INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Record Collector APRIL 2009 - by Kris Needs
MARIANNE FAITHFULL: EASY COME EASY GO - 18 SONGS FOR MUSIC LOVERS
Forty-five years in, twenty-second album, another career peak.
If Marianne Faithfull were a bloke, she'd be commanding similar reverence to modern rehabilitated icons such as Tom Waits or Nick Cave. Though one of music's most consummate talents, she still gets numbered as Stones' ex and ex-junkie, despite everything she's achieved from Broken English, the album which signalled her rebirth nearly thirty years ago to, most recently, 2005's riveting Before The Poison. As she says, "Women who've lived like I have are really, really put down as the lowest of the low, whereas men are not."
If anything's going to grant Faithfull the type of immortality she deserves, it's this bewitching double-set of astutely-picked reinterpretations produced by Hal Willner, repeating the exercise which worked so successfully on 1987's Strange Weather. The album was recorded live with a small orchestra at Sears Sound, Manhattan's oldest recording studio. ("This time I really wanted to do it analogue. You can hear wind and space in the thing.") Her burnished tones caress a panoramic variety of artists, including Billie Holiday, Traffic, Eno, Morrissey, Randy Newman, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Steven Sondheim, Judee Sill and The Decemberists, while the music veers between starkly intimate to widescreen Bad Seeds-style blitz (with Warren Ellis guesting on scathing electric violin).
Apart from stellar musicians, such as guitarist Marc Ribot and a sublimely atmospheric brass band, non-grandstanding guests include Anthony Hegarty (for an epic duet on Smokey Robinson's Ooh Baby Baby), Nick Cave, Rufus Wainwright, Jarvis Cocker, Sean Lennon and original mucker Keith Richards on a heartfelt version of Merle Haggard's Sing Me Back Home. Marianne Faithfull swiftly mastered the art of reinterpretation after Jagger-Richards gave her As Tears Go By forty-five years ago, but this time she really has excelled herself.