Monday, April 21, 2008

now playing: Mary Black: 25 years 25 songs

It’s been twenty five years since Mary Black’s first solo album. The songs on the Irish singer's first disc included the traditional Anachie Gordon, as well as music by Karla Bonoff and a version of God Bless the Child, made famous by Billie Holiday. “It didn’t really do much to clarify what kind of singer I was,” Black recalled, laughing. “It did have a bit of a folkie feel. but it’s not an album of folk songs.” Nor have any other of her recordings been. “I always want to choose strong material,” she said, “and something I feel I can work with and interpret and express something, and add something to the song.”

Both the strength of her song choices and the individuality of her interpretation are apparent through the pieces on her 25th anniversary collection. Anachie Gordon is there, along with another early favorite, Katie. Songs which became international hits for the singer as her career continued, including the classic song of hope against the odds, No Frontiers, the unique and and uplifting take on love in Summer Sent You, and the almost anthemic Song For Ireland, are all here. It’s not a greatest hits album, though. Rather it's one which Black chose from fan favorites and some of her own -- Columbus, for example, is one she especially wanted on the album. One that was a classic hit across Ireland and the world, Only a Woman’s Heart, is one that made the cut, as is Pat Alger’s romantic Once in a Very Blue Moon and the fine and earthy Flesh and Blood. All the songs have been remastered from the originals, and several, including Song for Ireland, have been remixed as well. There are two newly recorded songs in the two disc package, also, a cover of Tom Waits’ bittersweet I f I Have to Go and a quiet, celebratory love song Black wrote with her son Danny O’Reilly, called Sweet Love. Strong material, creative singer, well done presentation....liner notes include lyrics and one would have wished for a few comments from Black on the songs, but choosing to let the words and music stand on their own without comment is also a strong choice.

The recording is available in Ireland and will shortly be released in Europe. A US release date has not been set, but it’s possible to order the disc online from Black’s website.

update: the album is available in the US now through Amazon. here is a link Twenty Five Years-Twenty Five Songs

Here too are further links to explore this albums and Mary's other recordings

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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