Joan Armatrading “Steppin’ Out” Live Grugahalle in Essen

JoanJoan Armatrading had the potential to become as big a superstar as Fleetwood Mac and former A & M label-mate Peter Frampton – her relentless touring and thick catalog of fantastic music made her the odds-on favorite to break out of the pack and delight Top 40 fans with hit after hit. Alas, it never happened, though her 1983 best-Cars-song-that-the-Cars-never-wrote, “Drop The Pilot”, should have catapulted her to fame and fortune. It was #11 in Britain, #78 in the states, and the artist flirted with commercial fame throughout the decade before and decades after.This slice of live music from the Rockpalast collection features “Me, Myself and I”, a #21 hit in England, her 1980 single – “Rosie” – and 13 other songs. Armatrading is terrific in this outing and the production values are flawless, something we’ve come to expect from both Eagle Vision and the tremendous tapes that flow from the Rockpalast collection. “Love and Affection” and “When You Kisses Me” are here in all their glory but keep in mind this is material from on or before 1980, her “Richard Gottehrer” phase (he of the Angels “My Boyfriend’s Back” fame as well as his production work with Blondie).

There’s no rendition of “My Boyfriend’s Back” here (though that would have been a tremendous treat), however you do get a glimpse of a serious artist who is in command and beautifully photagraphed and recorded here for the ages. An interview is also included in the package.