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Shine

3.3 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Mary Black

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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

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 24, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Curb
  • Run Time: 52 minutes
  • ASIN: B000000DI0
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #271,836 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Mary Black has a wonderful voice for pop/rock music. Her ballads and traditional folk may be more famous, and you wouldn't want to be a Mary Black fan without owning the sorts of titles for which she's more famous (BY THE TIME IT GETS DARK, for example) .... but SHINE shows that she's every bit as talented at pop/rock as she is at Irish ballad.
What people love about this singer is that she has some real volume to her voice, but at the same time, she manages to have the expressiveness normally associated with softer voices. You can feel every line she sings despite the impressive "umph".
I love the song MISUNDERSTOOD. I love it because even though it's a pop number - which means you can easily sing along, and believe me, it's catchy enough that you'll be tempted - she never sings a line as though she can't hear the words. Do you know what I'm talking about? Some singers hit the notes beautifully, but you feel like they could be saying ANYTHING because their voices focus on the melodies, not the words. Mary Black never seems to do that. She's singing a pop song, which means she can't linger too long on any one note, she has to keep moving to keep the catchy melody going. But every line comes out with awareness of the lyrics. This song is great. The line "I thought he was saying 'good luck', but he was saying 'goodbye'." would be boring in a lot of people's throats. But with her direct expressiveness, you can feel the hurt of his rejection. And what a catchy beat!
I also like the fact that isntrumentation on this album NEVER overpowers her lyrics and song. That's a trend that bothers me in pop music.
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Format: Audio CD
i first heard these songs while having lunch at an irish pub in boston - i was so impressed i asked the waitress who the singer was, and ran to my record store to buy the cd as soon as i returned home. my initial enthusiasm for this cd has not changed, the songs still sound great. i have come to realize that these soft rock songs are a little different from the folk songs that mary black is famous for, but that's ok, she has a powerful voice and the songs are good. everyone seems to love "I Misunderstood" , and i would also recommend " I Will Be There"
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Format: Audio CD
This is my favorite of all her albums. I love her Irish folk-songy style - but this one is completely different. I find it innovative with unusual and compelling sounds. Try it. It's different. It's Mary experimenting with different styles. I completely disagree with the main reviewer. I first heard this album over a decade ago and still find it wonderful. Btw, I've seen Mary in concert and even met her and chatted after that concert. She was lovely - and introduced me to her band and her daughter!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I saw Mary Black in concert when this recording was just released. It's a wonderful compilation of styles, most more modern than her CD's of more traditional Irish music. Lovely heartbreak and wry self- deprecating lyrics amid the uplifting message of " Shine".
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By A Customer on June 5, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I am an avid Mary Black fan, but I have to say that this one was a big disappointment. Not only is Declan Sinnott conspicuous by his abscence, but the percussion here is way too overbearing. It doesn't fit with the subtlety and beauty of Mary's lilting voice, no matter what kind of song she is delivering. Apparently producer Larry Klein isn't aware of that. Definitely not up to par with her other work.
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Format: Audio CD
I first listened this CD in a music market through headphones with tear filled eyes. Music is so inspired and heartfelt that I haven't listened anything comes close to it yet. David Gray is the main composer here and I became his fan after I have listened Late night Radio and all other his stuff in this CD. a MUST buy !!!
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Format: Audio CD
Mary Black has come a long way since her days as the dazzling but under-used vocalist with traditional Irish band De Danann. She left that band in 1986 to pursue a solo careeer, and has since become one of Ireland's most successful female vocalists - perhaps best known here for her work on the marvellous Irish compilation albums "A Woman's Heart" and "A Woman's Heart 2".
This latest release pulls together songs by some of the top pop/folk songwriters around. These include Richard Thompson, David Gray and Irish folkie-turned-rocker Paul Brady, who also sings on his track "I Will Be There" (recorded via an ISDN line from Melbourne). The bulk of the music was recorded in Hollywood using a mixture of Irish and American musicians - all strong performers. The result is far from disappointing, with tight musicianship highlighting thoughtful arrangements.
There's a harder edge to Mary Black's vocals throughout "Shine", perhaps reflecting the brooding feel to a number of the chosen songs. But perhaps it also shows her determination not to be boxed into any category, whether that be traditional Irish or American country. The mixture of instruments - fiddle, whistle and accordion; pedal steel guitar, bass and mandolin - gives a nod in each musical direction, but the overall result doesn't fall into either genre.
This gives the album a broad appeal, with plenty of light and shade, and lots of musical interest. Though there are many good songs, the life-affirming "Beautiful" is one standout track, with superb McGarrigles-like backing singing. "Shine" shows Mary Black to be right on song.
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