Album review

Joan Armatrading 

Walk Under Ladders (Reissue)

added: 15 Jul 2014 // release date: 2 Jun 2014 // label: Repressed
reviewer: David Spencer

Joan Armatrading - Walk Under Ladders (Reissue) - Printable version
Joan Armatrading's chart peak both in the UK and the US came in the late seventies and early eighties, and this album is perhaps one of her weaker releases from that time. 1981's Walk Under Ladders suffers from the dated production and also the lack of a killer tune.

The lead single I'm Lucky still has a slightly haunting feel, despite its apparent positive message but much of the rest feels like filler. This was her sixth album in half a decade and it smacks of trying to make the most of her commercial success at the time. The likes of Romancers, At The Hop and the strange Eating The Bear suffer most from the passing of time, with the ballads as ever standing up better.

Once Armatrading had a hit with Love And Affection, record bosses - and perhaps many of her new fans - will have pushed her to repeat it. Here there is one obvious nod to her classic hit, the tender No Love, with its booming saxophone. However, Walk Under Ladders does probably feature her best song. The Weakness Is Me's sublime tale of someone torn between two lovers would surely induce tears from even the hardest of hearts. The album is worth owning for that song alone.

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3 stars

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