This product is manufactured on demand using CD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.
Mary Black's first seven solo albums were all recorded in Ireland, with producer Declan Sinnott crafting a fine balance between Celtic folk music and international pop--and every one of them climbed to the top of the Irish charts. It was a successful formula but it was becoming a bit predictable, so Black decided to cut her eighth album, Shine
, in Los Angeles with Joni Mitchell's longtime collaborator Larry Klein as producer. As might be expected, there are fewer Irish folk flavors in the music and more L.A. singer-songwriter influences. The results, though, don't resemble Mitchell's cutting-edge folk-jazz so much as Linda Ronstadt's adult-contemporary pop.
Black remains a special singer; her husky mezzo manages to be intimate and powerful at the same time. She's not a songwriter, however, so she's utterly dependent on her material. Unfortunately, Shine is dominated by the sort of melodramatic melodies and sentimental lyrics that might have been intended for Celine Dion. Black isn't guilty of Dion's over-the-top bombast, but Black can't inject much subtlety into simple-minded songs that urge us to "Shine" and enlighten us that "Nobody Lives Without Love." It's only when Black returns to the work of such proven songwriters as Richard Thompson ("I Misunderstood") and Paul Brady ("I Will Be There") that she reminds us what a dramatic interpreter she can be. --Geoffrey Himes