I mean a bang and I am going to give you a bang. Ever here of Ritchie Blackmore? SONG!
~gives the audience a chance to click on the link~
Yes? No? Ritchie Blackstormageddon?
You might be familiar with this Ritchie Blackmore, who was (and still will be) a member of Deep Purple from 1969 thru 1993 (off and on again), before he went onto form Rainbow (his post Deep Purple band) from 1975 to about 1997, which lead to the reason for this blog, Blackmore's Night a (quoting Wikipedia here) "Celtic, Folk, Neo-Mediaeval" band created circa 1997 to the present. Their newest album "Dancer and the Moon" was released this month.
|Ritchie and Candice Blackmore|
Basically if you go to a Renaissance Festival, that is the world that Blackmore's Night creates; frolicking with the fields, dancing under the moon, or enjoying nature. It's also very Paganistic in nature and quite popular with Witches, Wiccans, and Heathens. It is not limited by any one group of people, there is something for everyone with the scope of Blackmore's Night.
Blackmore's Night is made up of a husband and wife team, Ritchie and Candice (Night) Blackmore, whom met at a Rainbow concert in the 80's. Candice Night was a Rainbow fan and at a concert in 1989 and got to meet Ritchie (to get an autograph) and ended up formed a friendship that has spanned an over twenty year friendship. Both had a deep love for Renaissance music and that was the basis for what Blackmore's Night became. Where Deep Purple was a rock band and Rainbow seemed to become something more poetically lyrical, with a rock edge, BLackmore's Night was something more. By the time of Blackmore's Night some would have thought that Blackmore had done a 180 degree turn with the band's debut album in 1997, "Shadow of the Moon." It is vastly different, but I do want to point out that Blackmore and Night have transformed this genre into something quite respectable. Okay, that my opinion, but it seems very true nonetheless, as their popularity has grown. While the beginnings on Blackmore's Night feels more like a Renaissance Faire act, their later endevours are quite the magical, musical masterpiece that exists now.
I was introduced to Blackmore's Night in 1999 by my best friend at the time, Kerry, who came to visit me at college one weekend. She brought a couple of CD's that she thought I would be interested in, this included Mediaeval Babes (for another blog, another time) and a couple of Blackmore's Night's albums, "Shadow of the Moon" and "Under a Violet Moon". My boyfriend at the time (now husband, David) was kind enough to make me copies (back before all this copyright crap and when CD burners cost almost 200.00). I tell you this, I was in love! The combination of the lyrics that flowed like poetry, Candice's amazing vocals, and the my deep love for anything and everyone Renaissance based, it was match made in heaven.
Candice writes most of the songs, her lyrics are striking and beautiful. Many of the songs are story based songs (which are songs that I love), simply because of that reason. Not of the songs are of original, Blackmore's pulls a number of traditional songs that range from the 10th century to modern rock ballads from many of Ritchie's former and current colleagues. They have covered everything from Greensleeves, a folk ballad written about 1580, near as one can tell from records at the London Stationer's Company (the place to publish music back in the 15th and 16th century), Rainbow songs such as Self-Portrait, to Elvis Presley, Jethro Tull, Joan Osborne, The Kinks, and now Randy Newman to name a few. Also, Ritchie, who composes all the music, has 3 or 4 short instrumental tracks on each album. So each album usually has quite the collection of material on it.
Not to exclude the band, so what can I say about Blackmore's Night band? They are as eclectic as Ritchie and Candice are and that makes them a perfect fit. Over the years the members have changed, much in the same way as Deep Purple and Rainbow (I see a theme here), it has not diminished the music at all. I think in many way the different band members over the years has been liken to a changing of the guard (s), they all serve the greater purpose, to make amazing music!
Their first two albums are strictly in the realm of Celtic Folk, really Minstrel Folk would be a better title, but once their third album "Fires at Midnight" came out, you can tell that Ritchie and Candice were building something different, something amazing. There was a return to the rock sound of Ritchie's history, probably more like Rainbow than Deep Purple. I will admit that I have never heard much of Rainbow before 2000, but in the recent years I have come to realize that Deep Purple morphed into Rainbow, which in-turn morphed what Blackmore's Night is currently, a rock band that is rooted in poetry and the Renaissance. Note: check out their website: Blackmore's Night
Okay, it's recommendation time, if you are interested in Blackmore's Night, but prefer the edgier rock sound and the awesome guitar playing of Mr. Blackmore, I would say that you start with 2001's "Fires at Midnight", it's more of what you would expect from Rainbow, not quite Deep Purple. Now with that being said, I am quite fond of the Minstrel folk sounds that they started off with and would recommend their first to albums 1997's "Shadow of the Moon" and 1999's "Under a Violet Moon". "Under a Violet Moon" is my person favourite.
Wish You Were Here" is a cover of a cover by the Swedish techno/bluegrass group Rednex, and yes you have that song stuck in your head now. Blackmore's Night's cover is WAY better, in my opinion at least, but hey, at least it's different, right?
1. Shadow of the Moon
2. The Clock Ticks On
3. Renaissance Faire
5. Wish You Were Here
1. Under a Violet Moon
2. Wind in the Willows
3. Spanish Nights (I Remember It Well)
4. Self Portrait
1. The Times They Are a Changin'
2. I Still Remember
3. Fires at Midnight
4. Benzai-Ten (A Japanese Water Goddess of Music/Art, has Dragons has her Guardians)
2. Way to Mandalay
3. Ghost of a Rose
4. Rainbow Blues
1. Once in a Million Years
2. Ghost of a Rose (re-recorded version)
3. Now and Then (re-recorded version)
1. Street of Dreams
2. Village Lanterne
3. Olde Mill Inn
4. I Guess It Doesn't Matter Anymore
1. Locked Within the Crystal Ball
2. Can't Help Falling in Love
3. Sister Gypsy
4. The Circle
2. Sake Of The Song
3. Vagabond (Make A Princess of Me)
4. Health To The Company
1. I Think It's Going to Rain Today (Randy Newman, from the movie "Beaches")
2. Dancer and the Moon
Whew! That's 8 studio albums in 26 years, that includes 2 live albums ("Pass Times with Good Company" and "A Night in York") 2 concert DVD/CD's ("Castles and Dreams" and "Paris Moon", and a Christmas Album ("Winter Carols"). Quite the prolific group and that's not counting Ritchie's work with Rainbow or Deep Purple.
Candice Night, "Reflections" (2012)
1. Gone Gone Gone
2. Wind is Calling
3. Now and Then (2011 version)