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Saturday 3 November 2007

When the Fairy Godmother Sings... Mary Black

I knew about this Celtic folk singer Mary Black back in 1989 with her release of the hit album called No Frontiers in the fraternity of high-end audio. This CD was almost a 'must listen' disc in any hi-fi shop in Singapore or Hong Kong then. If any pair of speakers; a CD player; or an amplifier could not produce the sweet voice of Mary Black, that piece of equipment would be stroke of the list of an audiophile looking for an upgrade. I wasn't looking for any equipment upgrade when I was listening to No Frontiers, but I was attracted by her mesmerising voice and the Celtic mood that she portrayed. The music in this disc is just so out of this world, especially the main track and the other two named 'Columbus' and 'Vanities.'

The follow-up album riding on her success of No Frontiers was the 1991 album of Babes in the Wood with the same style of music.

Since I was so impressed by her music which can be categorised as Celtic traditional, folk or world genre, I immediately acquired her 1994 album The Holy Ground. I love the song 'Paper Friends' for the tune and the lyrics in this album.

She changed her direction from Celtic traditional music to pop music in her 1995 release of The Circus. Although I was not as impressed as I was with the three earlier albums, I still pulled out the banknotes from my wallet to pay the girl at the cashier and walked out of the CD shop with this album in my haversack; as an attempt for my devotion to her music. There is still a more traditional song in this album called 'Free as Stone.'

Her evolution from traditional music to pop music was complete in the 1997 release of Shine. As I was not so pleased with her pop music, I still appreciated her and bought the CD. I'm not saying that her pop music is not good, it is still a notch or two above the average pop singers. But I was so mesmerised in her Celtic mood earlier that it was hard for me to adept to her pop music.

I think she realised that she's losing some of her audience in her traditional music. So she threw back some traditional elements into her 1999 album Speaking with the Angel. Since then, she turned inactive in the music scene, with just some releases of 'The Best of...' and 'The Collection of...' albums thereafter.

After years of collecting her albums, I managed to trace back her music older than No Frontiers. This is the tune from her 1987 album By the Time It Gets Dark.

This is yet another older album of her released back in 1985, Without the Fanfare. All the songs are great, especially this track called 'The Crow on the Cradle.'

In fact, all her albums come with top notch recording and sound quality. Her music has accompanied me through the years and I'll continue to play these albums in my collection over the many months and moons to come in my life. It has been part of my life.


Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed the pleasant trip down Mary Black’s lane.

I also love Paper Friends:

“No one knows what you're feeling
and life goes on in its own sweet time
Your passions flame for no reason
you haunt the city for something that shines
even one thing to rhyme”

I am going to look for her CD right now! Thank-you CK


Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

at the urging of a friend, i bought mary black's 'the collection' n i have not played this cd more than 5x in 15 years! is tt what is it, celtic music? too mournful for me.can give u the cd :)

CK Ng said...

Hi tiny bellows, I'm glad that you like Mary Black's music too, and I've helped her to sell another CD! :)

Hi terri, I know not everybody likes the Celtic traditional music, but I have to reckon that Mary Black is not as mournful as Enya la, haha! :D Thanks for the offer, but I have almost all the songs featured in 'The Collection.' Probably you should pass that on to another friend who likes Celtic music?

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