Top positive review
29 people found this helpful
its the hidden bit that counts!
on 12 November 2001
This is an unusual 'best of'. In fact it is two different ways to understand the title. Disc 1 is a traditional 'best of' containing some of the best songs from Mary's albums since 'The Holy Ground' up until 'Speaking With the Angel'. It also contains two previously unreleased songs, Eileen Laverty's 'Wildest Dreams' and Steve Cooney's 'Just a Journey'. Both are good and probably worth the investment if there was only this disc on offer. Happily there are another 54 minutes on Disc 2 and it is this disc that is the more interesting. Called 'Hidden Harvest' it might have been called 'Hidden Treasure' and it is here we have the other concept of 'best of'. Rather than a selection of previously released recordings this offers Mary Black at her best, and at her most versatile. There is Mary the interpreter of classic contemporary folk songs ( a crystal clear 'Who Knows Where the Time Goes'), Mary the folk/pop singer ('Into the Blue'), Mary the accomplished blues/jazz singer (a beautiful Billie Holiday's 'Good Morning Heartache'), Mary the excellent interpreter of traditional songs ( lovely versions of 'Ae Fond Kiss' and 'Bruach na Carraige Baine', with Seamus Begley), Mary the country singer ('Sony', with Emmylou Harris and Dolores Keane), and Mary Black the sublime live performer. And it is these live tracks in particular that make this CD such a gem. It has always puzzled me why she has never released a live album as none of her studio albums match her live work ( much as I love them). All the live tracks are great but 'Without the Fanfare', which most suitably ends this collection, is the one that really does transport you into the concert hall. Anyone who has seen Mary Black live more than a few times will no doubt have heard her sing this as an encore. It is light years away from the studio version and concludes an album that may well be Mary Black's finest output so far. It is certainly why the collection as a whole deserves maximum rating.