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Iggy Pop, Cat Power Top Marianne Faithfull Benefit Album

Two years ago, Marianne Faithfull told Rolling Stone about her ongoing battle with Covid-19. “It’s terrible,” she said. “I got long-term Covid, where you get better from the virus, but you have leftover [symptoms]. Apparently, they now think that you do get better from long-term Covid; it’s not forever. That is good.”

To help Faithfull with mounting health costs, more than a dozen artists have recorded covers of songs for a benefit album, The Faithful: A Tribute to Marianne Faithfull, for her. Cat Power and Iggy Pop teamed to recreate her uniquely cutting rendition of John Lennon’s “Working Class Hero,” Shirley Manson and Peaches collaborated on the bawdy “Why’d Ya Do It,” and Lydia Lunch recorded “Love, Life, and Money.” Guitarist Barry Reynolds, who played on Faithfull’s Broken English album, joined Tammy Faye Starlite for Broken English’s “The Ballad of Lucy Jordan.” The first single to be released from the compilation, which will come out Dec. 8 and on vinyl, is Tanya Donelly and the Parkington Sisters’ performance of “This Little Bird.”

Faithfull’s third single, “This Little Bird” originally appeared on the U.S. edition of her self-titled debut album in 1965. The music was dreamlike, and her voice sounded light and warbling as she sings about the freedom and fate of the titular creature. Donelly’s rendition is just as dreamy as the original, though she takes it as a slower pace and adds vocal harmonies on top of it. She also finds a shadowy drama in the song that seems like a nod to Faithfull’s later career.

“Marianne’s voice has always been one of my favorite instruments, from childhood through today, and her music and spirit have been life-long inspirations,” Donelly said in a statement. “I wanted to cover ‘This Little Bird’ for its fragile and beautiful musical arrangement and melody, and the bittersweet story the lyrics tell. A total honor to get to sing and play this lullaby, and the Parkington Sisters elevate with their vocal and string magic. We’re so grateful to be able to pay tribute to this amazing singer/songwriter and woman.”

In her own statement, Faithfull expressed appreciation for the artists who have come together for the benefit album. “I’d been very ill, but I am now much better,” she said. “I got Covid very badly, at the same time my best friend, Hal Willner died. When I came around, I had to learn to walk again, and I have done that. I am very lucky; I’m in a good place, I’m happy to be at peace, to not be dying (yet!) and I’ve got very good friends. Part of getting older is being lonely, losing friends, and you kind of have to accept that, but I don’t like it! As you can imagine, my life has changed completely; it’s hard, but it’s beautiful.

“It has taken a long time for me to be recognized at all for the artist that I am,” she continued. “I’ve never let that poison my existence, my love of my work, and my belief in myself and what I do. I am grateful to the wonderful artists who contributed to this tribute album; that they identify with my art, and that it has moved them in some way, in their own lives, means so much to me. Their interpretations of songs that I have recorded and performed over the course of my 60-plus–year career is incredibly moving. I’m so grateful and feel so much love for all of you!”

To create the album, In the Q Records teamed with the Women of Rock Oral History Project. All of the profits from the sale of the album will benefit Faithfull’s recovery. “The thing about being an icon or a muse is that it doesn’t pay the bills — even if you have over 50 records under your belt,” Tanya Pearson, founder of the Women of Rock Oral History Project, said. “Even if you were the It Girl of the swinging Sixties. Even if you’re Marianne Faithfull.”

Faithfull’s most recent recording of her own, She Walks in Beauty, featured her readings of verses by the great romantic poets with ethereal music by Warren Ellis of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Cave and Brian Eno both performed on the album. She also made a surprise appearance in the film This Much I Know to Be True, providing some vocals for Cave and Ellis to sample.

The Faithful: A Tribute to Marianne Faithfull Track List

Disc One, Side A

Tracy Bonham – “As Tears Go By”
Tanya Donelly & the Parkington Sisters – “This Little Bird”
Josie Cotton – “Summer Nights”
Sylvia Black – “Sister Morphine”
Cat Power & Iggy Pop – “Working Class Hero”

Disc One, Side B

Shirley Manson & Peaches – “Why’d Ya Do It”
Pom Poms – “Brain Drain”
Bush Tetras – “Guilt”
Joan as Policewoman – “Broken English”
Tammy Faye Starlite & Barry Reynolds – “The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan”

Disc Two, Side C

Honeychild Coleman – “Over Here (No Time for Justice)”
Adele Bertei – “Times Square”
Nicole Atkins & Jim Sclavunos – “Strange Weather”
Lydia Lunch – “Love, Life, and Money”
Cynthia Ross (the B Girls) & Tim Bovaconti – “Vagabond Ways”


Disc Two, Side D

Donita Sparks – “Sliding Through Life on Charm”
Miss Guy – “Sex With Strangers”
FaithNYC – “Kissin’ Time”
Feminine Aggression – “Before the Poison”

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