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Joan Armatrading (album)

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Joan Armatrading
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 1976
StudioOlympic (London)
ProducerGlyn Johns
Joan Armatrading chronology
Back to the Night
Joan Armatrading
Show Some Emotion

Joan Armatrading is the third studio album by British singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading, released in 1976 by A&M Records. It was her first album to be recorded entirely in London, as her first two albums – Whatever's for Us and Back to the Night being partially recorded in France and Wales respectively in addition to London.

Released in 1976, the album peaked at number 12 on the UK Albums Chart and was certified Gold by the British Phonographic Industry.[1][2] It also included one of Armatrading's best-selling singles, "Love and Affection".

Armatrading's 1979 live album Steppin' Out contained two songs from this album, "Love and Affection" and "Tall in the Saddle". She is pictured on the cover of the album playing an Ovation Guitar.

The album's producer, Glyn Johns, later said it was the best album he had ever been associated with.[3]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Christgau's Record GuideB[5]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[8]

Reviewing for Sounds, Phil Sutcliffe gave the album 5 out of 5, describing it as a "continuation of Back To The Night, [...] maintaining the musical standards of lightness, flexibility and clarity and in several songs stepping into a new dimension of expressiveness with her lyrics." "Unrecognised as she is we need Joan Armatrading like we need Bob Dylan and the Beatles. You'll play this record once in a while forever."[9]

David Hepworth for New Musical Express wrote that Armatrading "no longer has to prove anything to anybody for she defines her own terms; the poetry of this album is not the flat print of the lyric sheet but lies rather in the animate pulse of pure music where voice, words, tune and instruments are utterly inseparable." and that she "has quite possibly come up with the richest work of this renaissance [of putting the heart back into music] so far, and if there's another album as good as this in the remainder of the year we'll be very lucky indeed. Invest. Immediately."[10]

Reviewing for Melody Maker, Richard Williams wrote that her "writing, singing, and playing evince a sure-footedness which borders on arrogance" and "much of this must be due to the influence of her new producer, Glyn Johns, whose finest hour this is. Teaming her with musicians of spirit and taste, he uses textural effects (strings, added guitars, voices) with economy yet with unerring rightness: each added component strengthens the song without overcrowding the singer or the song."[11]

When reviewed in Billboard magazine, the album was described as "thoroughly diverse and immensely enjoyable", delivering "the kind of lyrically touching and introspective ballads that have characterized Janis Ian's work."[12]

Writing at the time in The Guardian, Robin Denselow wrote that the album "showed that we now have a black artist in Britain with the same sort of vocal range, originality (in fact even greater originality in terms of musical influences) and lyrical sensitivity" as Joni Mitchell.[13]

In a retrospective review for AllMusic, Dave Connolly calls it Armatrading's "most muscular music to date" and particularly praises "Down to Zero" and "Love and Affection". He also commends Glyn Johns' production. He says that the album "almost single-handedly [elevated Armatrading] into the ranks of rock's leading female artists."[4]

The album was included in Robert Dimery's edited book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[14]

Track listing


All tracks are written by Joan Armatrading

Side one
1."Down to Zero"3:51
2."Help Yourself"4:04
3."Water with the Wine"2:48
4."Love and Affection"4:28
5."Save Me"3:35
Side two
1."Join the Boys"4:48
3."Somebody Who Loves You"3:33
4."Like Fire"5:12
5."Tall in the Saddle"5:43





  • Fabio Nicoli – art direction
  • Nick Marshall – design
  • Clive Arrowsmith – photography




Region Certification Certified units/sales
New Zealand (RMNZ)[22] Platinum 15,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[2] Gold 100,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ a b "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  2. ^ a b "British album certifications – Joan Armatrading – Joan Armatrading". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  3. ^ Futrell, et al, p. 120
  4. ^ a b c Connolly, Dave. "Joan Armatrading – Joan Armatrading". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  5. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Joan Armatrading: Joan Armatrading". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor and Fields. p. 30. ISBN 0-89919-026-X. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  6. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). "Armatrading, Joan". The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  7. ^ Pelly, Jenn (2 May 2021). "Joan Armatrading: Joan Armatrading". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  8. ^ Coleman, Mark (1992). "Joan Armatrading". In DeCurtis, Anthony; Henke, James; George-Warren, Holly (eds.). The Rolling Stone Album Guide (3rd ed.). Random House. p. 19. ISBN 0-679-73729-4.
  9. ^ a b Sutcliffe, Phil (31 July 1976). "Joan Armatrading: Joan Armatrading (A&M)". Sounds. Retrieved 3 March 2021 – via Rock's Backpages.
  10. ^ Hepworth, David (7 August 1976). "Joan Armatrading: Joan Armatrading (A&M)". New Musical Express. Retrieved 3 March 2021 – via Rock's Backpages.
  11. ^ Williams, Richard (14 August 1976). "Joan Armatrading: Joan Armatrading (A&M)". Melody Maker. Retrieved 3 March 2021 – via Rock's Backpages.
  12. ^ "Joan Armatrading" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 88, no. 32. 7 August 1976. p. 68. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  13. ^ Denselow, Robin (14 December 1976). "Rock around 1976". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  14. ^ Dimery, Robert, ed. (2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (revised and updated ed.). Universe Publishing. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5.
  15. ^ Millward, Stephen (1 December 2012). Changing Times: Music and Politics In 1964. Troubador Publishing Ltd. p. 274. ISBN 9781780883441. Retrieved 18 May 2021 – via Google Books.
  16. ^ Anthony, Andrew (4 September 2011). "Dominic West and Clarke Peters: 'We love each other's company'". The Observer. Retrieved 6 November 2011.
  17. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). Australian Chart Book. p. 19. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  18. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 5255b". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  19. ^ "Charts.nz – Joan Armatrading – Joan Armatrading". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  20. ^ "Joan Armatrading Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  21. ^ "Top Selling Albums of 1977 — The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Recorded Music New Zealand. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  22. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – Joan Armatrading – Joan Armatrading". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 2 May 2021.


  • Futrell, Jon; Gill, Chris; St. Pierre, Roger; Richardson, Clive; Fisher, Bob; Sheehy, Bill and Wesker, Lindsay (1982) The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Black Music. Salamander Books, London. ISBN 0-86101-145-7