Mary Black: By the Time It Gets Dark
By the Time It Gets Dark
Listening to Mary Black's recently released collection Twenty Five Years Twenty Five Songs has had me going back to look out the some of her earlier albums. There are two songs from this 1987 collection on the retrospective release, Pat Alger's’ Once in a Very Blue Moon and the title track, By the Time It Gets Dark. As with all of Black’s albums, her choices here show her wide ranging taste in the search for good songs and her ability to understand and add to the songwriters’ meanings.
This recording has eleven tracks and two bonus cuts [the bomus cuts were recorded live at the Cork Opera House]. Richard Thompson, Noel Brazil. Ewan MacColl, Jimmy McCarthy, Sandy Denny, Henry Mancini, Billie Holiday, a traditional song and an instrumental -- that’s just part of what’s on here, and even more interesting that her choice of music is that Black makes it all work, and all work together. It’s also true that, some twenty one years after it first came out, out stands as clear and fresh as it did back then. Over the years, Black has moved toward more sparse arrangements than she has here, and that’s to the good, but these too are uncluttered and serve the music. If there could be said to be a theme that runs through the songs, it might be change, and moving on, and recognizing that though there’s hard stuff in doing that, it may lead to good as well. All that as seen through the eyes of many fine songwriters and musicians and one gifted singer. Outstanding tracks include Trying to Get the Balance Right, Leaboy’s Lassie, and the title track.
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