SP-4876 Walk Under Ladders
Produced by Steve Lillywhite
Released on September 1981
UK CHART POSITION #6 . . . US CHART POSITION #88
Find it at GEMM
SP-4876 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

W hile her last album caught my ear with “My Myself I,” Walk Under Ladders caught my eye with the video for “When I Get It Right.” It was instantly catchy, somehow different than the other music I was listening to, and the album proved to be the perfect introduction into the musical world of Joan Armatrading. Produced by Steve Lillywhite and featuring such alternative rock icons as Tony Levin, Thomas Dolby, Mel Collins, Andy Partridge and Gary Sanford, Walk Under Ladders was fresh rock with a feminine face. At times recalling the work of XTC (whom Lillywhite had produced), it pushed Ms. A even further to the left of the dial. Prominently featuring the synthesizer work of a young Zen master Mr. Dolby, Walk Under Ladders availed itself of the cutting edge without losing a trace of her earlier warmth. In fact, songs like “Romancers” and “The Weakness In Me” are some of her warmest entries to date. There are agitated exceptions of course (“At The Hop,” “Eating The Bear”), but they only make the romantic elements of Ladders more marvelous to behold. On any given day, I’m liable to believe that every track on here belongs with her best work: the reggaefied “I Can’t Lie To Myself,” the charming “I’m Lucky” or the otherworldly “Only One.” True, Joan started on this path with her last record, and the similarities to Ladders and Blondie remain, but it’s more than that. The album is inspired from beginning to end, donning different outfits and striking the perfect pose every time. If XTC’s Black Sea seemed as deep as an ocean, you’ll find as many discoveries awaiting you here. More important, Walk Under Ladders added a new icon, and a female one at that, to the alternative rock church.

SP-4876 back cover SP-4876 lyric sleeve
SP-4876 back cover SP-4876 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. I'M LUCKY    3:04
  2. WHEN I GET IT RIGHT    3:02
  3. ROMANCERS    3:49
  4. I WANNA HOLD YOU    3:47
  5. THE WEAKNESS IN ME    3:32
  6. NO LOVE    4:00
  7. AT THE HOP    3:26
  8. I CAN'T LIE TO MYSELF    3:23
  9. EATING THE BEAR    2:59
  10. ONLY ONE    4:13

    All songs written by Joan Armatrading

CREDITS

JOAN ARMATRADING -- vocals, acoustic guitar, electric piano
HUGH BURNS -- guitar, acoustic 12 string
RAY COOPER -- percussion, tambourine, talking drum
THOMAS DOLBY -- synthesizer
TONY LEVIN -- bass, stick
JERRY MAROTTA -- drums, harmony
NICK PLYTAS -- organ, piano, keyboards
Mel Collins -- horns, saxophone
Dick Cuthell -- horns
Julian Diggle -- percussion (7)
Drew -- backing vocals
Sly Dunbar -- drums (8)
Kirby -- guitar
Steve Lillywhite -- backing vocals
Andy Partridge -- acoustic 6 string, guitars
Clark Peters -- the bear (9)
Rico Rodriguez -- horns
Gary Sanford -- guitar, backing vocals
Robbie Shakespeare -- bass (8)
Steve Brown -- engineer
Michael Ross -- art direction, design
Simon Ryan -- design
Tony McGee -- front cover & inner sleeve photography
Graham Hughes -- back cover & inner sleeve portrait
Gregor Schumi -- hair

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK/NET September 1981 A&M LP AMLH 64876 lyric sleeve
US/CAN September 1981 A&M LP SP-4876 lyric sleeve
AUS'L 1981 A&M LP RML 53007  
NZ 1981 A&M LP L37561  
US   A&M CD 3317  

 

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