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UPDATE: Mediafire have suspended my account and locked my downloads. Having endured the tedium of re-uploading everything I had previously hosted on Mega Upload onto Mediafire earlier this year, I can't be arsed re-uploading everything again.

So please don't ask for things to be reuploaded!

I undertake this venture knowing that I don't have the spare time to do it, but feel that these artists NEED TO BE HEARD (please excuse my shouting!). Or is that I think I need to be heard? Or that there are (or have been) some great music blogs that have inspired me to wanna jump on the bandwagon? Probably all of the above??I hope you enjoy the blog. If I turn one person onto these bands that turned me on then it will all have been worth it!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Marianne Faithfull - Broken English

My dad was very anti-drugs. I remember when I want a new drug by Huey Lewis and The News came out - my dad was apoplectic! The fact that the "new drug" was love was lost on him - and I didn't bother to point this out so I could take the piss out on him later!

So you can probably imagine what happened when Broken English came out. Marianne Faithfull was held up as an example of the evil of drugs. "Look what drugs did to her looks and her voice!" As a pre-teen I tended to take my parents words as verbatim, so I duly nodded and noted: drugs = bad! But there was something about this woman I couldn't put my finger on. She wasn't like anyone else in my musical sphere at that time.

Fast forward five years to my metal phase, when a hand made sign of Manowar's slogan "DEATH TO FALSE METAL" adorned my wall, and anything that wasn't metal was crap. I'm watching a music show on TV when this short haired woman (uh, a fucking feminist, or worse, a lesbian) with a craggy voice is singing "at the age of thirty seven". I didn't know who in the hell this bolshy woman was, but there was something about her and that song stuck in my mind for many years.

Fast forward fifteen years later. I have been buying at least one LP/CD per week for the last twenty or so years. But on this particular day I've come up empty.   I've almost complete my latest round of Adelaide's music stores, and I can't find one motherfucking CD I want to buy. So this is the end? I've run out of music!! And then I find myself in a second hand store that I rarely frequent out of complete and utter desperation, and there it is - Broken English for $5! Should I buy it? I've wasted plenty of money on crap CDs over the years, so why bother debating the decision. Just buy it!

So I buy it, and it promptly sits in my alphabetically/chronologically ordered CD collection for several months before I pluck up the courage to play it.....and am blown away. Not quite a life changing experience, but a very pleasant surprise.

Broken English (the song) was eerily similar to how I remember it twenty years earlier: craggy voice singing over a swamp of synth pop. But I like it a hell of a lot more now, I'm thinking. In fact, it's fantastic.

Witches song comes on next. This reminds me of something else I like...eventually I realize it sounds like Second Nature by Rush, which was released years afterwards (on 1987's Hold Your Fire). Funnily enough, I had the same feeling a few years earlier when first hearing Future Generation by The Auteurs - the bastard's ripped off Rush! But that's another story I might get to in another post......

Then it's Brain Drain - smoldering blues! Gotta love it - 3 out of 3. This album's going well! Guilt is cod-funk - it's just OK. So we're not talking perfect album here, but try think of  a perfect album? There ain't one.

And then The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan comes on. Great synth sounds. And there's something familiar about this, but I can't put my finger on it until....."at the age of thirty seven". OMFG, it's this song! And it's spine tinglingly good. Man, I love this album! So it was destiny for me to buy this CD - that's why I found myself in that urine-stenched decrepit second hand store!! Fast forward another ten years, it still sends shivers down my spine.

Two songs later is Working Class Hero. Sounds great. Sparse, atmospheric, moving. And great lyrics! I later realize it's a John Lennon song. I am not, have never, and will never be a Beatles fan, and firmly believe that nearly every Beatles cover is better than the original - and this song just confirms that feeling! In spades. I feel the same way about Prince. But whenever anyone says the same about Dylan I castigate them - sacrilegious bastards! 

The album concludes with Why'd Ya Do It? Did she just sing what I thought she sung? A great punk influenced bile spew to a great reggae soundtrack, with Bowie influenced lead guitar. Fantastic!!

A great album. And even better when you become aware of her history, of which I was only vaguely aware at the time I first heard the album. And my estimation of her was only when she later recorded with probably my two favorite artists, Nick Cave and PJ Harvey!

Marianne Faithfull - 1979 - Broken English

1. Broken English
2. Witches' Song
3. Brain Drain
4. Guilt
5. The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan
6. What's The Hurry
7. Working Class Hero
8. Why'd Ya Do It?



  1. you are right; a great album. never seen this video before, thanks for that.

  2. Very nicely written, and there is a Deluxe edition coming out this month!

  3. Thanks MyLifeAsAGhost, for both kind words and for the heads-up about the deluxe edition! Can't wait!!

  4. Recently got this on vinyl, unconventional voice but I find it a lot more interesting and fascinating than in her previous folk recordings. Great album.