INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Blurt MARCH 17, 2009 - by Jud Cost
MARIANNE FAITHFULL: EASY COME EASY GO
If any singer in the history of recorded music has pulled together such a diverse supporting cast of composers and collaborators and made it work, I'd like to know who it is. For her current album, Marianne Faithfull has cherrypicked material from the likes of: Dolly Parton, Duke Ellington, Brian Eno, Randy Newman, Smokey Robinson, Morrissey, Merle Haggard, Judee Sill and Colin Meloy of The Decemberists. It's an honour roll that practically defines eclecticism. Faithfull began her singing career more than forty years ago as a gorgeous girl with a nice voice, well suited for folk-rock. She's lived her entire adult life under public scrutiny: the celebrity boyfriends, the drug busts, the rehabs, the successes, the heartbreak.
Just when you thought she might be down for the count, her music pulled her back on her feet. Singing now as well as ever in a voice that commands authority, Faithfull has a knack for attracting some of the best young singers around. Antony Hegarty adds his uniquely soulful warble to Robinson & The Miracles' Ooh Baby Baby; Chan Marshall contributes simpatico backing vocals to a careening Hold On Hold On; a restrained Rufus Wainwright adds a chilling counter-melody to Children Of Stone; and Sean Lennon chips in tasty guitar and "Ooh, ooh" vocals to Sill's overlooked folk-rock gem The Phoenix. In a totally different vein, Faithfull loses herself in a lovely, five-clarinet soak in Ellington chestnut Solitude, sung originally by Ivie Anderson in 1940. Finally, Nick Cave puts dramatic vocal flourishes to Meloy's stirring The Crane Wife 3 before Faithfull walks the last mile down death row, escorted by guitar-toting pal Richards, on Haggard's Sing Me Back Home.
It's obvious by now, Marianne Faithfull is more than just a survivor. She appears today as nothing less than a musical giant, straddling four decades of startling songs of innocence and experience.