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JOAN ARMATRADING This Charming Life Hypertension (2010)

Joan Armatrading

Joan Anita Barbara Armatrading, MBE has been gracing our record collections for four decades. And she steps in sprightly into the 5th with her latest offering This Charming Life.

By my reckoning it's her 17th studio album, and representing a return to the rock/pop format of the most prolific and successful period of her career between 1976 (Love And Affection) and 1983 (Drop The Pilot), the lady is clearly not resting on her laurels. And while she's perhaps never hit the absolute top of the career ladder, a spin off has been that she's always been accessible and as a result maintained a devoted audience and fanbase.

A thirty five date UK theatre tour will be undertaken to promote the new album including ‘regular' visits to prestigious gigs such as the Royal Albert Hall, the Liverpool Philharmonic and Buxton Opera House.

So, what of This Charming Life? Well, it ticks all the boxes that will satisfy fans - quality songs, great vocals and an excellent production. It's unmistakeably ‘classic' Joan Armatrading from the first to last note, but the main positive is the strength of the songwriting.

While she's always struggled to come up with a ‘classic' album, the quality control here remains uniformly high and just about any of the songs would stand comfortably shoulder to shoulder with the best in her catalogue. Which means, This Charming Life and the promoting tour should not be missed.


Review by Pete Whalley

GRTR! Recommended

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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