterpiece ... and I did not expect she might ever level this.

It is now her curent album that shook me again. It preserves all the above mentioned attributes of JA's art, but, in addition, it indeed extends them. (I cannot recall many in the showbiz world that would be artistically growing and maturing being aged 57 - the majority can at best level previous efforts, but never go beyond). Joan's vocal darkened a bit, maybe as a consequence of the repertoire she performs. Although more than one half of the new songs are principally bluesy things (as indicated by the title of the album), it is incredible how Joan's creativity made the whole album so variable in mood, tempo, instrumentations.
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Format: Audio CD
Yet another stellar effort by Joan Armatrading. She uses a blues based

approach to many of the songs and for the most part they are all winners.

Exceptional vocals and her guitar fills are smooth. The songwriting is

also what makes this one special, I was surprised

I just didn't think Joan was ever gonna take us on a ride like this.

Past her mid 50's she could just go on writing beautiful love songs and

mid tempo gems but she still had a winner in her. If this is her last

collection before she sets sail, this is a hell of a way to end a career

that has few peers. She is a delight to groove to on this set. Many favorites all through out this 5 star class act. Rock on Joan.
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Format: Audio CD
What a breathe of fresh air! Labeled as her first blues album, Joan Armatrading's, "Into the Blues" is a modern blues endeavor that further showcases how great Joan is at what she does. Sure it's different if one compares it to her previous albums, but "Into the Blues" is a noteworthy effort that introduces us to something newly familiar.

What I loved most about "Into the Blues" was how it reminded me of the album experience. Truthfully, I enjoy music more when each song takes me to another place, but still maintains a cohesive relationship with the other songs. I like thinking of an album as a book and all tracks as its chapters. Lately however, I have found myself cherry-picking my favorites because I have not seen enough of an album relationship worth exploring. However, this album is an album. Each songs flows from one to another very harmoniously.

The single, "Woman in Love" is a great pick with its a edginess and rock'in guitar rifts. Although, I have to say my two favorites are Secular Songs and Baby Blue Eyes.

Secular Songs is just a beautiful hymn that is the definition of the blues for me. Slightly grassrooted melodies with gospel choruses included, it quintessentially belongs in the New Orleans blues scene. At the same time, Baby Blue Eyes showcases Joan's effortless guitar playing. Simply Stellar...
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