Mary Black: The Dimming Of The Day
I'm cheating a little here, posting a cover which I've handled recently. But I suppose sharing it is a sort of penance, at that. Because although Mary Black's sort of folk music once turned saccharine in my ears, I've recently come around to the Irish siren, even posting a full-fledged feature on her long career at the top of the Irish trad-pop scene over at Cover Lay Down.
And now that I've come around, of all the covers of this song I carry in a coverblogger's collection, this one stands out, even among classic takes from Bonnie Raitt and, more recently, a Grammy-winning Alison Krauss. Something about the purity of Black's voice at the height of its potency, and how perfectly the full orchestral ebb, sway, and pulse of her everpresent production carries it into the depths of the universal core. Something about how the fluid calm builds into the emotional storm, crashing like thunder, flashing like rain. Something about the sadness of a song of longing, written and first performed by a married couple whose narrative of commitment belied a storm of their own, once which would eventually tear them apart.
The Dimming of the Day has always been one of my favorite songs from Richard and Linda Thompson. And it's especially poignant if you consider that it springs from a time when they were both deeply searching for themselves, their relationship already fracturing, held together mostly by the power of their own music.