- Released: September 1, 1993
- Label: Gift Horse
- 1.Summer Sent You
- 2.One Way Donkey Ride
- 3.The Loving Time
- 4.Golden Thread
- 5.The Holy Ground
- 6.Treasure Island
- 7.The Holy Ground
- 8.Flesh and Blood
- 10.Lay Down Your Burden
- 11.Paper Friends
- 12.Poison Words
Personnel: Mary Black, Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh (vocals); Declan Sinnott (guitar, lap steel guitar, mandola, background vocals); Frank Gallagher (fiddle, whistle, synthesizer); Pat Crowley (accordion, piano, background vocals); Carl Geraghty (saxophone); Garvan Gallagher (upright bass); Dave Early (drums, percussion); Mel Mercier (tabla).
Vanbrugh String Quartet: Gregory Ellis, Elizabeth Charleson (violins); Simon Aspel (viola); Christopher Marwood (cello).
Recorded at Windmill Lane Studios, Dublin, Ireland from January to April 1993.
Personnel: Mary Black (vocals); Mair‚ad N¡ Mhaonaigh (vocals); Declan Sinnott (guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, lap steel guitar, Spanish guitar, mandolin, synthesizer, background vocals); Frank Gallagher (fiddle, synthesizer); Pat Crowley (accordion, piano, electric piano, background vocals); Carl Geraghty (saxophone, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); Garvan Gallagher (double bass, electric bass); Dave Early (drums, congas, percussion); Mel Mercier (tabla).
Recording information: Windmill Lane Studios, Ringsend Road, Dublin, Ireland (01/1993-04/1993).
Photographer: Colm Henry.
Unknown Contributor Role: Garvan Gallagher.
After initial albums showcasing her eclectic Celtic sensibilities, followed by attempts to move into a more mainstream arena, Mary Black combines the best of all her musical powers on THE HOLY GROUND, creating distinct, rich characters on each of the songs. The theme of seeking a holy ground or a place to find a respite is the album's guiding force.
In a traditional Irish song, Black sings about a woman who waits patiently for her man to come home from the sea to spend time with her, only to watch him leave again. And in a pop song, she sings about a girl who seems to have everything at home but eventually knows she must grow up and leave to find her own personal higher ground. Black's interpretation of both these songs provides such a complete narrative thread that the two women seem interchangeable. On the Sandy Denny-penned "One Way Donkey Ride," the folk-rock sound fits Black's voice perfectly. The album ends with "Poison Words," a bitter retelling of a marriage gone sour, leaving Black, as well as her audience, wondering about the nature of love. Almost a song cycle, THE HIGHER GROUND is a satisfying musical journey.