Into The Blues
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
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.
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
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
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.
Personally my favorite is the evocative "Secular Songs" which successfully lyrically walks the fine line of lambasting the changes in religion while reaffirming our ongoing need for spiritual growth ("They're singing secular songs in the churches/and there's not a word of God/It's all Schubert and Beethoven or lots of French love songs")
From the opening strains of the propulsive "A Woman In Love" to the closing notes of the explosive "Something's Gotta Blow" with its doubletracked vocal, "Into The Blues" is sheer brilliance, the fully mature display of an outstanding artist willing to tinker with the expected and take risks. Joan Armatrading finally lets loose and shows some emotion and the results are superior, all the more so for being so unexpected. This is a CD you'll be listening to for a long, long time.
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. From the gloomy balads (the bluesy Empty Highway) to solidly rocking pieces (Deep Down, held on one single chord; There Ain't a Girl Alive); from her inventive classical song-writing (A Woman In Love; Baby Blues Eyes) to the classical electric blues things (My Baby's Gone; Liza). You may notice traces of funky, reggae, boogie, also gospel (Secular Songs). Another point is the instrumentation - as always, first-class. We used to hear many well-known studio musicians with her in the past - now Joan performes everything on her own with the exception of drums. There are wondeful guitar solos (some even aggressively rocking - There Ain't a Girl Alive), if not to mention the numerous tiny blues miracles she produces on her guitar. On one of the tracks (Baby Blue Eyes), her guitar playing even reminds of old Velvet Underground. The bass lines are perfect as well. Even the mouth harp appears (simple, but powerful). No backing vocals - just perfect overdubbs of her own. And last but not least - the lyrics. Simply you trust her, the charming lady, so open without any pretending in love affairs (..when you sing the blues, I'll take off my clothes for you). Surprisigly, even autobiographic (Mama and Papa) and social themes from an immigrant milieu appear, a feature I was not used to with Joan. The closing, slowly gradating bluesy song (Something's Gotta Blow) with the socially oriented lyrics is really overwhelming. Amen. We've heard the trinity of words, singing and music of JA, a mature woman who has created an extremely mature piece of art.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Joan Armatrading is a class act who is in a league by herself.Read more
Set up an Amazon Giveaway
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Look for similar items by category
- CDs & Vinyl > Blues > Contemporary Blues
- CDs & Vinyl > Folk > Contemporary Folk
- CDs & Vinyl > Pop > Adult Alternative
- CDs & Vinyl > Pop > Adult Contemporary
- CDs & Vinyl > Pop > Singer-Songwriters
- CDs & Vinyl > Rock > Blues Rock
- CDs & Vinyl > Rock > Folk Rock
- CDs & Vinyl > World Music > Europe > British Isles > Britain