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Blackmore's Night - Fires At Midnight CD (album) cover

FIRES AT MIDNIGHT

Blackmore's Night

 

Prog Folk

3.31 | 48 ratings

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lazland
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 2001 saw an ever so subtle change in the Nonny-Non direction taken by Blackmore, in cahoots with his partner and now wife Candice Night, since leaving Deep Purple, in that this album, as witnessed immediately by the opener, a fine rocker, featuring blinding axe action, showed a willingness to blend his obvious love of the Renaissance influenced folk with his more immediate past as a rock icon, nay God.

There is, therefore, an immediacy and urgency in the guitar playing, and whole feel of the album's production, that is rather more intense than in the two predecessor albums (not that there was anything wrong with them. Quite the opposite). This is witnessed by another belter, featuring the type of Rainbow and Purple licks beloved of old, on I Still Remember.

The core of the album is, though, still that blend of classic folk and progressive tinged rock, and they do not disappoint on this level, either. There are a whole seventeen tracks here, so a discussion of each would take up far too much of mine and reader's time, but fine examples of the type of folksy tunes which bring a smile to me when listening, imagining a fine boozy winter's evening in a traditional tavern, are Home Again, which must have been a rage when performed live, and the quite exquisite, Celtic fused, gentle ballad Mid Winter's Night.

The longest track here is the title track, running in at over seven and a half minutes long, and it is a joy, commencing in a deeply pastoral vein, with the pace picking up with the traditional musicians joining forces with the drums and bass to create a fast paced, toe tapping fest, before Ritchie kicks in with a quite phenomenal electric guitar solo, before the close of a rousing vocal and instrumental choral singalong. Feel good music, if ever I heard any.

In amongst the more traditional BN songs, Storm being as good as an example as any with a fast paced Blackmore acoustic guitar lead in tandem with a thoughtful Night observatory vocal, there are a couple of very decent acoustic guitar solo tracks, my favourite of which is Praetorius (Courante) which has a lilting recorder as accompaniment, and the obligatory cover, in this case Dylan's The Times They Are A'Changin, which is okay without being anything special, and a stunning rendition of classic English flugal horn music on Waiting Just For You.

Therefore, there is quite a bit going on in this album, and certainly do not take any notice of those who try to fool you with the line that Blackmore "gave up doing rock" post Purple. It simply isn't true, and, in fact, there are a good many of us who would argue that what followed with albums such as this was, in fact, a damned sight more interesting, and certainly a great deal more fun.

Four stars. An excellent addition to any music collection.

lazland | 4/5 |

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