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Joan Armatrading - Live at the Royal Albert Hall (Hypertension)

Star rating: 
3

The latest release from three times Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading comes as a handsomely packaged three disc set celebrating her appearance at the Royal Albert Hall in April 2010. The double CD with accompanying DVD showcases some of Armatrading's best known songs together with a handful of more recent material from her current studio album. Not her first live album by any means, having already released STEPPING OUT in 1979 and LIVE ALL THE WAY FROM AMERICA in 2004, but this new release is more than a worthy souvenir, especially for those who attended the concert in April, as it shows an established artist back in the game. All the hits are here including Show Some Emotion, Love and Affection, All the Way From America, Me Myself I, Call Me Names and Drop the Pilot, with an emphasis on material from her current album THIS CHARMING LIFE with the title song together with Love Love Love, Two Tears, Heading Back to New York City, Promises, Cry and the crowd pleaser Best Dress On, which has surprisingly inspired an enthusiastic fan competition, to find which town or city can repeat the chorus at the end of the song the most times. At the time of release, Denver topped the league table having sung the chorus twenty-one times. The DVD shows Joan dressed in a black trouser suit and sandals, headset microphone attached inconspicuously beneath a mop top of hair that would have given the Fabs a run for their money, brandishing a series of electric guitars and a whole car park full of pedals at her feet, as she flits seamlessly from rock and pop to blues and soul, each song being treated to some suitably jazzy arrangements courtesy of a stellar cast of musicians featuring Gary Foote on drums and sax, Spencer Cozens on keyboards and John Giblin on bass. As Jim Soars writes in the sleeve notes, these songs are indeed testament to the continued life and work of the UK's leading female singer, songwriter and guitarist. 

Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky