Friday, 1 April 2016

"North Country Maid/Loveinamist" by MARIANNE FAITHFULL (2016 Beat Goes On 2CD Remasters with Bonus Tracks) - A Review by Mark Barry...



"...First Time Ever I Saw Your Face..." 

Dogged by decades (not years) of horrible drug dependency and personal trauma – the once high-profile chanteuse of swinging 60ts London (complete with boyfriend Mick Jagger on her arms) has seen life's up and downs more than most and miraculously survived. Homelessness at least twice, the loss of a daughter, physical injury under the influence, croaking on US National TV in front of millions, the glorious comebacks in the 80ts to fantastic collaborative work in the 90ts and 00ts - and all of it while battling a lifelong addiction that threatened to literally overwhelm at any minute. Marianne Faithfull has been there and done that. Aged 70 in December 2016 - by the grace of God and good friends - it's clearly a minor miracle that the Hampstead Lass is alive at all.

Which brings us to these two forgotten but period-cool slices of Folk-Rock (two of three albums she made for England's Decca Records in the 60ts) – "North Country Maid" (April 1966) and "Loveinamist" (March 1967) - bolstered up here with six interesting and relevant bonus tracks. Beautiful and tender traditionals mix with smartly chosen contemporary cover versions of the day (Donovan, Jackie DeShannon, Bob Lind, Tim Hardin et al) – each nestling nicely alongside tinges of hippy Acid Folk akin to The Incredible String Band. It's all up for our digital delectation on this superb and timely BGO 2CD reissue/remaster. Here are the battered and bruised details...

UK released Friday 1 April 2016 (8 April 2016 in the USA) – "North Country Maid/Loveinamist" by MARIANNE FAITHFULL on Beat Goes On BGOCD 1227 (Barcode 5017261212276) features Remasters of 2LPs onto 2CDs with six Bonus Tracks and plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (42:51 minutes):
1. Green Are Your Eyes [Bert Jansch song]
2. Scarborough Fair [Traditional arranged by Jon Mark]
3. Cockleshells [Mick Taylor song, Rolling Stones guitarist]
4. The Last Thing On My Mind [Tom Paxton song]
5. The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face [Ewan MacColl song]
6. Sally Free And Easy [Cyril Tawney song]
7. Sunny Goodge Street [Donovan song] – Side 2
8. How Should I Your True Love Know [Traditional arranged by Jon Mark]
9. She Moved Thru' The Fair [Traditional Irish Ballad adapted by Herbert Hughes with lyrics by Padraic Colum, arranged by Jon Mark]
10. North Country Maid [Traditional arranged by Jon Mark]
11. Lullaby [Jon Mark song]
12. Wild Mountain Thyme [McPeake Family song arranged by Jon Mark]
Tracks 1 to 12 are her 4th album "North Country Maid" – released April 1966 in the UK on Decca LK 4778 (Mono only)

BONUS TRACKS:
13. The Most Of What Is Least [Donovan song]
14. Come My Way [Jon Mark song]
15. Mary Ann [Traditional song]
Tracks 13 to 15 first appeared as Previously Unreleased outtakes from the sessions on the August 1990 UK CD Reissue/Remaster of "North Country Maid" on Deram 820-631-2. "Come My Way" and "Mary Ann" appeared on the 1965 American compilation LP from "Go Away From My World" on London Records (see PS below).

Disc 2 (48:24 minutes):
1. Yesterday [Beatles song]
2. You Can't Go Where The Roses Go [Jackie DeShannon song]
3. Our Love Has Gone [Chris Andrews song]
4. Don't Make Promises You Can't Keep [Tim Hardin song]
5. In The Night Time [Donovan song]
6. This Little Bird [John D. Loudermilk song]
7. Ne Me Quitte Pas [Jacque Brel song]
8. Counting [Bob Lind song] – Side 2
9. Reason To Believe [Tim Hardin song]
10. Coquillage [French sung version of the Mick Taylor song "Cockleshells" on "North Country Maid"]
11. With You In Mind [Jackie DeShannon song]
12. Young Girl Blues [Donovan song]
13. Good Guy [Donovan song]
14. I Have A Love [Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim song from "West Side Story"]
Tracks 1 to 14 are her 5th album "Loveinamist" – released March 1967 in the UK on Decca LK 4854 (Mono) and SKL 4854 (Stereo) - Stereo mix used

BONUS TRACKS:
15. Hang On To A Dream [Tim Hardin song]
16. Rosie, Rosie [Kinks song]
17. Monday, Monday [Mamas and Papas song]
Tracks 15 and 16 appeared as Bonus Tracks on the October 1988 UK CD Remaster of "Loveinamist" on Decca 820 632-2. Track 17 appeared on the American compilation LP "Forever Faithfull…" in November 1966 (see below)

As always with BGO - the outer card-slipcase gives the release a classy feel – the 16-page booklet with new JOHN O'REGAN liner notes features basic album credits, some photos and an in-depth musical history of Marianne Faithfull up to 2016 (the details are many and Internet referenced). But the big news is new 2016 ANDREW THOMPSON Remasters that sound great – warm and clear without over-trebling it.

Produced by Mike Leander, Engineered by Gus Dudgeon and with song arrangements and playing by Jon Mark - the largely acoustic and overtly Folky "North Country Maid" album benefits greatly from a CD Remaster. Those Jon Mark arranged high strung Spanish guitars on "Scarborough Fair" and "North Country Maid", the gorgeous quivering vocals and lonesome cello note on Ewan MacColl's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" and the ISB Dulcimer and Sitar flourishes on "Wild Mountain Thyme" and "She Moved Thru' The Fair" - all sound clear and full. Originally appearing as session outtakes on the 1990 Deram CD in the UK - even the three bonus cuts are good. A thumping double-bass along with guitars and clavinet fill "The Most of What Is Least" (a Donovan cover) – while the audio on Jon Mark's outtake "Come My Way" is stupendous – beautifully rendered. "Mary Ann" (not the Ray Charles Atlantic Records hit from 1956) is a Traditional about a ship waiting while he wishes his love 'fare thee well my own true love' – lovely acoustic guitars and double bass. Rolling Stones fans will love Mick Taylor's "Cockleshells" which he arranged and played on too (it appears in French language form on "Loveinamist" – see Track 10) – a very pretty Acoustic song that feels like a long lost classic. There is a small amount of instrument distortion on occasion and evident hiss on the quiet "Lullaby" and the Harmonica wails in "Sunny Goodge Street" but it's never too much to distract on any. Overall the album holds up well with her unique Nico-esque quivering vocals mightily impressive throughout (and those genuinely excellent bonuses are welcome inclusions).

On the evidence of "In The Night Time", "Young Girl Blues" and "Good Guy" – Marianne probably would have made a masterpiece just recording DONOVAN covers. There seemed to be something in his rhythms, words and ideas that made her the perfect conduit. Another sympathetic writer who gets two nods is the lovely Jackie DeShannon – "With You In Mind" being a gorgeous mid-tempo highlight on here – double-vocals, wind instruments and even a harp make it 'so' Sixties cool. "You Can't Go Where The Roses Go" is another sweetie – even if its strings are a tad syrupy. Her second stab at Mick Taylor's "Cockleshells" is a skittish French language version called "Coquilages" which has a very baroque feel and lightness of touch (wicked string arrangements) is arguably better than the English variant. "Counting" was a Bob Lind cover that originally appeared on his "Don't Be Concerned" LP in 1966 on World Pacific Records – the building melodrama features all manner of instruments – especially a crashing drums and string section – the Remaster handling the lot really rather well. Almost from another world compared to the mellow baroque 60ts feel of what's on the rest of the album (like she discovered electrified Bob Dylan) – Tim Hardin's "Don't Make Promises" gets funked up and feels like Fred Neil having a bit of a wig out. It all ends on a string and oboe version of the "West Side Story" classic – "I Have A Love" where despite the heavy-on-the-tears arrangement - her vocal sincerity can be felt in an impressive vocal performance. Far better are the two beautifully recorded bonus cuts – Tim Hardin's "Hang On To A Dream" and The Kinks "Rosie Won't You Please Come Home" (from 1966's "Face To Face"). She retitles the Ray Davies pining melody "Rosie, Rosie" and again gives it a fast pace.

So there you have it – two forgotten and expensive platters to acquire on original vinyl. It’s a damn shame BGO didn't include those tracks that would have made the US compilations possible to sequence – but alas (see below). Having said that - "North Country Maid/Loveinamist" is a superb addition to Beat Goes On's roster of quality CD remasters.

"…I am but a young girl working my way through the phoneys…" Marianne Faithfull sang on "Young Girl Blues" - already beautiful in her world-weary way. Nothing false about the excellence on offer here though…

PS:
Before either "North Country Maid" or "Loveinamist" came out in the UK on Decca - American fans will know that both of these British albums along with her other Decca platter "Marianne Faithful' from May 1965 were amalgamated into two London Records compilations for the US market – "Go Away From My World" in December 1965 and "Faithfull Forever…" in November 1966. Using this 2CD set – US fans can program 'most' of the first album and 'some' of the second LP as follows:

"Go Away From My World" (US Compilation LP), December 1965 on London LL 3452 (Mono) and PS 452 (Stereo)
Stereo mix is used
Side 1:
1. Go Away From My World
2. Yesterday [Disc 2, Track 1]
3. Come My Way [Disc 1, Track 14]
4. Last Thing On My Mind [Disc 1, Track 4]
5. How Should True Love [Disc 1, Track 8]
6. Wild Mountain Thyme [Disc 1, Track 12]
Side 2:
1. Summer Nights
2. Mary Ann [Disc 1, Track 15]
3. Scarborough Fair [Disc 1, Track 2]
4. Lullaby [Disc 1, Track 11]
5. North Country Maid [Disc 1, Track 10]
6. Sally Free And Easy [Disc 1, Track 6]

"Forever Faithfull…" (US Compilation LP), November 1966 on London LL 3482 (Mono) and London PS 482 (Stereo)
Stereo mix used
Side 1:
1. Counting [Disc 2, Track 8]
2. Tomorrow's Calling
3. The First Time [Disc 1, Track 5]
4. With You In Mind [Disc 2, Track 11]
5. In The Night Time [Disc 2, Track 5]
6. Ne Me Quitte Pass (Love Theme From "Umbrellas Of Cherbourg") [Disc 2, Track 7]
Side 2:
1. Monday, Monday [Disc 2, Track 17]
2. Some Other Spring
3. That's Right Baby
4. Lucky Girl
5. I'm The Sky
6. I Have A Love [Disc 2, Track 14]

This review is part of my SOUNDS GOOD Music Book Series. One of those titles is COOL 1960s MUSIC - an E-Book with over 200 entries and 2000 e-Pages - purchase on Amazon and search any artist or song (click the link below). Huge amounts of info taken directly from the discs (no cut and paste crap). 


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