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3.8 out of 5 stars
13
3.8 out of 5 stars
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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.
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on 26 December 2004
Mary's music transcends the usual Irish music catagories - to pidgeonhole it to one area does not do it justice.
Mary's wonderful voice combined with the songwriting and playing skills of a number of international musicians results in something very special.
Do not miss "The Best of Mary Black" - but expect to want to buy all her other discs to date.
There's only one recommendation I can make higher than "The Best of Mary Black" - HEAR HER LIVE!!!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 6 February 2012
A very good introduction to Mary Black indeed.Thirty tracks, mostly excellent- beautifully arranged, sung and recorded variations on acoustic flavored Celtic pop -folk. As an added attraction there are appearances by Mary Chapin Carpenter,Paul Brady ,Emmylou Harris and other star names to broaden out the appeal of this set. Also,it ought to be mentioned that Dara Records have provided an accompanying booklet with lyrics and annotation by Mary,making for added insight into the music, so this is no quick -buck , product.

For those who don't know, Mary has a beautiful voice - gentle but with an inner strength and a surprising range and versatility.Her appeal lies in her ability to inhabit a song,so that even familiar tunes likes like 'Who Knows Where The Time Goes' and 'Say a Little Prayer' become not so much cover versions, but refashioned and refreshed interpretations of real emotional worth. Sometimes however the material becomes either too cloying or too worthy,but at least Mary is aiming at profundity and depth of feeling,even if her efforts occasionally misfire. Despite that minor criticism , this is a lovely collection, one that has brought me a great deal of pleasure and I sure will do likewise for those who like the simple pleasures of listening to a great singer performing with honesty and sensitivity for her material and it's message.

Top tracks include:'Ae Fond Kiss','Summer Sent You','Good Morning Heartache' and 'I'll be There For You'.
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on 27 July 2013
Apart from Marys Hits you get the addition of a collection of songs that were recorded live on the second CD. A great version of Who knows where the time goes, Dylans Ring them Bells ARE JUST A FEW OF THE HIGHLIGHTS.
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on 3 January 2004
Mary Black's music is amazing. Her vocal has a eiry yet magical overtone. It allows you to sink into a world of your own and enjoy the mystic irish music.The combination of songs is great.
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on 30 January 2013
Love Mary Black but did not like this album,agree with another reviewer about the second disc,some really good songs on it but whoever is responsible for the arrangements has a lot to answer for,dull, lifeless and uninspiring,this also applies to some of the tracks on disc 1,sorry Mary but this is so unlike you.
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on 14 March 2012
I bought this CD on impulse after hearing Mary Black's wondrous voice singing "The Turning Away". I'm very much into folklore and songs (not of Ireland only but all countries) and having been exposed to the likes of Riverdance, Clannad, Secret Garden and Enya - I was gone for all money. There is something that each country can do that represents itself innocently in song and makes it an everlasting memory for generations to come. Yes, I would recommend this CD for a glimpse into that world.
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on 22 September 2008
I came to Mary Black's music via "Mary Black Collected" where all the songs are recorded pre 1988 when she had a vibrant passionate singing voice. I was hoping for more of this spine tingling singing however "The song for Ireland" which appears on both CDs is just boring on "The Best of Mary Black". Other cover songs like "Who knows where the time goes" are much better sung by the original artist as Mary unfortunately brings nothing new.
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on 26 April 2011
Mary Black is a fantastic singer but I think this album was a rip off. The second disc contained most of the tracks on the first and she appeared to be singing in a strange way, ie, not the normal Mary Black. Very disappointed with this album.
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on 23 May 2015
Gorgeous album. My husband doesn't seem to be able to play anything else since I bought this for him. Beautiful singer.
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