Always compelling, singer-actress Marianne Faithfull was once Mick Jagger’s girlfriend and a darling of England’s swinging ’60s scene. A gorgeous girl of noble ancestry (her mother was an Austrian baroness with roots in the Habsburg Dynasty), she scored her first pop hit at 18, singing Mick’s and Keith Richards’ “As Tears Go By.” But her decline came as rapidly as her rise. Throughout the ’70s, her career plummeted and her life was beset by heartache, drug abuse and suicide attempts.
Marianne launched her comeback with a series of strong, startling confessional albums, including Broken English, Dangerous Acquaintances, Strange Weather and Blazing Away. The latter two were produced by Hal Wilner, best known for producing acclaimed tribute albums to Kurt Weill and Leonard Cohen, among others. Now Marianne and Hal have teamed up again with Easy Come Easy Go, a superb collection of new and timeless songs by other artists and featuring guest appearances by many of Marianne’s musical admirers.
The album kicks off with Marianne’s rendition of “Down from Dover,” Dolly Parton’s moving tale of teenage pregnancy. She’s then joined by singer Cat Power on a windswept Neko Case song and delivers a stirring version of Billie Holiday’s heartbroken gem “Solitude.” Other guests include Nick Cave, Rufus Wainwright and Antony Hegarty, of Antony & the Johnsons, who joins her on Smokey Robinson’s classic “Ooh Baby Baby,” But the album’s highlight is Marianne and Keith Richards performing Merle Haggard’s “Sing Me Back Home.” Two ’60s veterans singing a survival song: perfect.