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Faithfull, Marianne - Horses And High Heels - CD

Marianne Faithfull Audio CD
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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MARIANNE FAITHFULL Horses And High Heels (2011 UK 13-track CD album - After 47 years of creative public life Marianne Faithfull remains one of the most unique bewitching and indeed unconventional musical artists Britain has ever produced. In those years shes grown from the quiver-voiced ing?nue of her debut single As Tears Go By to her peerless position as profoundly distinctive scorched-earth torch-singer and richly emotive song-writer as evidenced today on her 23rd solo album the sonically stunning Horses And High Heels. Recorded in New Orleans with a core of exceptional local musicians the album features eight cover versions and four original new songs co-written by Marianne four songs which feature the virtuoso guitar playing of John Porter a musician / producer friend most noted for his work with Roxy Music Eric Clapton & The Smiths. The album also includes one song with lyrics specially written for her by Irish playwright Frank McGuiness [the evocative The Old House] two cameo appearances on guitar from another old friend Lou Reed plus further cameos from Dr John and MC5s Wayne Kramer)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Return to Sublime Nov. 16 2011
By Pieter Uys HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Hal Wilner has done a spectacular production job on these quality songs, enabling Marianne to make the most of her familiar styles and successfully navigate some new ones.

There are mournful songs of resignation, some with eerie undertone.
The solemn, brooding track The Stations with its chiming guitars opens the album on a note of unease as a narrative of addiction, anguish and dread unfolds.

Those magnificent chimes return to blast jangling showers of doom over the arresting imagery of That's How Every Empire Falls. What a magnificent arrangement for this great song.

This introspection and melancholia of Goin' Back dips into the spooky sometimes on this downtempo slice of nostalgia with its affirmation, "I'll live my days instead of counting my years", and is embellished by tuba touches and what sounds like faraway trumpets.

A tone of redemption lifts the subdued, torchy Love Song out of the prevailing bleak mood of its spare backing and wails of weeping guitar.

Hard to place stylistically, the half-spoken delivery of Past, Present and Future is reminiscent of After The Ceasefire on Vagabond Ways. Cello, violin and harp stand out on a grand orchestral arrangement.

And there are uptempo tracks in the soul/rock/boogie tradition.
The funky feel of the gently swaying Gee Baby makes for a charming interpretation, whilst electric guitars roar and pianos roll on the lively and rhythmic No Reason, a fine piece of southern rock boogie. The lead vocal remains far back in the mix of its powerful wall of sound.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars don't buy it! Sept. 22 2011
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I bought this because I've liked the artist for decades. Maybe 3 good songs on whole cd. Music sounded canned. Real waste of money, Too bad. Don't make my mistake.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ahead Of The Pack April 19 2011
By Dexter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Marianne never ceases to amaze nor does she ever disappoint. This is only her 19th album (not 23rd as stated elsewhere) in a career that's now spanned 47 years and is I think her very best. It took a few listens to settle in but when it did it's like I always knew the songs. Her voice is totally unique and she has a knack of making old songs sound like they were made for her.

Of the thirteen tracks seven are new songs and six covers of classics from the '60's. Two of the covers are the Shangri-Las 'Past, Present & Future' and 'Goin' Back' which was a hit for Dusty Springfield. Both are now sung from the perspective of a much older woman who sadly acknowledges the passing of time. Marianne puts her boots on for a stomping version of Jackie Lomax's 'No Reasons' and her take on the late Lesley Duncan's 'Love Song' is breathtaking.

Marianne co-wrote four of the new songs. 'Horses And High Heels' which mentions places where she has lived. 'Prussian Blue' with it's great but simple key changes, the haunting 'Why Did We Have To Part' and 'Eternity'. The final track 'The Old House', which was especially written for Marianne by Irish playwright Frank McGuiness, conjures up images of ghosts and forgotten memories.

At sixty-four years of age Marianne is still a force to be reckoned with. She doesn't run with the pack, she's well ahead of it.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Album from Marianne Faithfull June 17 2011
By Dennis Lee Cleven - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I don't have the historical background of the songs on "Horses and High Heels" that the other two reviewers do, but whenever Marianne Faithfull covers a song, she makes it her own. I know that "Goin'Back" (written by Goffin/King) was a hit by Dusty Springfield and her version was a wonderful pop recording. Elkie Brooks also recorded it and had a hit with it in the UK. Marianne doesn't try to compete with these artists nor does she try to imitate their style. Marianne sings it as if it were a new song and approaches it with a completely different feeling. Marianne's voice is unique but she knows how to use it superbly; she is an artiste.
"Why Did We Have to Part" is haunting in a most beautiful manner. "Gee Baby" is a winning pop song and Marianne makes it work. "Eternity" has such excellent production and is uptempo. This is a real stand-out song to this listener. It is a song that makes one move to it. "Back in Baby's Arms" is a great cover and is also uptempo.
Yes, this album is full of ghosts and references to the past such as "Prussian Blue", "Past, Present and Future" but none so much as the tremendously haunting "The Old House". This song was another stand-out for me. I couldn't help but to stop and listen to the lyrics. It is a masterpiece and perfect for Marianne's voice.
"Horses and High Heels" is a new friend in my Faithfull collection. It is a most welcome friend. I knew I loved it by the second time I played it. It contains different genres but her previous album, "Easy Come, Easy Go" covered a wide variety of genres more so than on this album. Marianne Faithfull never disappoints me with her every album. She is an extremely intelligent woman and I admire her immensely. She would never release an album unless it met her high standards. "Horses and High Heels" is solid testimony of her artistry. I am enjoying getting to know this album better with each playing. It deserves a Five Star rating which I am glad to bestow upon it. Thank you, Ms. Faithfull.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT MARIANNE FAITHFULL: THERE'S NO ONE LIKE HER! July 20 2011
By sassin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
HORSES & HIGH HEELS reveals the brilliant actress behind every song. Marianne Faithfull becomes the characters in all their various stages of life and living in these exceptional songs. Sadness, joy, loss, remembrance, hope and redemption pass through these accounts and MF digs deep into her uncanny ability to embody the shores of emotional survival. Producer Hal Wilner has surrounded MF with an all-encompassing sound collage that creates layers of hearing, much like a film director fills the screen around his protagonist with visual images to move the story forward and reveal subtle secrets. New Orleans gives the album a shimmering location both spiritually and musically. There really is no other contemporary performer who does what MF does. She carries the burden and blessing of 20th century anguish and ecstasy into the 21st with grace and determination. MF's composition ETERNITY covers the full range of her understanding: "Jump for joy" she sings. Why not?
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Britain's Marianne Faithfull and US Producer Hal Willner - PERFECT TOGETHER! July 18 2011
By Steven I. Ramm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I love this album!

Okay now that I've said that, I'll explain why, which may differ from previous reviews posted here.

I was there in the 1960s when Ms. Faithfull rode the British Invasion with her hit "As Tears Go By", and I was impressed by her hit single "Broken English", which was released in 1979. But, honestly, I haven't followed her career since. Then this CD arrived and I put it in my player. The first song grabbed my attention, and I was listening intently for the next 12 tracks. I then played the album again and liked it even better.

But it wasn't just Faithfull's voice - which is hoarse, and unlike any other singer I can think of - that got me. It was the way it was used by producer Hal Willner, a guy who has created some on the most unique and amazing albums over the last 20 years - often themed albums ("Stay Awake" - the Disney tribute is still a favorite). Willner is listed on every track as the one doing the "sampling" and, though I can't always identify what records he is sampling, the overall mood he creates is captivating.

Faithfull is a major part of the album's success, of course, with her voice and pen. Four of the songs were co-written by the singer (who is now 64 years old). And half of the songs on the album are covers. (While other reviewers have commented on how the covers compare with the original recordings, I'm one who takes the songs as if they were new to me, when rating the performance.) The album was recorded in 2010 in New Orleans, and there some NOLa musicians here (George Porter Jr. plays bass on every track, Dr. John sits in on piano for one, as does NOLa native Dr. Michael White on clarinet) - and there is an Allen Toussaint cover ( "Back in Baby's Arms") but this is not all NOLa-tinged. You'll see Lou Reed listed in the credits too but it's his guitar you'll hear; not his voice.

If I have one regret as to the packaging - it is that the 12-page booklet does not contain the lyrics. This is especially important for the newly composed songs and "That's How The Empire Falls", a Rolling Stones-style rocker whose lyrics are often overpowered by the guitars. But that's not enough to drop it a star in my rating.

The variety of the music is one of the trademarks of producer Willner's projects and hand-in-hand with Faithfull herself, they make this one of my favorite albums of 2011 (and the year is only halfway through.)

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Horses & High Heels: Past. Present, and Future March 12 2011
By Fan of Marianne - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Marianne's new set of tunes give her fans more than fifty minutes of great music. That's thirteen songs with her one of a kind voice, four original compositions. Recorded in New Orleans, the musicians backing her render their instruments to lap against her vocals, sometimes a caress, then a wave to a new direction mid song. Its the delivery that gets you. The lady believes in her art and those around her do too.

Horses and High Heels carries on with the literary and the rumination, the punk and the folk, and the various genres that Marianne has dipped into from the sixties folk to the seventies re-emergence as punk diva and onward. Initial listens convey a pondering on life's lessons and mortality (tracks one through three, five, six, and tracks eight through thirteen). Music of other eras quickly come to mind, No Reason is an early seventies stadium rocker's romp, Love Song conveys Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon era. Past, Present, and Future and Goin' Back are remarkable readings as you consider the singer's current place in time, a child of the sixties generation, now in her sixties and realizing these pop rhapsodies in much the same way she re-interpreted As Tears Go By on Stange Weather.

The Stations leans to biblical themes. Eternity is Marianne's uptempo view of the next chapter with the sampling from Brian Jones Presents: The Pipes of Pan at Jajouka a masterful addition to the song.
The Old House and title song Horses and High Heels are rich with phrasing that evokes ghosts and foggy nights.

Songs from the CD are reminiscent of Morning Come and Ireland from A Child's Adventure and of A Secret Life. This listener is looking forward to many repeated listenings of all these tunes, full of layers that will emerge with each listen. Marianne recorded As Tears Go By in sixty four. She is even more vital as she gives us another thirteen at the age of sixty four.
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