Marianne Faithfull: Horses And High Heels

The queen of troubled torch returns.

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Even the title of this new album hints at the decadent grandeur Marianne Faithfull has instilled in her music since the landmark Broken English heralded a career rebirth just over 30 years ago.

Now in her 65th year, she continues to relish her image as a sinister but bewitching cabaret madame, the croak of her voice cradling an extraordinary collection of songs.

Faithfull has a talent for trawling disaparate sources for material and making just about everything she touches her own; Dusty Springfield’s Goin’ Back becomes an almost funereal surrender, and she brings a touch of sleazy voodoo soul to Jackie Lomax’s No Reason. Most chilling is her melodramatic soliloquy on The Shangri-Las’ spoken-word masterpiece Past, Present And Future.

Of the four-self-written songs, Why Did We Have To Part? comes across as a macabre folk reel about the end of an affair, remorse and revenge battling for control.

Famous friends (Lou Reed, Wayne Kramer, Dr John) lend a hand here and there, but it’s Faithfull who is forever the mistress of ceremonies, a siren luring the listener towards unsettling emotional debris.

Terry Staunton was a senior editor at NME for ten years before joined the founding editorial team of Uncut. Now freelance, specialising in music, film and television, his work has appeared in Classic Rock, The Times, Vox, Jack, Record Collector, Creem, The Village Voice, Hot Press, Sour Mash, Get Rhythm, Uncut DVD, When Saturday Comes, DVD World, Radio Times and on the website Music365.