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Marianne Faithfull: Before The Poison; Tom Waits: Real Gone

Everett True, Plan B, September 2004

WHAT KEEPS FOLK like Waits and Faithfull from phoning it in? Why do they feel a need to reinvent themselves, seek out new styles like "kazoo funk guitar" and "cubist funk" (Waits) or fresh songwriters (Faithfull), to invest their art with vigour and new angles? Why aren't they content to rest on their laurels — do a McCartney or a Lou Reed or a Brian Wilson, say — and pull in the arena-size crowds?

Total word count of piece: 535

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