Joan Armatrading - lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Brian Garfalo - bass
Quitman Dennis - lyricon
David Kemper - drums
Jerry Donahue - electric guitar
Red Young - keyboards
By the time this recording was made, Joan Armatrading had become one of the most talked about musical British imports. Critics raved about this outstanding, soft spoken Englishwoman, who had one of the most incredible voices in recent years. With her acoustic guitar, Armatrading had written a number of compelling folk-rock songs that could be both soft and gentle as well as powerful and vivacious - all in the same musical breath.
This show was taped at New York's famed Bottom Line club and is one of her earliest U.S. shows. Originally captured for the King Biscuit Flower Hour Radio Concert Series, the set features much of the material from her first two albums. Featuring an amazing band that included Brian Garfalo on bass, Quitman Dennis on keyboards and lyricon, drummer David Kemper, ex-Fairport Convention guitarist Jerry Donahue and Red Young on keyboards, Armatrading's performance gets off to a shaky start when she breaks a guitar string during the first song. Although she seems annoyed, Armatrading quickly moves past the mishap and never looks back.
Among the most memorable songs performed are "Down To Zero," "Water With the Wine," "Cool Blue Stole My Heart," "Steppin' Out," "Save Me," "Love And Affection," "People," "Back To The Night," "Tall In The Saddle" and the compelling "Help Yourself" (in which she sings, "You could really help me, if you could learn to help yourself.")
Armatrading enjoyed considerable success both in the U.S. and Europe for a number of years after this show was recorded for King Biscuit. Her popularity shrank to more of a cult audience in the 1990s, and has more or less stayed there up through today. With that said, she's still able to put on incredible shows and release great albums. But catch her here, in her prime, playing soulfully and expressively for an audience that's more than receptive.