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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 13 November 2015
I originally had this album on tape - remember those? - back in the early 90's and always loved it.

This is a compilation of Mary Black's early albums, some of the best of her career, with 'The Moon & St. Christopher', 'No Frontiers', 'Carolina Rua', 'Katie' and 'Only A Woman's Heart' being the pick of the bunch.

In time I wore out the tape, hence the purchase of the CD here. The only fault? On the tape was 'Song For Ireland', not included here.

Pity that.

But here's a great compilation of one of Ireland's finest female singers; some cracking songs and some cracking performances....
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on 3 August 2017
class songd
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VINE VOICEon 31 March 2004
It always saddens me a bit that UK music fans tend to think of Mary Black as "Oirish" (in the vein of the nation which gave us Val Doonican, Michael Flatley and Westlife). There's no denying her loyalty to the land of her birth and the cultural influences that have shaped her; but to think of Mary Black as simply an "Irish" singer is to do an injustice to her vast repertoire, her huge range of influences which range from jazz, through country, to Celtic folk-song and alternative rock, and the sheer beauty of her voice. Nowhere is this diverse range of influences better showcased than on this album, a collection of some of the most outstanding recordings from her first 10 years or so as a solo artist. The result is an album of immense musical and emotional depth, gentle enough on the ears to allow you to drift off to sleep with it as your accompaniment, but packing a phenomenal emotional punch with subtlety and grace.
The best-known tracks on this collection are the now almost-cliched "Song for Ireland" and "Only a Woman's Heart" (the latter of which gave birth to a whole industry of compilation CD making...). However these are far from the best tracks on the album, and their sheer familiarity now rather lets them down as songs in their own right. The real treasure here lies in tracks like the beautiful album-opener "The Moon and St. Christopher", borrowed from Mary Chapin Carpenter, the haunting "Katie" with its suggestions of mourning for a runaway child, and the quirky "Tearing Up the Town". A more upbeat note is struck with the witty "Vanities" and the bright, sparkling "Carolina Rua", although the studio recording of the latter does lack some of the sparkle which the song receives in her live shows. My personal favourites are "Adam at the Window", a metaphor on childbirth and ageing which is just crammed full of double meanings, and the haunting "Columbus", whose combination of cello, piano and ethereal vocals provides the most breathtaking moment on an already fine album.
For those who like their songwriting deep and thoughtful (and Mary Black has a knack of collaborating with some of the finest, if most underrated, songwriters around), performed with beauty and magic, it really is difficult to better this collection. For newcomers to the art of Mary Black, this is an excellent introduction. If you're anything like me, this CD will be on constant rotation for years to come.
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on 5 September 2000
Mary Black may have emerged from the rich wellspring of the Irish folk tradition (being a member of the legendary Black family and a former vocalist with traditional acts such as De Danaan) but her repertoire spans a wide spectrum with modern ballads, jazz, soul, country and traditional Irish influences freely intermingled. This collection, dating from the mid-1990s, draws from the early solo albums. The emphasis is on beautiful, poignant balladry, making this album a perfect complement to a late night with low lighting, wine and candles, or to a bright fresh sunny afternoon.
Classics such as "Song for Ireland" and "Only a Woman's Heart" are well-known and had to be included, but are far from the finest material on the album. For pure wistfulness the opening ballad, a cover of Mary Chapin Carpenter's "The Moon and St. Christopher", is unsurpassed. "No Frontiers" tells a harder-edged story, and is the closest thing on this album to a protest song. "Carolina Rua" and "Tearing Up the Town" tell a brighter, slightly wilder story; "Katie" and "Ellis Island" ache for the loss of loved ones; and "Adam at the Window" is a gem of sheer sensuality. The stand-out track, however, is Noel Brazil's "Columbus", a bizarre, mysterious and deeply angst-ridden lament for the lives we never dare to live, with exquisite percussion and cello to add to the atmosphere of being lost in the middle of a deep dark ocean.
This is music to make you laugh or cry. Music by which to enjoy romance, or to remember it.
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on 27 October 2008
There are two different issues of this CD: one by Dara (DaraCD046) and one by Grapevine (GRACD 010). For some reason, there are differences in the tracks between the two versions. "Collection" on the DaraCD label substitutes "Past the Point of Rescue" for "Vanities" and "Roisin" instead of "Song For Ireland". The version here on Amazon is the Dara version. You will not find "Song for Ireland" on it ! Which as that was the main track I wanted, was a bit of a disappointment.

That said, this is a great CD, well up to the standard one expects of Mary Black.
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on 24 March 2014
I Love a lot of the Tracks on this Album . There are so many Bright Blue Rose , Katie, carolina rua and the moon and st christopher .. Past the point of Rescue. and the one i love best "There's a train that leaves to night " I just Love this Last Track . very jazz
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on 26 September 2013
A real let down, as Song for Ireland is one of my favourite tracks. I bought this to replace a cassette tape, which has been nearly played to death over the years. Severely miffed, hence three stars and not five. Don't tamper with something that aint broken!
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on 1 July 2003
Wow...what a cheesy title for a review but seriously, this is a fantastic album that will give you all three of these! The songs are a great mixture: up-lifting, thoughtful and relaxing and never cease to entertain me each time I listen! Buy..buy...buy
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on 12 February 2014
A great collection of all of Mary Black's best loved songs. Great recording quality. Great value for money! Highly recommended!
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on 6 April 2015
Excellent compilation with one or two brilliant numbers.
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