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Vagabond Ways

17 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 11, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

"Oh, doctor please. I drink and I take drugs. I love sex and I move around a lot." These are the opening words of this album, and as the summation of a gloriously misspent youth, they're kind of hard to beat, cementing Marianne Faithfull's claim to the title of Greatest Living Englishwoman. Her first album since 20th Century Blues offers up a diverse collection of material. An old Roger Waters composition, "Incarceration of a Flower Child," opens with a musical phrase he would revisit, 15 years later, in "Your Possible Pasts" (from the Final Cut album). Faithfull interprets it as a simple lament to lost innocence, the days of "good dope and cheap wine"--though its chorus rather deliberately punctures the dream ("It's gonna get old in the 1970s"). And with its mocking air of self-pity, its ruined grandeur, Leonard Cohen's "Tower of Song" might have been written with her in mind. But it's that title track and "Electra," two ruthless slices of self-examination ("You'd think she owns the streets of Dublin"), which truly compel attention. Singular, magnificent. --Andrew McGuire

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Vagabond Ways
  2. Incarceration Of A Flower Child
  3. File It Under Fun From The Past
  4. Electra
  5. Wilder Shores Of Love
  6. Marathon Kiss
  7. For Wanting You
  8. Great Expectations
  9. Tower Of Song
  10. After The Ceasefire

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 11, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: April 11, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Instinct Records
  • ASIN: B00004SBMI
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #192,173 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Randall E. Adams on June 26, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Marianne Faithfull part of my music collection stretches for a long distance. I liked her back when she had the little girl voice doing the folkie and light folk/pop things in the mid-60s. I liked her harrowing version of "Visions of Johannah" recorded at a time when she was completely strung out on junk and virtually homeless. I LOVED her first three albums on Island, when she was more-or-less back in one piece and taking responsibility for her choices of material. And everything since has been quite fascinating, from Hal Wilner's torch explorations to Kurt Weill revivals to the brilliant Angelo Badelamente album. On "Vagabond Ways," it feels as if Marianne has revisited a number of her records in the past twenty years or so. The classic approach of her first three Island albums ("Broken English," "Dangerous Acquaintances," and "A Child's Adventure") is used on the title track, and on "Electra," "Wilder Shores of Love," the Daniel Lanois-arranged "Marathon Kiss" and the utterly perfect interpretation of Leonard Cohen's "Tower of Song." This latter number is such a perfect match of song and singer that I wonder whether she's ever considered doing a full album of Cohen's songs; she could do any of them--even "Don't Go Home with Your Hard-on." On the other hand, tracks like "For Wanting You," "Great Expectations" and "After the Ceasefire" remind of "A Secret Life." The only criticism is that Marianne can veer dangerously close to self-parody, such as on the title track. I can live with a bit of Marianne Faithfull's self-parody.
All in all, a great album
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 7, 2000
Format: Audio CD
With her cigarettes-and-whiskey alto voice and her been-there, done-that-twice persona, Marianne Faithfull, 53, packs all the tools a modern-day torch singer might need. Since 1979's brilliant and brutal Broken English, the former hippie goddess (and long-ago flame of Mick Jagger) has carved out a niche as a sterling interpreter of other people's material -- notably Kurt Weill's -- and as a significant songwriter herself.
Here is Faithfull's first pop collection in nearly five years. As might be expected, her interpretation of pop is somewhat more nuanced than, say, Britney Spears's. Especially effective are the up-tempo title track, which celebrates a life lived too close to the edge, and the quietly sad "Incarceration of a Flower Child," which chronicles a poignant morning after. With producer Mark Howard, Faithfull paints a dark but never dour portrait of lives out of focus and of love gone wrong.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Timothy F. Finn on May 14, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Vagabond Ways is one of the best CD's this year. Marianne Faithfull once again bares her soul in a matter-of-fact way that leaves the listener craving for more. Emmylou Harris on Marathon Kiss is a true delight. I listen to this CD over and over, in awe at the lyrics and the exceptional music. Wilder Shores of Love, File it Under Fun from the Past, and Incarceration of a Flower Child are real gems. Tower of Song is a bit pop, but essential. The narrative, After the Ceasefire is the perfect ending to a great CD. You can't help but be drawn in by Marianne's drone.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Scott R. Chamberlin on August 8, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This is one of those cases where I can only scratch my head and say -- "Well, to each his or her own." Even among the small slice of humanity that would find itself putting a Marianne Faithfull album in the player, there seems to exist an unbridgable gap in taste and temperament. Am I right to perceive from the album reviews a Strange Weather camp and a Broken English camp? If so, I am securely in the first. Therefore, I think 20th Century Blues is a masterpiece, and Vagabond Ways is, well, unpalatable.

I'm being careful, because Marianne Faithfull is amazing -- a unique talent, a great live performer, and a real survivor. So the components I happen to like and dislike come from the same healthy soup.

I think the difference is largely about instrumentation. To me, this album and some of her others are chaotic masses of poppish instrumentation that provide aimless structures for weak melodies, squandering the soulfulness of her voice and overpowering the messages and the stories under it all. The result is more a construction, or a "production," than a song, more of an effort than a pleasure to listen to.

But I have to respect those who like this album, and just boil the whole matter down to a single piece of advice. We'll see if it resonates. Here it is:

If you like Broken English, pony up the credit card. If your soul dances in the melencholy strains of Strange Weather, buy Vagabond Ways at your peril.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lululu on July 29, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Marianne took a new aproach to music on this cd. Vagabond Ways seems to lack the anger of her 70's hits such as Guilt and Why'd Ya Do It however it does seem to tell a story of the events Marianne delt with in her live. This is mostly evident in " Vagabond Ways" Marianne's version of Tower of Song, the Leonard Cohen classic is amazing. Another highlight of this CD is Incarceration of a Flower Child, a song co-written with Roger Waters. If you are a Marianne fan this cd is a must!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By justin Kirkeberg on March 31, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Now I must admit I have been a fan of Marianne Faithfull for as long and I can recall, however thie record is the best I have sence broken...
What she recalls in her life and mins is amazing. With her leric and song she creates a place and a time for us all to fall into.
Vagabond ways is a track to rember, the emotion that she give us to hear is so real and so now that twenty years from now people will hear it and say I was at that place and i felt that emotion. That is the gift the she has that anyone that is lucky enough to hear her work should rejoice in.
What she has to say is far beyond just her. Sh lets us into her past and we can all find momnets that connect with ours. I am happy to be a part of her world for jusat that moment.
I am egerly waiting for the next moment that she lets us be a pat of.
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