Speaking with the Angel

Speaking with the Angel

4.5 2
by Mary Black
     
 

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Mary Black has one of the most remarkable voices in music today. Cool and clear as a mountain stream, it is also pregnant with the pain of love and loss. SPEAKING WITH THE ANGEL finds the Irish superstar inhabiting a lush set of songs that warmly swaddles and showcases her breathtaking voice. Black brings passion and sensitivity to her interpretations of the best… See more details below

Overview

Mary Black has one of the most remarkable voices in music today. Cool and clear as a mountain stream, it is also pregnant with the pain of love and loss. SPEAKING WITH THE ANGEL finds the Irish superstar inhabiting a lush set of songs that warmly swaddles and showcases her breathtaking voice. Black brings passion and sensitivity to her interpretations of the best contemporary songwriters, from Dougie Maclean's "Turning Away" to John Gorka's understated letter to a former lover, "Cut by Wire." This time out, she's enlisted Irish folk revivalist Donal Lunny to help her produce the tracks. Together they create sophisticated soundscapes with shimmering guitars, Lunny's bouzouki, and the sparing use of harmonica, whistles, and accordion. Lunny's influence is particularly strong in the driving but subtle percussion that frames "Bless the Road" and on the collection's emotional tour de force, "Fall at Your Feet." A gorgeous cover of Sting's "Fields of Gold" closes this rich and beautiful album. Kerry Dexter

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Evan Cater
Ironically, traditional folk vocalist Mary Black's first American release (Shine) buried her traditional Irish roots in glossy pop production, obscuring the very quality that interested the labels in the first place. Speaking with the Angel corrects the errors of its predecessor by bringing Black back to her folky origins. The result is not only more marketable, it's also more genuine, more innovative and more listenable. Though production duties are split between Donal Lunny, a ubiquitous presence in Celtic circles, Steve Cooney and Black herself, the sound of the record is remarkably consistent and cohesive. The electronic keyboards that have played a leading role in many of Black's recent efforts are reduced here to tasteful cameos, replaced by the mellow warmth of acoustic guitar, bouzouki, accordion, piano, fiddle, harp and flute. Some of Black's other regrettable tendencies -- oversinging, sentimentality -are present, though in palatable doses. And there are two excruciatingly perky pop songs ("Message of Love," "Big Trip to Portland") that shouldn't have made the final cut. But for the most part, Black is very successful at finding the heart of the songs she's chosen and expressing them with honesty and reserve. Which is especially gratifying since she's chosen some excellent songs. Among the artists covered in this collection are Dougie McLean, John Gorka, Ron Sexsmith, and Neil Finn. She does justice to all of them and even improves on Sting's "Fields of Gold" with a soft, lilting version that features a graceful harmonica solo by Brendan Power.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/07/2000
Label:
Curb Mod Afw
UPC:
0715187795822
catalogNumber:
77958
Rank:
1314

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Mary Black   Primary Artist,Vocals,Background Vocals,Bodhran
Dónal Lunny   Bouzouki,Guitar,Background Vocals,Electric Bouzouki
James Blennerhassett   Electric Bass,Double Bass
Liam Bradley   Drums,Tambourine
Noel Bridgeman   Percussion
Nollaig Casey   Fiddle
Steve Cooney   Guitar,Percussion,Didjeridu,Double Bass
Pat Crowley   Piano,Accordion,Keyboards,Electric Piano,Background Vocals,Hammond Synth
Liam O'Flynn   Whistle (Instrument),uillean pipes
Ciarán Tourish   Fiddle
Brendan Power   Harmonica
Frank Gallagher   Fiddle,Viola,Whistle (Instrument),Low Whistle
Lloyd Byrne   Percussion
Bill Shanley   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals
Martin Brunsden   Vibes
Laoise Kelly   Harp
Billy Robinson   Bass

Technical Credits

Dónal Lunny   Producer
Mary Black   Arranger,Producer
Tim Finn   Composer
Steve Cooney   Producer
Neil Finn   Composer
Billy Robinson   Engineer
Tony Perrey   Engineer

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