CD 20th Century Blues [Marianne Faithfull] (CD 1032577),
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20th Century Blues [Marianne Faithfull]
1. Alabama Song
2. Want to Buy Some Illusions
3. Pirate Jenny
4. Salomon Song
5. Boulevard of Broken Dreams
6. Complainte de la Seine
7. Ballad of the Soldier's Wife, The
9. Mon Ami, My Friend
10. Falling in Love Again
11. Mack the Knife
12. 20th Century Blues
13. Don't Forget Me
14. Surabaya Johnny
15. Street Singer's Farewell
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 38656
Personnel: Marianne Faithfull (vocals); Paul Trueblood (piano); Chuchow (acoustic bass).
Recorded live at The New Morning, Paris, France.
As the liner notes to this intriguing release tell, Faithfull had a long-simmering interest in German cabaret, particularly the work of Kurt Weill. It came fully to life via her role as Pirate Jenny in a staging of The Threepenny Opera in Dublin as translated by Frank McGuinness and her attendance at a workshop organized by Allen Ginsburg. After a series of initial performances with pianist Paul Trueblood, Faithfull took her revue of many classic songs from the mid-century, titled "An Evening in the Weimar Republic," to the road. This particular recording is from a performance in Paris in 1996, showcasing both a smart selection of songs to work with and Faithfull's own dramatic, interpretive skills with them. Kicking off with the aggressive-then-smooth bite of the Brecht/Weill standard "Alabama Song," Faithfull and Trueblood show they make a great team -- her distinct vocals seem almost born for the material, while Trueblood is a sure hand on the keys, both playful and polished. Weill remains the centerpiece of the show, in both his various collaborations with Brecht -- standout tracks include withering versions of "Pirate Jenny," "Salomon Song," and "Surabaya Johnny" -- and with other partners, including "Complainte de la Seine" and "Mon Ami, My Friend." Friedrich Hollaender gets the nod twice, with a take on the eternal classic "Falling in Love Again" almost rivaling Marlene Dietrich's original interpretation. The title track, a noted Noel Coward number, gets a fine performance, as does the one nod to more contemporary times, a rendition of Harry Nilsson's "Don't Forget Me." One nod to Faithfull's previous recording past appears via a new version of "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," originally covered by her on Strange Weather. Faithfull throughout introduces songs with humor and reflection, a perfect MC for her own performance. ~ Ned Raggett
Rolling Stone (2/6/97, pp.48-49) - 3.5 Stars (out of 5) - "...while evoking cabaret-era Berlin, Faithfull transcends that age, tapping straight into the soulfulness of the repertoire....Faithfull turns each song into its own dramatic world, delivered with a savvy wink but never an affected distance..."
Entertainment Weekly (2/7/97, p.69) - "...Accompanied by pianist Paul Trueblood, this live recording may be the first big comeback ablum of the year." - Rating: A
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RCA Victor 74321386562
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