Marianne Faithfull

Come My Way

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When Marianne Faithfull released her first two albums for the U.K. market in the spring of 1965, she took the unusual step of issuing them simultaneously. One, simply titled Marianne Faithfull, was the pop-oriented collection that listeners of her hit singles would have expected. The other, Come My Way, by contrast was comprised solely of folk tunes, most of them traditional, the acoustic settings arranged by guitarist Jon Mark. Faithfull at this very early stage in her career still had the tremulous soprano common to many woman folk singers of the era. While her singing here is pleasant and competent, it's rather average when stacked against the emotional commitment and personality the best interpreters of such tunes brought to the material at the time. Indeed, Faithfull herself would do the same kind of repertoire, with considerably greater vocal imagination and more forceful musical backing, on her underrated third U.K. album, 1966's North Country Maid. Still, it's an OK record, Faithfull putting her pipes to reverent use on folk revival staples like "Portland Town," "House of the Rising Sun," "Once I Had a Sweetheart," and "Black Girl," taking on a contemporary writer with Ian Tyson's "Four Strong Winds." Her reading of "Lonesome Traveller" stands out for the propulsive backing, with hasty 12-string guitar strums and what sound like bongos. The CD reissue, available briefly in Britain in the early '90s and then in Japan in the early 2000s, adds four bonus tracks: the 1964 B-side "Blowin' in the Wind"; "Et Maintenant," from a 1965 EP; the poppy and bluesy 1966 B-side "That's Right Baby"; and her classic 1969 single "Sister Morphine," which predated the Rolling Stones' version by a couple of years.

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