Marianne Faithfull Records R.B. Morris' 'That's How Every Empire Falls' for New Album

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Shawn Poynter

Maybe she’s making up for canceling her 2009 show at the Bijou Theatre. Rolling Stones muse and art-rock chanteuse Marianne Faithfull has recorded R.B. Morris’ song “That’s How Every Empire Falls,” from Morris’ 2009 album Spies Lies and Burning Eyes, for her upcoming disc Horses and High Heels. It’s a faithful adaptation, with heavily reverbed guitars from Doug Pettibone and Carol Winton that sound a lot like Hector Qirko and Kenny Vaughn’s work on Spies (and an added string section that gives it a remarkable resemblance to the Stones’ classic “Wild Horses,” reportedly inspired by Faithfull during her relationship with Mick Jagger).

Morris is among a handful of notable and even legendary songwriters whose material is performed by Faithfull on the new disc, which was produced by Hal Willner (Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, and Lucinda Williams), features guest appearances by Reed, Dr. John, and the MC5’s Wayne Kramer, and is due out on this month in England. (A U.S. release date hasn’t been announced.) Willner is the likely connection—he is a reported fan of Morris’ work, and the two were scheduled to record together some years back, in sessions that never came together.

On the album, Faithfull also covers songs by Allen Toussaint (“Back in Baby’s Arms”), British folk-rock underdogs Jackie Lomax (“No Reason”) and Lesley Duncan (“Love Song”), Carole King (“Goin’ Back,” best known from Dusty Springfield’s 1966 version), and Jerry Leiber (“Past, Present, and Future,” a minor hit for the Shangri-Las in 1966).

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Comments » 1

KnoxvilleUrbanGuy writes:

When R.B. and Marshall Chapman played at the Laurel theater, he mentioned that John Prine is about his only notable cover. I talked about what a shame it is that R.B. doesn't have many covers after writing so many excellent songs - and mentioned particularly "Empire" and "City," which are just about perfect songs. I subsequently have written about his performance at Waynestock and I'll soon be posting about his most recent book of poetry, "Keeping the Bees Employed." If you'd like to read any of these posts or other writing about downtown Knoxville, you might go to my blog at

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