Thursday, August 12, 2010

Coming Soon to the Moore!

Joan's been around forever. She's released something like 19 albums and worked in a variety of styles. Why doesn't she have the following that most veteran performers garner? Well, it might be that she's not that great. I remember that back in the eighties, there was a big push for the album The Key and its single, "Drop the Pilot." It was on the radio for weeks. What struck me was that even back then, Armatrading had something of a reputation as a singer-songwriter of distinction and every tune I heard from that album was completely ordinary. In addition, her harmonic vocabulary never seemed to stray from the regular I-IV-V progression that rules all of pop music. So even though there were constant claims and assertions that Joan was an eclectic performer, what I was hearing was merely mainstream pop music. I haven't heard all 19 albums, so maybe I'm missing something, but for Pete's sake, she's been in the music biz as long as Elton John, and he still fills huge venues. Joan does not. Maybe the indifference is justified.

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