Originally released as LOVE AND AFFECTION: JOAN ARMATRADING CLASSICS 1975-1983 (2003).
Liner Note Author: Scott Schinder.
Photographers: David Alexander ; Neal Preston.
Born on the island of St. Kitts but raised in England, singer/songwriter/guitarist Joan Armatrading was a unique presence in the 1970s British music scene. While Armatrading's bold, nuanced singing nodded to her West Indies background, her potent, often-restless folk-rock incorporated elements of funk, jazz, and chamber-pop. The two-disc GOLD collection offers up an excellent sampler of Armatrading's albums from '75 (BACK TO THE NIGHT) to '83 (THE KEY), including the chiming, suite-like "Cool Blue Stole My Heart;" the funky, soulful "Show Some Emotion;" and the rocked-out, New Wave-flavored "Me Myself I." (In fact, almost every track from ME MYSELF I, helmed by Blondie producer Richard Gottehrer, is presented here.) A direct link between Joni Mitchell and Tracy Chapman, Armatrading is a fascinating, dynamic, and sorely underrated performer, who is well-served by this 43-track compilation. Since GOLD features songs from a number of out-of-print albums, it is as valuable to longtime Armatrading fans as it is to those looking to discover her music, especially since it trumps any prior anthology of her work.