Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1093

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P.P. Arnold: Islington Town Hall, London 11/10/19

P.P. Arnold: Islington Town Hall, London 11/10/19 @bluesandsoul.com
P.P. Arnold: Islington Town Hall, London 11/10/19 @bluesandsoul.com P.P. Arnold: Islington Town Hall, London 11/10/19 @bluesandsoul.com P.P. Arnold: Islington Town Hall, London 11/10/19 @bluesandsoul.com

When "The New Adventures of PP Arnold" was released earlier this year, it was the latest chapter in an extraordinary musical tale. As a young singer in LA, Arnold was picked to join Ike and Tina Turner on tour, a decision which changed her life forever.

It was in London that she found her home, and she caught the eye of - among others - Mick Jagger, who signed her up as a young solo artist. She recorded three solo albums in the late 60s and early 70s, but it would take the best part of five decades before the next one came out.

In between came stints working with heavyweights including Eric Clapton, Jagger and the Small Faces, as well as a starring role in musical "Starlight Express".

The new record showcases perfectly why she's become known as "London's First Lady of Soul", and there was a high sense of expectation ahead of the 73-year-old's gig in the city.

She sounds incredibly youthful on the album, and this is no different onstage. Naturally charismatic, she is very chatty throughout her set, describing past romances and collaborators, and giving props to Steve Cradock, of Ocean Colour Scene, who was onstage throughout.

"Though It Hurts Me Badly" got the set underway and was delivered with soul and panache. "Baby Blue", also from the latest album, showcased an artist still at the height of her powers, while "Hold On To Your Dreams" had the raw emotion and grit which sets Arnold apart.

Backed by an incredibly tight group of musicians and backing singers, a cover of "Eleanor Rigby" injected soul into the Lennon-McCartney favourite. And just in case anyone forgot how integral her music was to London's music scene during the height of the classic soul era, "Angel of the Morning" sounded stunning as she brought the set to a close.

Unsurprisingly the audience clamoured for an encore, and it was the outstanding "First Cut Is The Deepest" which sent the crowd home happy.

Arnold is a major figure in soul music's past, a huge voice in the present, and the future's looking bright too.

PHOTOS: DAVE BURKE
Words Dave Burke

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