…Out Of Love, Hope And Suffering
Last year, the Alameda-based Bay label recorded Armstrong accompanied by a number of her California friends, in what is probably her best overall album yet, “••• Out of Love, Hope and Suffering” (Bay 206), The material is strong, representing her wide range of interests: the packaging is attractive and intelligent… and the performances are typically excellent.
The range of songs is wide, from Child ballads through contemporary works. like John Pole’s “Anti-Carol” (a bitter social commentary that should be, though likely won’t become, a Christmas standard)
This is an exceptional record. Without labouring the point, it features material showing the woman’s standpoint—be it in the humorous way of Peggy Seeger’s “Too Much of a Good Thing”, a stirring ballad like “Prince Heathen” or the pointed and direct moral of Brian Pearson’s “Bridget and The Pill”… One of the most telling songs, though, is Frankie’s own “Doors to my Mind”, based on her own experience, through her social work, of the potential disasters in the oppression of women. It’s almost worth the trip to America to buy it.