Blackmore’s Night – “All Our Yesterdays” CD/DVD (Frontiers Music)
Formed in the late 90s as an intentional departure from his legendary bands Deep Purple and Rainbow, guitar god Ritchie Blackmore needs no introduction, and certainly has never been forgotten, despite spending the last 18 years in the elusive and mystical Blackmore’s Night, a so called ‘renaissance music’ band. Complete with medieval outfits, and encouraging their fans all the more to follow on, the band, completed by Ritchie’s wife Candice on vocals, have actively sought to distance themselves from the music business along with its trappings, playing select discrete shows at castles and performing music for its joys as if to a circle of friends on a warm, intimate evening. Quite a departure from Ritchie’s days as a giant of rock and the ceaseless calls over the years for him to play rock once again! Now onto their 10th album in “All Our Yesterdays”, Blackmore’s Night play a variety of styles from medieval folk to folk rock and hard rock either singularly or in various combinations. There doesn’t appear to be a theme or any pandering to commercial goals and as such the music is not contrived, being played naturally with plenty of passion and without a care in the world other than to the perfection of the music itself. If I had to draw a common thread across the diverse material then it would have to be the unbounded romanticism and pure love that resonates across the material and even to covers of Mike Oldfield‘s ‘Moonlight Shadow’ and Cher’s ‘I Got You Babe’ – all given the Blackmore’s Night interpretation naturally with woodwind instruments, mandolins, tambourines and violins added! Candice Night’s deep personal connection to nature and folklore is reflected in her angelic voice, which although not lacking in power always manages to keep ladylike composure, never losing sight of its passion and once again, love, like on her impressive cover of the Linda Ronstadt ballad ‘Long Long Time’. And what of Blackmore himself I hear you ask? Now playing domras, hurdy gurdys, nickelharpes along with his electric and acoustic guitar, I’m highly pleased – nay proud – to say that his talent is very much still evident – and all over the material it would seem from the Celtic Folk meets early 70s Purple of ‘Allan yn n fan’ to the Renaissance epic meets Rainbow of ‘Darker Shade of Black’ – aptly titled given that despite him being in his 70s, Ritchie has lost none of his dexterous fretboard playing, still masterfully dishing out amazing licks and the long, mind blowing solos for which he was so renowned for – whoever said the man had lost his way is an idiot! Whatever mode Blackmore is in – folk, acoustic or electric – he’s still god!! I hugely applaud what Candice and Ritchie have pioneered in Blackmore’s Night, as it will undoubtedly appeal to any 70s classic rock fan along with today’s lover of folk and traditional rock music, but beyond that to those with the vision to see the love inherent in their creativity here. This is fairy tale rock and its hard to resist Ritchie and Candice’s lure to leave today’s modernity in preference to their magical world of times to celebrate and enjoy.