Joan Armatrading: Me Myself I

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ImageThough Joan Armatrading has already sold nearly six million records worldwide, she remains relatively unknown in America. I’m not sure why, but I am pretty sure that the obscurity can’t last much longer. Armatrading’s 1979 EP (How Cruel) evidenced versatility, accessibility and a truly original talent; and the new album underscores those assets. You’ll find numerous examples of Armatrading’s first-rate, jazz-influenced balladeering here, and also such fine surprises as the hard-rocking “Ma-Me-O-Beach” and title cut and the reggae-spiced “Simon.” The production by Richard Gottehrer (Blondie, Robert Gordon) is faultless, as is the backup by such luminaries as Chris Spedding and Springsteen saxophonist Clarence Clemons.

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