Saturday, 15 April 2017

"Show Some Emotion" by JOAN ARMATRADING (1997 A&M 'ReMasterPieces' CD – Roger Wake Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...Shelter In A Storm..." 

After the artistic and commercial high of her 3rd studio platter "Joan Armatrading" in the autumn of 1976 – an album resplendent with the magnificent showstopper single "Love And Affection" amidst its classy ranks – the 1977 follow-up "Show Some Emotion" was generally considered to be somewhat of a disappointment.

I'd argue "Show Some Emotion" is an overlooked wee beauty. And in 2017 – Joan Armatrading's fourth studio album is coming up fast on a 40th anniversary – so as the good lady would say "...once more with feeling..." Here are the CD Remaster details

UK released September 1997 – "Show Some Emotion" by JOAN ARMATRADING on A&M CDMID 105 (Barcode 082839466325) is a straightforward mid-price CD transfer of the 10-track 1977 album on the label's 'A&M ReMasterPieces' Series and plays out as follows (37:35 minutes):

1. Woncha Come On Home [Side 1]
2. Show Some Emotion
3. Warm Love
4. Never Is Too Late
5. Peace In Mind
6. Opportunity [Side 2]
7. Mama Mercy
8. Get In The Sun
9. Willow
10. KIssin' And A Huggin'
Tracks 1 to 10 are her fourth studio album "Show Some Emotion" – released September 1977 in the UK on A&M Records AMLH 68433 and October 1977 in the USA on A&M SP-4663. Produced by GLYN JOHNS - the album peaked at No. 12 on the UK album charts and No. 52 in the USA.

JOAN ARMATRADING – 6 and 12-string Acoustic Guitars, Thumb Piano and Lead Vocals
JERRY DONAHUE – Lead Electric or Acoustic Guitar on all tracks except "Woncha Come On Home" where all instruments are by JA
GEORGIE FAME – Fender Rhodes Electric Piano on Tracks 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 9
JOHN 'RABBIT' BUNDRICK – Organ on Tracks 2, 4, 7 and 8
TIM HINKLEY – Organ on Track 5 and Piano on Track 10
MEL COLLINS – Saxophone on Tracks 7 and 10
BRYAN GAROFALO – Bass on Tracks 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 10
DAVE MARKEE – Bass on Tracks 3 and 6
DAVID KEMPER - Drums on Tracks 2, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9
KENNEY JONES – Drums on Track 6
HENRY SPINETTI – Drums on Tracks 3 and 10
PETE CLARKE and JOE SCOTT – Backing Vocals on Tracks 6 and 8
BRIAN ROGERS – Strings Arranged and Conducted on “Willow”

The CD Remaster was carried out by ROGER WAKE at Bourberry & Wake and is very clean – even beautiful in places. Unfortunately the inlay is a gatefold slip of paper with musician credits only and bugger all else - a damn shame really.

Following on from her debut LP "Whatever's For Us" on Cube Records HIFLY 12 in November 1972 and her 2nd effort "Back To The Night" on A&M Records AMLH 68305 in April 1975 – "Joan Armatrading" didn't so much launch JA but explode the West Indies lady (by way of Birmingham in the UK) onto a world stage. The self-titled LP was everywhere by Christmas 1976 and being praised as one of 'the albums of the year' by admirers in the music press on both sides of the pond and everywhere else for that matter. The pressure was on to produce an equal. And in 1977 tracks like "Show Some Emotion", "Willow", "Kissin' And A Huggin'" and "Warm Love" absolutely delivered on the emotional and musical sucker-punches – but despite its No. 6 chart position in the UK (six notches better than her more famous predecessor) many felt the rest of the record somehow lacked. I'd disagree.

Another gorgeous production from Glyn Johns sees those acoustic guitars up front while high calibre guests like Jerry Donahue of Fairport Convention, Rhodes Piano R&B star Georgie Fame, John ‘Rabbit’ Bundrick who’d done a stint with Free, Kenney Jones of The Small Faces, The Faces and The Who, Saxophonist Mel Collins of King Crimson, Tim Hinkley of The Bo Street Runners, Jody Grind and Snafu and Dave Markee of Centipede – all contribute immensely to the overall classy feel.

The opener "Woncha Come on Home" is gorgeous – just Joan on Acoustic Guitar and a plinking Thumb Piano singing almost Acapella on a song where she’s scared at night and pining for her beau. "Show Some Emotion" is the first tune to show the full playing range of her band – all Jazz-Funky but in a Rock way. The Bassist Bryan Garofalo who gives the track such a great groove later sessioned on Joe Walsh's "So What" and did stints for John Stewart, Kim Carnes and Glenn Frey. But the first true moment of greatness on the album arrives with the beautiful "Warm Love" which A&M lifted as a 45 in March 1978 (AMS 7346) with "Get In The Sun" from Side 2 as its flipside. It seems amazing even now that such a genuinely pretty love song with obvious heart in its very DNA did no business on either side of the pond.

Thinks Funk-Up with "Never Is Too Late" – Jerry Donahue on Electric Guitar with Ja on Acoustic – both chugging away at the neck-jerking rhythm. She switches to Acoustic Piano for the mellow "Peace In Mind" – a song about plans people pursue that don’t work out. JA then takes an impressive Lead Acoustic on "Opportunity" – bending those strings as Jerry sneaks around in the background on a Slide Electric – sinister and cool - while Pete Clarke speaks in a deep dark voice about worldwide adventures and opportunities to make money out of other people's misery. Over on Side 2 things get Jazz-Funky as the band swing and sway on "Get In The Sun" – Joan working some clever vocals phrases in the upper register. The final two - the stunning mellow declaration of love in "Willow" and the sexy took-my-baby-walking of "Kissin' And A Huggin'" - are amongst the best tracks on the album and regularly appear on 'Best Of' and 'Anthology' CD compilations.

If you want more of her great material – the "Gold" 2CD set from Universal has beautiful 2005 remasters from Erick Labson – an Audio Engineer who has over 1000 mastering credits to his name including huge swathes of the Universal catalogue. In the meantime invest in this 'whole' album that's gotten lost over the years.

"...Come running to me when things get out of hand...running to me when it's more than you can stand...I'm be a shelter in a storm...your willow..."

Ain't that just beautiful...

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