Search - Marianne Faithfull :: 20th Century Blues

20th Century Blues
Marianne Faithfull
20th Century Blues
Genres: Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #1

A live album billed as "An Evening in the Weimar Republic," Faithfull marches confidently through the work of the German composer Kurt Weill. Standards such as "Alabama Song," "Mack the Knife," "Pirate Jenny," and "The Bal...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Marianne Faithfull
Title: 20th Century Blues
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 1
Label: RCA Victor Europe
Original Release Date: 1/14/1997
Release Date: 1/14/1997
Genres: Pop, Rock
Style: Adult Alternative
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 743213865621

A live album billed as "An Evening in the Weimar Republic," Faithfull marches confidently through the work of the German composer Kurt Weill. Standards such as "Alabama Song," "Mack the Knife," "Pirate Jenny," and "The Ballad of the Soldier's Wife" sound fine, if a bit shopworn, making her version of a lesser-known Weill tune such as "Complainte de la Seine" stand out. Actually, some of the album's better moments draw on composers and performers other than Weill. The title track and "Don't Forget Me" are satisfying nods to a pair of non-Teutonic gods, Noel Coward and Harry Nilsson. Two other songs, "Want to Buy Some Illusions" and "Falling in Love Again." approximate Marlene Dietrich's Blue Angel cabaret to convincing effect. Overall, 20th Century Blues is no match for Faithfull's best albums, Broken English and Strange Weather, but Faithfull's fascination with the glamour and decadence of pre-World War II Berlin is more befitting a twilight performer than the barely-legal fantasies of her '60s/'70s peers, Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler. --Keith Moerer

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CD Reviews

Simply wonderful . . .
aliled | Shawnee, Kansas United States | 05/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Although it's commonly known as Faithfull's Weill tribute, it's not comprised totally of Kurt Weill compositions. Its oft-quoted subtite "An Evening In The Weimar Republic" is probably a more accurate way to describe this compelling recording. Recorded live with just a pianist, this could have been a dreadful affair - others have tried similar concepts and failed. Yet this works marvelously. Why? Partially because Marianne Faithfull has lived about five normal lifetimes and this shows up in her (fantastic) voice - it's full of the gravelly world-weariness that these songs need to work their magic. She may sound more hoarse than your granny, but Faithfull hits all the notes, her voice occasionally allowing just a wee little quiver to act as a foil for her fine phrasing. In fact, she's never sounded better.Yet another reason for the success of this project is that Faithfull really understands this music. Her decision to include a Harry Nilsson song was magical - it's one of few "rock era" tunes to have the same sort of melodicism and brutal cynicism as the Weimar-era songs, expressed in a similar manner without at all coming across as derivative. "20th Century Blues" is another great choice (technically) outside the scope of this CD. Faithfull explains its inclusion as a sort of nod to her "Englishness", but it works just the same.The Weimar period was a brief 15 years, yet it contributed much to world culture - not just these songwriters but many fine artists and writers, and movements like Dadaism. Many of the great writers, artists and performers of the era were Jewish (and many who were not were so heavily involved in left-leaning ideologies that their lives were similarly imperiled by the rise of Hitler). So when the Nazis crushed Weimar culture, forced people into exile (or concentration camps) and exerted its brutal force over all aspects of life for more than a decade, most traces of this abundantly rich artistic culture were forever extnguished. We all know that history is written by those in power - that a short-lived period of culture in a doomed historical epoch continues to captivate us roughly three-fourths of a century later . . . well, that's a testament to its greatness.Highly recommended."
E. Scalet | Kansas City | 09/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Everything about this CD is superb Marianne . . . recorded live at a concert entitled "A Night in the Weimar Republic", it is made up of songs by Brecht & Weill and a couple of songs that are "fellow travellers". It plays to Marianne's broken side, the woman who has failed in love and still tries to crawl back up (listen to "Falling in Love Again"). She channels Marlene Deitrich's spirit but adds her own layers to this classic so closely identified with Dietrich. Her renditions of familiar Brecht/Weill numbers hold up admirably to the original versions introduced, for the most part, by Lotte Lenya (admittedly an acquired taste, but well worth looking for). There are also some interesting new translations, particularly of "Mac the Knife", which will NOT remind you of Bobby Darin. This belongs next to "Broken English" as one of the essential Marianne Faithful works."
An evening in the Weimar Republic!
Hiram Gomez Pardo | Valencia, Venezuela | 05/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Weill's collaborations with Bertolt Brecht redefined the potential of the popular music retaking this twilight taste of dark poetry, of infinite hopeless

I have always been convinced about Mariane Faithful's impressive talent, but I never imagined she could be able to reproduce with such integrity and conviction this overwhelming album. Indeed she was absorbed and engaged inside the dramatic universe and decadent environment.

This album is so extraordinary, so expressive and fabulous than even the most appropriate words seem to be useless to intend qualify the overall intensity, passion and artistic honesty in this record that literally will make us to make a enraptured, febrile and evocative musical flight throughout this diamantine album, recorded live at the New Morning in Paris.

Addittionally, you will find abundant information in the inside book pocket.