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Blackmore's Night - Secret Voyage CD (album) cover

SECRET VOYAGE

Blackmore's Night

 

Prog Folk

3.75 | 52 ratings

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Moose
4 stars I have put off reviewing this recording for quite a bit longer than I thought I would, but in retrospect I am glad that I did. It has allowed me to listen and then digest the entire scope of BN'S work and give me a great appreciation of the progress and maturation of what Ritchie and Candice have accomplished with this band. Now I know folks bemoan the "loss" of Ritchie and his former axe god ways, but lets face it men; if a beautiful, captivating, smart and talented young lady such as Candice Night came along when you were Ritchie's' age and wanted to pursue you and this music also, well I know I would dress up in tights and funny hats too! This is a fact, and young and old men only need to look at and hear Candice to admit it to themselves. In fact, where do I sign up, what color hat do I wear and how many different tights should I try on.

Now to the recording; it starts with an anthem, the truly magical instrumental "God Save the Keg". The song begins with a soft but slowly powerful beginning, and then it builds in volume and then progresses into a full blown hymn in honor of the keg. This song is wonderful, very unique and inspiring. I want to create a following based upon this song itself! I lift my mug in honor and worship, and then listen as the keg melts into a slow chant, and then we move into the rocking, toe tapping "Locked within the Crystal Ball". Ritchie unloads here on his electric and Candice is in fine form, maybe the best vocal performance from her yet; except I think her best is on this recording with the track called "The Circle". "Locked" is a fantastic song, complete with great Ritchie solos and in fact it maybe the best BN song ever.

This recording shows Candice to clearly have the skills and talent to sing with emotion, write great lyrics and match her critics once and for all with some real talent here. Listen to "Locked within the Crystal Ball" and you will see the maturation of her range and singing skill. The other tracks here are clearly some of the best of any of this bands work, with a full range of great musicianship from Ritchie as well as the full arsenal of the mid-evil themed backing band. "Toast to tomorrow" is another wonderful old dance type celebration song not unlike their earlier " Down at the Olde Mill Inn" song complete with hand claps, backing chants and superior violin riffs. If you are not singing along with this one; then perhaps you are dead or just not capable of any heart felt joy with music at all.

The acoustic solos by Ritchie are present on this record as they were in past recordings and they succeed in displaying why he is still one of the worlds greatest players; no question at all about it. In fact, I think Ritchie has approached Steve Howe with his level of acoustic work with Blackmore's Night. I now enjoy Ritchie's solos as much as I enjoyed the Howe "Mood for a Day" type interludes with Yes. Please listen to his rework on this recording of "Rainbow Eyes" and you will lament no more about Ritchie, he has just shifted gears and it is obvious he is living his dream music here with this band and his wife...

The other outstanding track here is "The Circle" as I think it is as good a vocal performance by Candice or even better than "Locked within the Crystal Ball". "The Circle" like LWTCB is very progressive in nature. The song builds through an opening containing a very slow tempo change, some strong horns and drum beats, and then some cord progressions into a full blown romp. There is a driving Bass bottom beat going on here that assists with the tempo and mood of the entire piece. Candice sings her heart out on this one and she has written great lyrics around a super melody. Ritchie finishes this song out with a slick and heated solo and it all ends in a bang. Ritchie can really write them and "The Circle" is a dark, mood filled track that is to me and my collection an unforgettable track that I listen to often.

The rest of the album is excellent and I would give it a full five stars except for one trouble spot. I do like the rework of the Elvis song "Can't Help Falling In Love" that is on this recording, but it spoils the mood and it would have been better off recorded and placed on another record where it would fit a little better. The selection and placement of this song on "Secret Voyage" disturbs the cohesive mood of the recording. All the other tracks are high quality and unlike other Blackmores' Night recordings there are no weak filler tracks on this one. This one is very highly recommended for mood, vocals, song writing and outstanding musicianship.

Moose | 4/5 |

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