Marianne Faithfull 

Easy Come Easy Go — 12 Songs for Music Lovers

Aside from jazz singers, interpretive singing is almost a lost art — previous generations had Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett to bring something of their own to others' material. (Besides, some singers shouldn't write everything they record, nor should they record everything they write. Ahem.)

The latest album by singer, actress, and former Rolling Stones associate Marianne Faithfull — her first since 2005 — is in the tradition of Sinatra. Easy Come Easy Go was recorded virtually live in the studio (Sinatra insisted on being in the studio the same time as the musicians, btw) and like Ol' Blue Eyes at his best, she takes a dozen songs of others and virtually makes them hers. Smokey Robinson's "Ooh Baby Baby" is transformed into a gothic (in the old-school sense, not Cure/Bauhaus) mini-opera, Faithfull's weathered warble mining the song's aching drama while alternating the spotlight with, then joining, Antony Hegarty's Bryan Ferry-like croon. The Duke Ellington chestnut "Solitude" is revamped as an R&B ballad, Marc Ribot's guitar sighing in the background. "The Crane Wife" (with harmony by Nick Cave) evokes the folk-rock/baroque splendor of Faithfull's '60s recordings. The final track, Merle Haggard's end-of-the-line lament "Sing Me Back Home" (featuring Keith Richards), contains more bittersweet nostalgia and redemptive yearning than most of us will, thankfully, ever know, and by itself is worth the price of admission. (Decca)

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