Richard Williams

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 182

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["Joan Armatrading"] is the most fascinating [album] I've heard so far in 1976….

[It is] a completely convincing marriage of form and content: an emotional depth wedded to pleasing musical substance in a way which, to me, indicate a pretty rare level of intelligence….

The first quality one perceives in "Joan Armatrading" … is certainty. Her writing, singing, and playing evince a surefootedness which borders on arrogance; at last, one feels, she knows she's good and doesn't mind showing it….

[The] musicianship and subtle production [of "Joan Armatrading"] are subordinate to the songs themselves, and out of ten she has come up with six that sound like classics to me.

"Love And Affection" begins thus: "I am not in love / But I'm open to persuasion," and continues, "with a friend I can smile / But with a lover I could hold my head back / I could really laugh …" Another, "Save Me," similarly articulates various shades of loneliness, its imagery ("Like blood in the rain … running thin") matched by a stunning ballad melody.

Richard Williams, "'Joan Armatrading'," in Melody Maker (© IPC Business Press Ltd.), August 14, 1976, p. 16.

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