- Audio CD (28 Jan. 2013)
- Deluxe Edition edition
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Deluxe Edition
- Label: Commercial Marketing
- ASIN: B008YBOGVG
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Audio Cassette | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 102,323 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Broken English Deluxe Edition
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Re-mastered and expanded deluxe version of Marianne Faithfull’s 1979 debut album for Island Records, Broken English.
Disc One contains the original album as an enhanced disc which also features the short 12 minute film specially commissioned for the album release and directed by Derek Jarman. It’s basically three promotional videos for "Witches Song", "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan" and "Broken English", featuring unique footage of Marianne spliced together with stock footage and some of Derek Jarman’s trademark Super-8 film. This is the first time that this film has ever been commercially available.
Disc Two contains the entire original mix of the album which was thought to have been lost but surfaced during the tape research for this Deluxe Edition. Also included are a re-record of "Sister Morphine" only previously available on the Marianne Faithfull anthology, Perfect Strangers and four bonus tracks in the form of the 7" and 12" mixes of "Broken English" and "Why’d Ya Do It ?", which appear on CD for the very first time.
Marianne Faithfull didn’t begin as she meant to go on. Debuting as a promising singer-songwriter in 1964, she was soon a wife and mother. But she turned her back on her husband to get together with Mick Jagger, becoming his muse and also something of a drug addict as The Rolling Stones’ notoriety grew in the late-60s.
A split with Jagger in 1970 coincided with her drug habit spiralling out of control. Faithfull lost custody of her son, and began living on the streets, blurring away the days courtesy of a substantial heroin habit. She went as far as attempting suicide, but salvation would await her at the decade’s end.
Years of substance abuse, as well as severe laryngitis, permanently changed Faithfull’s voice. But Island Records founder Chris Blackwell heard potential in a set of demos, and put the newly gruff-toned singer to work on what would become Broken English, released in October 1979.
The album – which followed a first (not-so-successful) comeback in 1976, with the country styled Dreamin’ My Dreams – was recorded twice, the final version featuring new-wave-like keys by Steve Winwood. The original mix is included in this deluxe edition, filling much of the second disc. Also included is the Derek Jarman-directed film Broken English, finally given its commercial debut.
Broken English, the album, is almost autobiographical. Although its title track was inspired by a book about Baader-Meinhof, the other selections could have been penned by Faithfull herself: Guilt was Barry Reynolds’ song about addiction; What’s the Hurry? about a junkie’s endless need to score.
The set’s hit single, a cover of Dr Hook’s The Ballad of Lucy Jordan, was “my life, had it taken a different turn”. Her version of John Lennon’s Working Class Hero was delivered perfectly, raspily, through a gauze of disgust, even though she was nothing like the titular character.
Standout moment Why D’ya Do It is the sort of song nobody wants dedicated to them. Through a Sly and Robbie pastiche skank, Faithfull lets rip with venom rarely heard outside of the punk world in the late-70s, ranting Heathcoate Williams-penned words at a cheating lover. Its radio unfriendliness is exhilarating.
At the time of Broken English’s production, Faithfull had nothing left to lose. And, like so much art made in such circumstances, it’s an absolute tour de force of an album. She has described it as her masterpiece. She’s not wrong.
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Top Customer Reviews
As an album, BROKEN is unique, to my knowledge, in one odd way: there are so few songs on it. But they are among Faithfull's most famous, and they constitute her signature album. She herself has called it, in her autobiography, her masterpiece. The songs are of loss, disillusionment, the backing tight, edgy, punky. Her voice is, of course, now like nobody else's, and neither is the sound of her backing group, consisting on this record of Diane Birch, Frankie Collins, Jim Cuomo, Guy Humphries, Joe Mavety, Maurice Pert, Barry Reynolds, Terry Stannard, Darryl Way, Steve Winwood, and Steve York. Shel Silverstein's "Ballad of Lucy Jordan," of a suburban housewife, who's had it with her starveling life, has never been done better. John Lennon's "Working Class Hero" could match its writer for bite. The title song, "Broken English," written by Faithfull and her frequent collaborator Barry Reynolds, with her backing musicians, Joe Mavety, Steve York and Terry Stannard, is as fresh today as the day it was written.Read more ›
For me, this album epitomises every strength she has. It's filled with heartbreaking soul, her voice, much changed, delivering the heartfelt emotion behind every word. She doesn't need soaring strings. This is spare and often beautiful prose, put to music. A couple of tracks bring tears to my eyes every time I hear them and this is an album I'll love forever.
Her version of Lennon's Working Class Hero sounds as sharp as ever, while the brooding title track is still relevant today. On the melodic side, Lucy Jordan has become quite a standard and could easily be considered a country weepy, while Witches Song remains eerie and anthemic. The sound is typical 80's rock with tight musicianship supporting this classic monument to decadence and despair.
Marianne discusses the recording of Broken English in her autobiography Faithfull; Brain Drain was co-written by the tragic singer-songwriter Tim Hardin who might have inspired the title of Bob Dylan's John Wesley Harding.
This is probably her best selling album of all time for all the wrong reasons! The other two works from the same period, Child's Adventure and Dangerous Acquaintances, are equally excellent and will richly reward the listener. Nevertheless, Broken English stands tall as a masterpiece of broken taboos, subversive poetics and timeless songs.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good price as I only ever really liked about four of the tracks so would not have wanted to pay more.Published 16 months ago by Lorraine - Bedfordshire
Had this on tape years ago, it is brillaint to hear it again. FULL BLAST. love itPublished 17 months ago by Mrs Kim Gallagher