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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 1 March 2015
I honestly can't understand how Marianne Faithfull, with her iconic status can allude chart success in Britain time and time again. Perhaps it's because people in her homeland still associate her with her 'past' and problems, and maybe that has in some way overshadowed her expectational talents, but oh I hope not. This straight-forward rock album, her last release of the nineties didn't given grace the top 75, but 'Vagabond Ways' is a masterpiece, and would serve a newbie well, as an introduction to her music. Every song, each of which flows beautifully together, one after the other, is a gem, and all of them are wrapped up in the most lush production.

Released in 1999, this melancholic and addictive record has many moments which must be semi-autobiographical to Marianne, and the overall tone of it all is very dark, which is a mood that she has always done so very well. The songs, five of which she co-wrote herself, are mostly very interesting, delivered in that incredibly emotional, cracked, and expressive voice of hers.

Some of the tunes on here are reminiscent of those on her first real masterpiece 'Broken English', which she has been rarely able to better despite the stacks of great albums that have followed, like the stunning title track, 'File It Under Fun From The Past', 'Marathon Kiss' (which has Emmylou Harris on backup), and 'Incarceration of a Flower Child', a song written with by Pink Floyd's Roger Waters that tells the story of a poignant morning after.

Speaking of good song writing, Elton John and Bernie Taupin wrote the yearning 'For Wanting You', and Marianne delivers a superb rendition of the darkly humorous, Leonard Cohen penned 'Tower of Song'. The track here which I play the most out of the ten is 'Great Expectations', a simple song, but really quite beautiful and dreamlike. Marianne has said that it's "the story of my life", but it really is one that I can relate to very strongly myself.

It still troubles me that the likes of young Britney Spears were storming the UK charts at the time, whereas this legend was being largely ignored, still enough know Marianne Faithfull's chart days in Britain were well behind her, she was still making amazing, critically-acclaimed rock music that would put the cheesy 'pop singers' to shame. She obviously had much more life experience, and boy does it shows in the music and world weary voice.

All that's left to say is thank you Marianne for being so open about your past, and turning heartbreak into singing/song writing success. Buy 'Vagabond Ways' today readers, you won't regret it.
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on 20 November 2014
As someone who grew up in "love" with Marianne, I can relate to this CD more than most, although I originally thought the title song was about her, it's not.
The overall CD has the great feeling of late 90's late evening music words are quite deep and often very meaningful, Marianne's style and sound has switched from the sweet folk/pop to the more mature almost diva standard. It still gets deeper and more huskier in later CD's here it is very acceptable.
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on 8 November 2007
If one had to choose just one artiste to reflect the last forty-odd years of music, life, the universe and everything; then Miss Faithful does so as no other ever could. She captures facets of all our paths; holding our head whilst directing our eyes and hearts, making us remember, making us see again, making us hear our inner selves.....lost lives thrust and dangled before us. She encapsulates much more than mere music. I admit it, I just don't have the vocabularly to sufficiently define her import. All I really know, is after listening to Miss Faithfull I am strangely bereft, but not abandoned.....she is the breeeze that blows across the decades; often a chilling caress, but always, always deeply inspirational.
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The predominantly somber Vagabond Ways is a shimmering masterpiece without even one throwaway track. Five of these melodious pop songs were co-written by Marianne, with Barry Reynolds involved in the writing of three of them. Quite a few are reminiscences of the 1960s, like the title track, Roger Waters' Incarceration of a Flower Child, and File It Under Fun From The Past, an equally mournful song of regret & resignation adorned by cello & viola.

The atmospheric Marathon Kiss, written & co-produced by Daniel Lanois and with Emmylou Harris on backing vocals, is truly magnificent, the distilled essence of the early to mid 1980s era Faithfull when she maintained a creative peak with three consecutive albums on Island Records. Electra, Wilder Shores of Love & the romantic Great Expectations are similar down-tempo numbers of lost love and yearning.

Her exquisite interpretations lend new meaning to Leonard Cohen's I'm Your Man, the Roger Waters' song & For Wanting You, the Elton John/Bernie Taupin composition. The album concludes with Marianne's recital of the poem After The Ceasefire. Vagabond Ways is on a par with her classic trilogy of Broken English, A Child's Adventure and Dangerous Acquaintances - another radiant jewel in her crown and a definite five star album.
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This is a great return to form. It's one of those rare albums without one dud track. Beautiful, melodic pop songs follow one another in a golden sequence of aural delight. My faves are (Leonard Cohen's) Tower Of Song, Marathon Kiss {"I cherish the night/of your marathon kiss/chemicals flying/Oh I love this"], Wilder Shores of Love, File It Under Fun, Vagabond Ways. She's singing with passion again and the material is first class.
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on 28 June 2013
I play this over and over again....always loved her voice...this is an excellent CD,it just grows and grows on you....lovely lady.
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on 17 March 2013
Worth listening to simply for the title track and 'File It Under Fun From The Past'. A great world-weary survivor.
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on 1 May 2015
good but not her best
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on 21 December 2008
'Vagabond Ways' (1999) is certainly one of Marianne Faithfull's most obtrusively auto-biographical ventures, albeit not one of her best ones. I still treasure many of her late 20th century albums, especially 'Secret Life', but 'Vagabond Ways' is not among them.
Even though the production is as smooth and professional as ever, her voice as crudely raw as ever and the choice of songs and collaborators (Daniel Lanois, Roger Waters and Leonard Cohen to name but the most prominent ones) as exquisite as ever, the record leaves me strikingly untouched.
'Vagabond Ways', the title track, sums up the ups and downs of her sex, drugs & rock 'n' roll lifestyle neatly enough, but the music is not exactly a pleasure to listen to. While the lyrics of 'Electra' are somewhat amusing, the melody fails to strike any memorable chords. Her cover of Cohen's 'Tower of Song' may adequately be called bland and dispensable. And this, I'm afraid, applies to the entire album, so the examples may suffice.
The sadly boring record is definitely meant to appeal to well-educated listeners of class and academic background, food for thought for the arty farties. What it lacks, though, is what the cliché-ridden phrase of 'heart & soul' means. Marianne Faithfull has done better.
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