Going from strength to strength – after all these years – there is a case for regarding Marianne Faithfull as the contemporary equivalent to Lotte Lenya. Like Lenya, the cabaret star who was the inspiration for both Brecht and Weill, Faithfull is the consummate interpretative artist; like Lenya, she knows where to go to get a good song; and like Lenya, her grainy voice projects a unique presence, glittering, dangerous and wildly attractive.
Subtitled ‘18 Songs for Music Lovers’, Easy Come, Easy Go is a double album containing a wide choice of songs: from Brian Eno’s ‘How Many Worlds’ and Dolly Parton’s ‘Down from Dover’ to Bernstein & Sondheim’s ‘Somewhere’ and Espers’ ‘Children of Stone’, Faithfull and her long-time collaborator Hal Willner have much to work on.
A mighty contingent of collaborators speed along the undoubted subtleties of Easy Come. Guitarist Marc Ribot and, from the Dirty Three, violinist Warren Ellis and drummer Jim White, are powerful band members. The guest vocalists are no less remarkable. Nick Cave, Cat Power and Rufus Wainwright pitch in with harmonies; Antony Hegarty takes flight on Smokey Robinson’s ‘Ooh Baby’; none other than Keith Richards croons along with Faithfull to make an affecting take on Merle Haggard’s ‘Sing Me Back Home’ and Jarvis Cocker joins in on ‘Somewhere’ to make the West Side Story classic appear very louche indeed.