Speaking With The Angel CD Review
by Mary Black
Nashville, TN 37203
This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 5/00
"Kevin's Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
Calling upon an array of songwriters, Mary Black's latest release uses these lyrical talents to sensitively thread through matters of personal acknowledgment, co-existence, healing and renewal. Enjoining Black's marvelous vocal ability to these songs makes this one of the year's best offerings as she has the ability to both delicately take a song under her wing and also powerfully seize a tune and make it her own. She displays both gifts here.
She employs Dougie McLean's songwriting accomplishments twice with "Turning Away" and "Broken Wings." Rod Quinn's rhythmic percussion and drum work drives her version of "Turning Away." "Broken Wings" has a velvety backing, with guitar, double bass, whistle, Uileann pipes and organ all subtlely elevating the tune's beauty.
"Cut By Wire," utilizes the tune "Lord Franklin." A relationship reminiscence, Black sings:
- "...And so I write you in a minor key
Wondering if there's something left for me
I'm only writing so that I can sleep
I never found another love as deep
You work in porcelain cut by wire
Now as ever lovers walk through fire
When we were breaking we made no sound
The pieces almost touching on the ground"
- "...Then go in peace and grow in grace and goodness
Know that you have nothing to fear
And dry your eyes my little one
And let there be no tears
Send me a dream from away beyond
I promise I shall hear
Oh beautiful beloved soul companion
Thank you for those beautiful years
And heaven hold and watch your way forever
May your every dream come true
Forgive all wrong, always be strong
And do what you must do..."
- "...Spirit of love, spirit of life
Help us to be strong, help us to do right
Here is our chance, to heal the old scars
Learn a new way to dance to the song of the stars
With a message of love
I hear the butterflies dreaming, in the shimmering air
I feel the power of life, a flowering fire everywhere
I sing the tree, and the dove, the eagle, the fox and the hare
The right to exist is our right, we all share
It's a message of love..."
- "...He don't know how to lie
Or undermine you
He don't know how to steal
How to deal or deceive
So leave him alone, set him free
Cause he's speaking with the angel
That only he can see...
He in the name of love
He in the blood of the lamb
He that never lays blame
He don't even know his name
Leave him alone, let him be
Cause he's speaking with angel
Speaking with the angel
The very one that spoke to you and me
Oh, do you remember?"
Sting's "Fields of Gold" is a bonus track. Black slows down the melody of her version, utilizing her voice first and foremost to carry the tune.
This is not a celtic music release per se--Black's utilizes musicians proficient in instruments often associated with the celtic sound but this release is more a compilation of songs upon which Black applies her trademark exquisite vocals. In my book, that's more than good enough.
Black is backed by Donal Lunny on guitar, bouzouki, electric bouzouki and backing vocals; Bill Shanley on acoustic guitar, electric guitar and backing vocals; Rod Quinn on drums and percussion; James Blennerhasset on double bass and electric bass; Liam O'Flynn on whistle and Uileann pipes; Steve Cooney on guitar, didjeridu, percussion and double bass; Pat Crowley on keyboards, electric piano, Hammond and accordion and backing vocals; Brendan Power on harmonica; Frank Gallagher on low whistle, viola and fiddle; Alvin Sweeney on backing vocals; Ciaran Tourish on fiddle; Nollaig Casey on fiddle; Brian Dunning on flutes; Paddy Cole on clarinet; Laoise Kelly on harp; Liam Bradley on tambourine and drums; Lloyd Byrne on percussion; Noel Bridgeman on percussion and backing vocals; Liam Bradley on backing vocals; Liam O. Moanlai on backing vocals; and Colin Dunne with dancing feet.
- Turning Away (4:51) Dougie McLean
- Cut By Wire (4:25) Geoff Bartley/John Gorka
- Don't Say Okay (3:51) Shane Howard
- Bless The Road (3:41) Steve Cooney
- Broken Wings (4:57) Dougie McLean
- Fall At Your Feet (3:34) Neil Finn
- Message Of Love (4:03) Steve Cooney
- Moments (3:49) Bryn Martin Haworth
- Speaking With The Angel (3:23) Ron Sexsmith
- Big Trip To Portland (4:31) Noel Brazil
- I Live Not Where I Love (4:50) Traditional
- Fields Of Gold (4:18) Sting
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