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Stories From the Steeples

Mary BlackVinyl
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

Price: $43.10 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Stories From the Steeples + By the Time It Gets Dark + Holy Ground
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Product Details

  • Vinyl (February 19, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Pure Pleasure
  • ASIN: B00A50PE92
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #588,186 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Mary is back at her best with her much anticipated first studio album in 6 years! Stories from The Steeples' features the hit singles in Ireland Walkin With My Love (with Finbar Furey) and Marguerite And The Gambler. The album also features collaborations with Imelda May (Mountains To The Sea) and Janis Ian (Lighthouse Light). In a gatefold sleeve.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Mary Black could have named this album, Stories from the Hall Of Fame. She I join for duets on three tunes by the revered vocal likes of Janis Ian, the Irish legends, Finbar Furey and Imelda May, who has topped the Irish charts more than once.

And the tunes. Ahh, the tunes. The song writers are amongst the best breathing. "Fifi The Flea" by the Hollies, Graham Nash, Tony Hicks and Allan Clarke, Australia's own Paul Kelly. There's three tunes written by the lead singer of the Irish Pop/rock group The Coronas, proving that Danny O'Reilly is more than just a rocker.

And it's fitting that Black receive this kind of support. Mary Black was a star in Ireland in the late `70s as a member of General Humbert, and in the early `80s she went solo. But it wasn't until 1990, after winning the Irish Independent Arts Award For Music, that she crossed the pond. In `89, she cut the multi-Platinum album, No Frontiers. She was gaining audience and critical acclaim throughout the world. With sellout crowds in the U.S., England, Europe, and Japan under her belt, she cut the album The Holy Ground, which was certified Platinum the day it hit the streets.

That success brought the opportunity to not only bring her music to America, but a chance to headline along side legendary performers such as Emmylou Harris, Joan Baez, Mary Chapin Carpenter and fellow countryman, Van Morrison.

Mary Black sings traditional and contemporary folk songs. This isn't the "new age" Celtic songs of Enya, nor is it the pop/rock of Sinead O'Connor, though in Ireland she is considered as much of a star female vocalist as either of them.

The songs on Stories From the Steeples are brilliant and beautiful, celebrating love, life, loss and struggle. Black's voice is at once, strong yet fragile.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally a new release, very much worth the wait. November 29, 2011
By Dean
In some respects the same magic formula Mary's fans have come to expect: the best female vocalist of our time (or of all time),outstanding songs,and first class musicians. Added to the mix this time are all three of her children and husband, Imelda May, Finbar Furey, and Janis Ian. Three songs were written by son Danny. He has a bright future ahead as a song writer. He also contributes guitar, and other son Conor adds bass guitar and backing vocals. Daughter Roisin does stellar backing vocals, and husband Joe backing vocals. Imelda, Janis, and Finbar each share a song with Mary. Pat Crowley and the rest of the band shine as usual, bringing their talent to these wonderful songs that Mary always manages to mine from some of the very best song writers. Intelligent lyrics that present stories that create images in your mind. As expected love stories are here, but also family situations during troubled times, anti-war, traveling, old time American western, and a children's song are all covered. The last song, One in a Million is an incredible, brilliant tale of love and life previously performed by Chris Wood and written by Hugh Lupton. Many thanks to Hugh for creating such a masterpiece and to Chris for performing it so that Mary could give it the charm only she can. An outstanding compilation worth waiting for, but I hope the next one comes soon. If this doesn't make you happy and make you cry you might want to check yourself for a pulse. Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
I'm a bit late to the "party" to celebrate the release of this first new studio album from Irish singer Mary Black, but I'll add my "two cents" - and my five stars - to those who have come before me. Robert Carraher's review is so detailed in his track listings, that I'll try to repeat much.

First off, the title of the album, and the cover illustration, might lead those not familiar with Black to think this is a collection of ballads about knights and castles and other Irish tales. In fact, it refers to the recording studio (The Steeples) where most of the tracks were recorded. Black has a gorgeous voice (I've always loved her music) and it fits many styles. Track 3 "Mountains To The Sea", though written by two Australian songwriters would fit in perfect on a country radio playlist. The saxophone solo accompanying Black on "Faith In Fate" is pure soulful jazz.

As noted elsewhere, there's a "family affair" going on here with three of the 11 "core" songs being composed by Black's son, Danny O'Reilly. One of her daughters joins her on two tracks while another daughter joins in (along with the other children) on another. The special guests, Janis Ian, Imelda May and Finbar Furay add nicely to the mix but it's Black's voice that keeps the album consistently beautiful. ("One True Place" was the only song I felt was weak in the lyrical sense, but Black's vocals and the production, helped me overlook its shortcomings.)

The CD comes with a 20-page booklet with all the lyrics (except for the "bonus track" - a cover of The Hollies "Fifi The Flea" that plays after a 20-second period of silence when "One Tue Place" ends.) plus some photos and illustrations.

I hope it's not another six years before Black heads back to the studio. Her gorgeous vice and great choice of songs will be surely missed.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed August 8, 2012
By Steben
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Mary Black is outstanding, as usual, but the selection of songs is disappointing. The melodic magic of Irish music is missing. I have many Mary Black CDs that I listen to over and over...this is not one of them.
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