Marianne Faithfull – Horses and High Heels
47 years is a hell of a career for anyone, but Marianne Faithfull’s 24th album is as strong as anything she has ever written. To say written isn’t quite accurate, as eight of the songs here are covers, ranging from the bar-room blues of Jackie Lomax’s No Reasons to a haunting rendition of The Stations, originally worked by Mark Lanegan and Greg Dulli. Each bears a stamp of Faithfull authenticity, her soulful, weathered voice making them inseparable from the five originals on offer.
Despite her nature as a serial collaborator, there is a distinct lack of guests here, leaving room to explore a myriad of styles without having to marry those distinct tones to those of others. A rare exception is made with the uplifting Eternity, another of her self-penned tunes given an elegant breath of life by a sample of Brian Jones’ 1968 Moroccan recordings. Whilst it’s a brave move, it’s just one of many on this exceptional collection. [David Bowes]