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BLACKMORE'S NIGHT ‘Past Times With Good Company’ (2-CD,SPV, 2002)

Blackmore’s Night is the band formed by former Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore along with his wife and vocalist Candice Night. This is their first live release after three previous studio albums. I have to admit this is the first time I have heard anything by this band and I am a convert! The music is medieval based with traditional instruments from the period mixed with modern keyboards and guitar.

‘Shadow of the Moon’ sweeps in with a swirling keyboard before Candice’s vocals start and what a great voice she has! There is also some intricate acoustic guitar from the main man himself underpinned by tuneful keyboards. ‘Play Minstrel Play’ has a Mediterranean feel mixed with traditional English folk music and it produces an album highlight on disc one. One slight criticism of the live album is the informative intros to many songs by Candice that can tire on repeated plays but at least this keeps the live feel I suppose. ‘Past Times With Good Company’ is a traditional tune from the Tudor days, with time changes from slow tempo to a very fast mid-section. Closing disc one is a version of Deep Purple’s ‘Soldier of Fortune’, which takes on a whole new dimension with Candice on vocals and this is a fine acoustic based arrangement.

Disc two starts with a Rainbow cover ‘16th Century Greensleeves’ and Blackmore rocks out on electric guitar! This is followed by an acoustic instrumental ‘Beyond the Sunset’ - a very moving piece of music and classical in style. ‘Morning Star’ is a very upbeat song and certainly gets an enthusiastic reaction from the crowd. The folk rock of ‘Renaissance Faire’ is a highlight of this disc. Closing this disc is ‘Writing on the Wall’, possibly the most straight ahead rock track on the album, with electric guitar and careering fiddle playing. A great way to end the album.

High quality live album, with some truly outstanding vocals from Candice who has a very mellow voice suited perfectly to these tunes. Totally different from Ritchie Blackmore’s previous work but obviously something he is enjoying and credit to him for this. If you have a open mind try this album, you won’t be disappointed.


Review by Jason Ritchie

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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