Review of "Michael Black" by The Irish Times
Michael Black Compass Records ***
There's enough pristine music tucked inside this solo collection from the eldest of the Black brothers (scion of the Dublin clan that includes Mary and Frances) to power a rocket. Guitarist and producer John Doyle draws sparkling arrangements together from a stellar cast (including Seamus Egan, Liz Carroll, Chico Huff and Dirk Powell), yet Michael Black's declamatory singing style at times overpowers his refreshingly eclectic song choices. He coaxes The Willow Tree into the light delicately, yet Tarry Flynn and Don't Laugh at Me suffer from an abundance of dogma that threaten to overwhelm them. Subtle harmonies from Frances, Mary and members of the next Black generation modulate the mood a little, but a touch more restraint at the frontline might have served this otherwise fascinating collection well.
www.compassrecords.com Siobhán Long