12 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

By the early ‘70s, Marianne Faithfull was viewed as a casualty of the previous decade. Her song “Sister Morphine” was both a warning against drugs and an admission of guilt. The woman who recorded these singer-songwriter odes was a woman badly scarred and one clearly searching for her voice. She would find a tough survivor’s edge by 1979’s Broken English, but here she settles into the haunting mysteries of Bob Dylan (“It Takes A Lot to Laugh It Takes a Train To Cry,” “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue,” “Visions of Johanna”), the eerie organ-led vibe of Cat Stevens’ “Sad Lisa” and the disillusion that shadows Sandy Denny’s “Crazy Lady Blues,” Tim Hardin’s “Southern Butterfly” and Phil Ochs’ “Chords of Fame.” It doesn’t seem a coincidence that Denny, Hardin and Ochs would all be dead by the end of 1980. Faithfull has always been drawn to the dark side and these performances sport more than their share of harrowing moments. The death march of “Long Black Veil” is only too well suited to Faithfull’s perpetual gloom.

EDITORS’ NOTES

By the early ‘70s, Marianne Faithfull was viewed as a casualty of the previous decade. Her song “Sister Morphine” was both a warning against drugs and an admission of guilt. The woman who recorded these singer-songwriter odes was a woman badly scarred and one clearly searching for her voice. She would find a tough survivor’s edge by 1979’s Broken English, but here she settles into the haunting mysteries of Bob Dylan (“It Takes A Lot to Laugh It Takes a Train To Cry,” “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue,” “Visions of Johanna”), the eerie organ-led vibe of Cat Stevens’ “Sad Lisa” and the disillusion that shadows Sandy Denny’s “Crazy Lady Blues,” Tim Hardin’s “Southern Butterfly” and Phil Ochs’ “Chords of Fame.” It doesn’t seem a coincidence that Denny, Hardin and Ochs would all be dead by the end of 1980. Faithfull has always been drawn to the dark side and these performances sport more than their share of harrowing moments. The death march of “Long Black Veil” is only too well suited to Faithfull’s perpetual gloom.

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