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Blackmore's Night - Shadow of the Moon CD (album) cover


Blackmore's Night

Prog Folk

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
2 stars Surprise struck almost everyone when this first album came out, and I must admit I was among the ones howling with the pack at Ritchie for making what I thought, at the time, was a ridiculous parody of the bard/troubadour thing. I was one of those disabused fans that accused his muse Candice, to lead him by the nose just like males in their mid-50's can cover themselves with ridicule for a young babe's arse - hope I live old enough to live such a degrading experience with such a beautiful tigress ;-).

But over the years and with the succession of albums persevering in the same musical direction and thinking over Blackmore's whole career, I started understanding that his medieval envies were not exactly a late whim, but it goes back to early Rainbow days when he met the golden-voiced dwarf Dio. So in retrospect, I must admit that my attitude at "reading" this album was not right from the start, but one thing that I was right about is the overuse of clichés and a naïve (almost laughable) lovebard (I know ;-) stance.

To call this album progressive folk rock might just be pushing it a bit too far, but the fact remains that this album is full of folk-sounding tunes, never really pretending to being authentically medieval (but sufficiently so that this issue raises the parody sarcasms). But coming down hard on Blackmore for this album without doing the same with Mostly Autumn would be completely hypocrite. Mrs Night has a rather nice voice timbre but does not have a great vocal range and in the run of a whole album like this one, the listeners cannot help but grow weary at the repetition of tracks, which lacks highlights and real soul.

Except from some synth keyboards, all of the instrumentation is acoustic - bar the Writing On The Wall track which is shockingly synthetic-sounding, full of beat-box rhythm and stands out like a sore thumb and the odd superb electric guitar solos that we know Ritchie pulls out from his bag of tricks - see the No Second Chance track or the closing Wish You Were Here. Some tracks are looking at lutes and at Greensleeves shamelessly (some are simply the real thing, but I would not call this version better than Jeff Beck's version as this cover-version borders on the ridiculously cheesy), others try to sound authentically medieval (and almost succeeds) like Mond Tanz. Do not get me wrong; the album is not devoid of qualities, on the contrary, but the least we can say is that the dressing-up is hardly helping out the credibility of the album.

A rather bland, naïve (not yet matured) first record is the verdict, but for a first try, Ritchie deserves some attenuating circumstances and should avoid the guillotine set out but Purpleheads out for revenge. He will issue better albums later on.

Report this review (#17138)
Posted Wednesday, March 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars After hearing a few numbers from a tape I received (Thanks Richard!), I had to run out and buy the entire album. Based solely around Richie BLACKMORE's acoustic guitar and Candice NIGHT's beautiful voice, "Shadow Of The Moon" will take you deep into the dream-like RENAISSANCE age of castles and dragons. Most of the album moves very slowly and is a great album to just sit and relax to. Along the way we are treated to some real beautiful melodies carried with angelic harmonies of NIGHT's voice. BLACKMORE touches our soul with a classic ode to "Renaissance" with their classic tune "Ocean Gypsy" and a great number called "Play Minstrel Play" which features Ian ANDERSON (JETHRO TULLl) who plays his heart out on the flute. This is a great concept album really and offers some real nice touches which will appeal to those who want to explore some different worldly parts and musical horizons.

Report this review (#17135)
Posted Monday, March 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Who was that strolling minstrel?

This, the first album by Ritchie Blackmore and his wife Candice Night, is very much a showcase for the undoubted singing talents of the latter. Those hoping to hear "Smoke on the water" like riffs, or guitar solos such as on "Child in time" are going to be severely disappointed. There's nothing remotely like Deep Purple here. For those who approach the album with an open mind however, there is much to enjoy.

Blackmore's contribution is almost exclusively acoustic, only switching on the power very occasionally, such as on "No second chance". Even then, the solos are kept brief and played with the volume set to 1 or 2 (nowhere near 11!). The music has a strong medieval influence throughout, with Night's very pure and melodic vocals creating a warmth in the overall sound, which makes for a very pleasant and relaxing album.

There are occasional hints of the softer side of Blackmore's Rainbow such as appeared on their self titled debut album. The "Greensleeves" here though is the original folk song, not the "Sixteenth Century Greensleeves" of Rainbow. The cover version of Renaissance's "Ocean Gypsy" is even better than the wonderful original. It suits Night's voice perfectly and is a definite high point of the album, as is the beautiful "Wish you were here" (no not the Pink Floyd song!). The distinctive flute of Ian Anderson (but not vocals) appears on one track, "Play minstrel play", emphasising further to the medieval feel.

The best way to approach this album is to forget who plays guitar on it. See it for what it is, a well performed, largely acoustic collection of melodic songs with a traditional feel. On that basis, it's a very good first album, with even better to come. (Prog it ain't!)

Report this review (#17125)
Posted Tuesday, June 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I think that this is the best Blackmore's Night album. And last song "Wish you were here"...mmm... it's fantastic! It was first Blackmore's Night album, what I heared. This music is very relaxing for my. And Ritchie's guitar! I can prefer this album (and the others Blackmore's Night's albums;) for all, who likes folk music and good guitar riffs.
Report this review (#17139)
Posted Saturday, January 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I was introduced recently to Ritchie Blackmore's latest stroke of musical genius called BLACKMORE'S NIGHT. Their live album titled "Past Times With Good Company" is a 2 CD set that highlights all three of their studio albums. After hearing this fantastic and magical display of medieval rock-world music, I was destined to be under their spell. Of course, now I wanted hear all of the studio recordings! I put that out there in the universe and like a wish come true; I received all of the CDs in the mail. I felt it appropriate that I talk about all of these albums in one review, as I could not stop listening to this mesmerizing enchantment. With undeniable pleasure, I listened to all three albums in succession.

Although slight, there are some differences in each recording. The basic premise is to build upon a foundation that stems from a minstrel's point of view in a medieval setting that is set firmly within the music's makeup. Blackmore's guitar work is something special, but do not expect the super charged blues-rock guitar hero fireworks that you have been accustomed to hearing. An occasional flourish from the old Ritchie comes through to serve as a reminder of the old days when he was with DEEP PURPLE and RAINBOW, but don't get used to it. Get ready to become bewitched like you never have before by the multi-talented Candice Night with her silky smooth delivery (reminiscent of Stevie Nicks minus the hoarseness) whilst their band of merry men and women sing and dance with their instruments to make it a renaissance faire of musical delights. It is no wonder Ritchie fell in love with this woman, she is beautiful and talented with a voice that will make you melt like butter.

This music really does something special to me. It takes me back to another day giving me exhilaration and fond pleasures all in one single song. It is truly a magical thing that is beyond what words could possibly describe. Since I love all of this music without exception I am not going to discuss any particular song, I would like to talk about the music in its entirety. This is something that is an entity unto itself, more than musical. It is like a functioning unit that lives, breathes and grows inside itself, a self-perpetuating experience. This music is worthy of that type of description. All the elements of the genres that are present in these CDs blossom within this musical flower and it comes at you in different paces. Fast and highly energetic rollicking tunes or reflective passionate compositions that show a gentle and deep thoughtfulness and spirituality that is a rarity in today's commercialized music instantaneously bring you into a real world that once was. Think of medieval, world, rock, new age, middle-eastern, and a touch of the blues lingering around the edges and you have what this band's sound encompasses. For the band and their longtime fans the meaning of this music is a way of life, for the newly initiated like me it is a revelation to find such beauty and connection with music.

This is the most complex progressive music that Blackmore has ever played. It is an outstanding mixture of traditional folklore, rhythms and song with a modern infusion of guitar wizardry. Only someone of Blackmore's caliber would be able to handle such diversity and intricacy in a composition. If you look closely, the credits for each album will show you names that you may be familiar with and others that you are not, but soon will be. I want to bring your attention to the many talents of Mr. Blackmore and his lovely fiancée Candice. Candice plays harp, penny whistle, shawm, and electric bagpipes while providing lead and background vocals. Ritchie plays acoustic and electric guitar, bass, mandolin, drums, and has a critical role as an arranger and producer of each album. This does not take into account all of the equally important additional talent that the wondrous couple has so intelligently put in place for support.

I highly recommend this music to all music fans and particularly to lovers of progressive rock. Take heed and listen to this music my friends, it is amazingly different and original.

Report this review (#17140)
Posted Monday, January 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Tired of repeatedly resurrecting Deep Purple and Rainbow, in the mid 90s Richie Blackmore abruptly decided to pursue his interest in Renaissance-era music. With his partner Candice Night, he crafted 4 studio albums, Shadow Of The Moon, Under A Violet Moon, Fires At Midnight and Ghost Of A Rose. I've got the first three, and while they differ vastly in quality, I have to say that Blackmore's Night rarely seems that progressive to me. Nonetheless, Shadow Of The Moon is a wonderful light listen.

Candice Night's vocals may be a little bit too whiny for some, and she obviously models herself on Annie Haslam and Lorenna McKennit with a touch of Stevie Nicks thrown in for good measure. Anyone familiar with Blackmore's past work won't be surprised to learn that the man plays a mean acoustic guitar that lends this album a touch of much-needed class. Together with keyboardist Pat Regan and a trio of musicians called the Minstrel Hall Consort, they create a pleasing string of lyrical folk-tinged pieces

The lovely Play Minstrel Play, with Ian Anderson guesting on flute, and The Clock Ticks On are probably the most exciting pieces here, while Shadow Of The Moon, Be Mine Tonight, Renaissance Fayre and Magical World are fine pop/folk tunes. I must admit I also fell for the version of Greensleeves included here. Guitar fans are in for a real treat as Blackmore provides us with three delightful guitar instrumentals (Ministral Hall, Memmingen and Mond Tanz) which are a must for those who enjoy Steve Howe's solo guitar pieces.

I'm not too pleased with the cover of Renaissance's Ocean Gypsy and I really hate the Tchaikovsky meets dance (I'm not kidding) travesty that is Writing On The Wall. I aslo feel the album is a bit too long for its own good, with the maudlin Wish You Were Here being one song too many.

Nonetheless, even though I don't think this ranks alongside the truly progressive folk bands, this is one record I always enjoy. ... 54% on the MPV scale

Report this review (#17141)
Posted Tuesday, May 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars After reading about Blackmore's Night in PA and finally seeing (in library as always...) the lovely art work and beauty of Mrs. Candice I expected a real discovery of folk prog. In deed it could have been a great act, a sort of Amazing Blondel with a lady singer; acoustic, beautiful, uncommercial folk-based music with perhaps some Gryphonesque ancient touch or other delicacies known from English folk prog... But it's SO much 'ready-chewed' 'easy- listening' product in the same way as things like "Gregorian" CD's or Era or Adiemus in its worst. Safety over true artistic vision. About an hour and 15 tracks of 'nice' music, but most of the folkish feel is buried under the super market production style and too many songs are basically just boring naive songs that sound quite the same from start to end.

Could that horrible disco-like track that starts ridiculously with a Tchaikovsky tune be there only to remind how much more awful the whole album could have been? Two things are the main reason I don't appreciate this album much: monotonous tambourine and synth background. They make it sound fake and calculated, done for masses of uneducated ears. Renaissance track 'Ocean Gypsy' and one with Ian Anderson on flute are among the better ones, a couple of instrumentals too. I'm often easily lured by romantic attitude and escapism from modern times (Ritchie and Candice dressed up like bards etc), but this music only mocks what it could have been. I'm sure in time I'll care even less of it, so 2* are enough.

Report this review (#40472)
Posted Wednesday, July 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I was always mesmerized by medieval music and this album was my first contact with this genre, by BLACKMORE'S NIGHT (a kind of sexist name, don't you think? Kinda like "yeah Candice Night is Ritchie Blackmore's property..." - ridiculous *shakes head*). Anyway, what matters is the music, and i have to admit that this is pretty good stuff. It shows the most romantic side of medieval life, opening with the majestic title track and closing with the touching magnum-opus "Wish You Were Here" - not a FLOYD cover! In this group of tracks we have an excellent arrangement of the traditional English song "Greensleeves", which was also recorded by celtic music artist Loreena MacKennitt. This cover is amazing, with somewhat of a latin feel in it, not losing the medieval sounding roots though. There's also a couple of good instrumentals making this album very appealing. Unfortunately, there's one awful track here that prevents me from giving this a 4-star ranking that a solid album would deserve because it is horribly out of place and destroys all the album's flow - and it had to be placed right at the middle of the album! The name of the thief is "Writing on the Wall". Why did they add this? This is horrible electronic music that shouldn't be placed here, and breaks all the album's consistence. How i wish this track was out of here, so i'd not need to use the SKIP button! The rest though is very good, and it can appeal a lot -while it lasts. Unfortunately this album gets a bit forgotten after some listens, so the time challenge makes it deserve the regular three star rating for a work that is neither bad nor for the faint of heart.

Report this review (#41985)
Posted Monday, August 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album really fits the term "good but non essential". Of course it has nothing to do with the classic hard rock of Deep Purple and Rainbow. None of the tracks are bad butnone of them is a real winner either.Candice Night has a nice voice, but the music is far too light for my taste. My favourite is Play Minstrel Play , with the appearance of Ian Anderson. Unfortunately , I haven't heard the original version of Ocean Gypsy. Wish You Were is NOT a Pink Floyd, but a Rednex-cover.It was a swedish pop/dance group or something like that...
Report this review (#52314)
Posted Wednesday, October 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars I was fairly disappointed with this; the first album to try from the band. Having been a big fan of Ritchie Blackmore (from Rainbow and Deep Purple), liking Celtic themes (castles, mistrels, wild women, etc.), liking some folk-rock with female vocals (Renaissance, Illusion, Steeleye Span), and seeing high reviews for this album, I was expecting quite a bit more to like.

Most of the songs are light, fairly poppy, with Celtic themes. Though the instrumentation is respectable, there is a lack of energy, power, and creativity here. The songs are overly syrupy, and are probably better suited as children's music.

In all fairly, I believe some of their later albums have more muscle and energy and balance to them. Ghost of a Rose is probably much better, with drums and slightly darker melodies, and more variation.

Report this review (#56721)
Posted Thursday, November 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars You can only say: THIS IS BEAUTIFUL! Think that a straight forward rocker that Ritchie was in Deep Purple (and I admired his musicanship and the band then) he could find such a deep and emotianal side from himself! This music just flows in and makes one feel good. I have a ticket in my pocket: after a month I will listen to Blackmore's night LIVE in Helsinki. Till then I'll listen to this and Ghost of a rose and every now and then I'll put one of those great old Deep Purple disks on turntable and enjoy the other side of music...

Five stars!

Report this review (#71557)
Posted Friday, March 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars After the initial shock of there not being the slightest trace of rock on this album, I settled down to take a careful listen. After a few minutes I actually found myself beginning to enjoy it. Even my father (who was in his late sixties at the time) said to me "Now this is music son!" Well needless to say, that was a bit disturbing!

It´s a very relaxing and peaceful album, thus appealing to people from all walks of life, old and young. Some of my favourite songs are "Play Mintrel Play" which Features Ian Anderson on the flute. It´s quite incredible how the acoustic guitar and flute run in unison. "Ocean Gypsy" and "Wish were here" are sad (long lost love) romantic songs. Candice Night captures the feeling perfectly with her distinct way of singing. Her voice has a sort of sexual maturity to it!

"Mond Tanz" has always been a great favourite and reminds me of being in some medievel hall, taking part in some old fashioned dance! The clapping makes it sound very authentic! "Greensleeves" is beautifully done and it has always made me wonder who it was that actually wrote someting so sad.(This music is from the Sixteenth century!)

I thought this would be a one off album, but Blackmore has already released another four albums with Blackmore Night. I was actually quite surprised to just how well Blackmore is on acoustic guitar. The tone is great and he never lets a finger slip (a real perfectionist) After this really good debut they started to become quite "samey"

But this, being the first album they released, is brimming with creativity and haunting beauty.

Report this review (#87610)
Posted Friday, August 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I was personally disappointed by the style of this record. Though pretty Candice Night has a lovely voice, and Richie Blackmore is truly a very skillful guitarist, the music they make here is very unimaginative and calculated. This album truly sounds like a professionally constructed product for big audiences, and if you like Andrew Lloyd Webber's musicals, you might like this. The lady singer sings with ethereal voice, as the heavy metal troubadour gets some feeling for the scale runs with acoustic guitar over the sweet carpet of synthesizer orchestrations. What's truly positive here is, that most of the tracks are their new mutual compositions, along with a traditional "Greensleeves" and a prog related covering of Renaissance's "Ocean Gypsy". The latter does not in my opinion bring anything new to the classic original performances. So not my cup of tea, though being an interesting tryout still. As a bonus, Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull plays some flutes here too.
Report this review (#88566)
Posted Thursday, August 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album is a very suprising debut for a band with Ritchie Blackmore in it.

I bought this album without hearing anything about it other than the fact that Ritchie was in the band. I figured that there would be incredible guitar solos throughout, some good catchy songs and a good singer. The usual Deep Purple or Rainbow album.

I was completely in shock when I heard Shadow of the Moon. The acoustic guitars were delicate, beautiful and, very un-Ritchie Blackmore. There were some flutes in the background, and on the song Play Minstrel Play I knew I had heard them before. "Thats Ian Anderson, it has to be." I looked on the liner notes and sure enough, it was.

The musicians are all very good on this album, but the best part of Blackmore's Night is deffinately Candice Night. She has a gorgeous voice thats almost as good (not quite) as The singer from Renaissance. Its very similarin timbre, but lacking the purity and range.

The song Writing on the Wall is incredibly out of place on this album. Out of nowhere there is some wierd electronic disco type song that is just awkward on a folk album. If it weren't for that song, this album could have gotten a 4 star rating, but I'll give it 3.5 instead.

Report this review (#125401)
Posted Monday, June 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
4 stars For many years I´ve been reading in interviews that guitar legend Ritchie Blackmore really loved classical music and that one day he would be doing something in that field, that hard rock and heavy metal were not his first love and those styles were more of a medium to put out his frustration. I guess most of us, the fans, did not really pay atention to this remarks. It simply sounded whimsical. But then, one day, he does just that. I was not really surprised: classical music was obviously a big influence over his music and he has always wrote some great acoustic tunes over the years since his Deep Purple days (Soldier Of Fortune and Temple Of the King are some good exemples).

I was a bit surpruised by his choice of renaissance era type of music. But I somehow figured it would be good, since Ritchie Blackmore is one of the most gifted, talented and accomplished guitarrists ever. And the fact his wife is the singer did not bothered me at all. From the first notes of Shadow Of The Moon, everyone can say she´s a fine singer and has her very own strong personality. This duo is really a duo. And the music they produced on this first release is really strong, unique and full of great tunes.

Not that everything here is perfect: this is far from a purist´s work. Blackmore plays mostly acoutic guitars, but also does some great electric touches on various tracks. There are some pop moments too (No Second Chance, Wish You Were Here), the strange, rather odd eletronic treatment for Tchaicovsky´s Writing On The Wall and the fast paced version of Greensleeves. In less capable hands those moments could ruin such work, but somehow they do not spoil the overall acoustic, intimate effect. Their version of Renaissance´s Ocean Gypsy was nice, but not very outstandig. But I guess this is asking for too much!

After all these years and many other releases by the duo I still think that Shadow Of The Moon is his best and strongest efford. The title track is a classic, maybe the album´s highlight, but it is difficult to say. It´s a extremely pleasant album to hear from beginning to end and the flow is simply natural. A fine CD that is difficult to classify. All I can say is that Blackmore did something different and did it very well. And Candice Knight is a strong partner. she could be overshadowed by her husbands immense talented, but that does not happen. 4 stars.

Report this review (#192280)
Posted Monday, December 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Kitsch

Man's man Ritchie Blackmore wearing tights is an image one would have trouble imagining in the heydays of Deep Purple. Ritchie Blackmore playing lutes and acoustic guitar and executing 500 year- old compositions is a bit easier to picture, if one has paid close attention to his work with Rainbow. One thing that would be taken almost as granted is Ritchie next to a blonde bombshell. And this one can sing, too. Meet Candice Night, singer, muse, and half of the band's name. This odd couple decided to embark on a Renaissance Faire of their own, to mixed results. Pick up thy goblet of spiced wine and sit down for the ride.

The album is opened by the title track, Shadow of the Moon, and as the song kicks in you know you're in for a. delicate ride. Oriental sounds opens for synth drenched melody, featuring some faint power chords and delicate guitar licks. Candice Night then begins to sing, her voice gentle and soothing, quite pleasant but nothing remarkable. The track doesn't change too much, following a standard pop format. It is in no way a bombastic opener, but it is really interesting stuff. Next track, The Clock Ticks On does not fall flat either. It is carried by a grandiose opening with trumpets and featuring some interesting use of strings and woodwind. The melody is clearly something of days long gone. The sung build-up to the chorus is a bit too dull, with Candice singing in a quite neutral tone over an acoustic guitar, but the chorus is somewhat more interesting. Nice finish, but again, no surprises here. The next song, Be Mine Tonight, is a real let down after the first two. A lovey- dovey ballad with some really annoying tambourine that really takes your attention from the nice orchestration in the background. Thank God it's short. Play Minstrel Play is another good one. Again the medieval mood returns, vocals are quite good, benefiting from a male chorus. Great flute and percussion, and Ritchie's gentle acoustic guitar strumming. Pretty but not very exciting in the first section, it all changes somewhere in the middle, when the pace gets suddenly quicker and we are treated to a great duo of flute and acoustic guitar by two awesome virtuosos: that's right, Ian Anderson joins Ritchie Blackmore for this one and the result couldn't be better! Definitely a highlight of the album. Now, I was never a big fan of the Renaissance song Ocean Gypsy, or, in fact, of the whole Scheherazade and Other Stories album. Come to think of it, I'm not a big fan of Renaissance at all, which probably haves something to do with me grinding my teeth and covering my ears every time Annie Haslam opens her mouth. This cover however, despite not salvaging the track entirely, somewhat makes it slightly more bearable than the original. It is, if anything, a bit too long and anti- climatic after the thrill of the previous track. Minstrel Hall is an instrumental piece driven by the acoustic guitar, with the accompaniment of flute and tambourine, quite pleasant, and what I feel is one of the good trademarks of Blackmore's Night on this and following albums. Magical World is yet another one of those delicate old-world sounding ballads carried by acoustic guitar and Miss. Night's vocals. There's that damn tambourine again. Good acoustic guitar work, but once more, nothing really mind-blowing. At this point my mind begins to wonder and my head begins to drop. Still I wasn't waiting for the wake-up call that is the next track. My mind wonders as to what the hell they were thinking with Writing on the Wall? It features a terrible dance-club electric drum beat, more commonly found on 90's one-hit wonders than on this kind of effort. It's so bad I can't believe it. What hurts me most is that Ritchie actually decided to take out the Strat for this one, and does produce the most noteworthy electric guitar solo in the album on this track - but it all just sounds so out of place. I can't help but thinking it would have been a great track if they had kept the guitar but dropped the terrible electronic percussion. A disaster, and definitely a song that should have been scratched from the album and buried deep. Renaissance Faire finally gets us back on track after the previous interlude. It pick up from the second track, featuring once more interesting choirs, wind instruments and tasteful string arrangements. And the chorus is really, really catchy, in a good way. Very entertaining. Memmingen follows, another short instrumental not unlike the previous Minstrel Hall, showcasing Blackmore's talents on acoustics. No Second Chance is another attempt at a modern sound, but one that works out much better than the previous. The Strat is back for this one, this time less obvious. The drums sound once again machine-made, but at least they are not as horrid as on Writing on the Wall. Another delicate ballad, it features a nice choir (almost sounding like a Mellotron) and solid vocals by Candice. The structure, however, remains pretty much pop standard - a bit out of place with the rest of the album, but not unpleasant in any way. Mond Tanz gets us back to the melody from the opening track, this time in the form of an acoustic guitar display featuring some interesting percussion and flute accompaniment - Blackmore really seems to be hitting the right keys with the instrumentals, this being another nice one. Spirit of the Sea is yet another ballad, not unlike the previous ones, filled with cheap synths and water sound samples. By now we realize that Miss Night displays a very small range and a very neutral, but pretty nice tone. It is one of the unexpected charms in this album, the natural and pure voice that we easily embrace despite all its shortcomings. Greensleeves is the classic Tudor period song here given a 20th century treatment. Brave move, as it could have resulted in another disaster instead of the interesting take that resulted. Ethereal choirs, a plethora of guitars, some rock n'roll chops and that 15th century melody - I guess we all love a bit of kitsch now and then. The album ends with another cover song, this time of Wish You Were Here by dance-pop/hillbilly act Rednex. And, just like previous covers, it is another improvement over the original. Features some really teasing vocals and delicate Strat playing.

Overall, a bit of a disappointment salvaged only by a few good tracks. It is too long an album, with few points of real interest and often monotonous takes. Production sounds rough, the arrangements too forced and fake, but that's a disease that afflicted many albums in the 90's. The more modern-sounding tracks sound awfully out of place, one of them actually sounding awful on its own. The instrumentals are all fairly well composed, but the rest just suffers from poor production, forced instrumentation (that dreadful tambourine!) and, if you're in to that, very poor lyrics. It's as prog as Amazing Blondel, so definitely not something that will tingle the fancy of the average PA user. Fans of Blackmore should definitely check it, as well as those with an interest in medieval/renaissance melodies or mood in modern music. This is a poor album, but as a project, Blackmore's Night showcase some hidden talents that will make future albums much more interesting.

Report this review (#199646)
Posted Sunday, January 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I bought this first Richie's album ( in fact as solo album) many years ego. My expectation was to hear some extra guitar music from Deep Purple and Rainbow guitar hero.

What did I get instead? Collection of mostly acoustic folk ballades! OK, nice melodies, theatrical middle ages atmosphere, few simplistic guitar solos, some pretty back vocals. That's all!

I don't think that this music is bad, but for sure you don't need to be a legendary Richie Blackmore for playing this naive,theatrical and often childish ballads.

I believe, that the project was born just to support Blackmore's girlfriend of the moment C. Night, so his name was good marketing trick. But I honestly believed that it's a beginning and the end of side-track of great musician. I made a mistake,you know now.

Once again, the music isn't so bad, but very simplistic, songs are each other, the level of musicanship is very basic. Can see on it as amateurs musicanship, but not the serious work.

Ian Anderson support the project playing flute. It didn't help

Report this review (#240908)
Posted Tuesday, September 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This first blackmores night album is a good album,yes it is different from what blackmore done before like but dont let that put you of shadow of the moon,yes when i first heard this it took me a few listens to enjoy it[the reason why was because i liked blackmores deep purple and rainbow stuff and this is like diofferent],anyway this has some good songs on this,shadow of the moon is a great track i love everything about this song candices voice is really nice and she sounds really attractive to and blackmores guitar sounds nice to,the other songs i love on this are,ocean gypsy,writing on the wall,no second chance,spirit of the sea,wish you were here,all these songs are all worth having in the blackmore collection,the other songs are good but the ones i mention are the best i think,also renaissance faire is one i like to,this album as ive said is like different from blackmore and ive heard that he was fed up of playing the same music for like 30 years and i think hes done well here as if you get bord of something you,ll get to hate it,and blackmore ive heard has said that when he was in hotel rooms in the 70s hed play renaissance music on his guitar in the room,so at least hes playing the music now what he truely likes and loves,and i take my hat of to him for doing this style of music although he has has had mixed reviews,but if you really listen to this hard you,ll really understand that this is a great album as candice can sing really nice and i think her voice really goes really nice towards blackmores acoustic guitar,i give this 4 stars,if any of you havent heard blackmores night give this a chance it is folk renaissance style but dont let that put you of,as on a night in with the lights of or with a lamp on this really sounds and feels great to me,4 stars.
Report this review (#247706)
Posted Sunday, November 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars When I first heard that Ritchie Blackmore had an acoustic band, I went to the nearest record store (part of the now-defunct Tower chain) and bought the only copy they had there. I was very excited when I first put it on, and pleased with the instrumental opening of the first and title track. This excitement actually lasted quite a while - over several listens, but then something crept in, something I had difficulty identifying. After some time it came to me. Yes, there was something wrong here, and it has become a major problem for me whenever I listen to Blackmore's Night. It is the vocals. Before I explain the problem I have with them, allow me to list what I do like about this album.

The main thing I like is Blackmore's guitar playing. That might seem obvious for one who grew up adoring the things this man could do with six strings. In the olden days of Deep Purple and Rainbow, Blackmore played some of the most outrageous guitar around. Now, however, his playing is subdued - tasteful and elegant. The acoustic instrumental passages, such as Possum's Last Dance, are quite enjoyable. A change for the better. Huzzah! Also on the positive side is the melodic nature of the songs. They use traditional folk melodies and put original lyrics to them, with the occasional classic, such as Greensleeves. Ah, but there is where the problems come in.

Technically speaking, Candace Night is a decent vocalist. She is not great, however, and her biggest problem is a lack of emotion. Yes, she enunciates her words so we can understand the lyrics, but there is no feeling to them. Medieval Babes may have been a more appropriate venue for her, but no, she is married to Ritchie Blackmore, and thus has the opportunity to front the new (relatively) band of a rock 'n' roll legend. Because of the vocals, much of the music sounds the same, especially since Blackers repeats himself. Another problem I have, and this is not so much the fault of the band as it is of its fans. This is not renaissance music. This a fantasy of renaissance music, in much the same way that a renaissance fair is a fantasy of the renaissance itself. Now I have been to a good number of such fairs, and have enjoyed them immensely, but I never for one second thought that it was a period of time I could actually live in. I have read so many reviews about this band that contain the phrase, "if you like renaissance music you will like this band." No, you won't. This is modern contemporary folk rock inspired by a variety of folk traditions. That they even sing a song about being from the renaissance and feel more at home at a renaissance faire does not help the problem. I am sure they think such things when they drive home in their new Mercedes.

As to my favorite tracks, there is the previously mentioned Shadow of the Moon; Play Minstrel Play features a guest appearance by Ian Anderson, always a plus in my book; Ocean Gypsy is different from the original Renaissance version, which is the better and a good example of where Candace Night fails as a vocalist and where Annie Haslam shines, but I still like the song. Good instrumentals, besides what's already mentioned include Memmingen and Mond Tanz. I cannot take the songs Renaissance Faire and Greensleeves seriously. They are, in a word, awful.

In conclusion, there are some good qualities to this album, but they tend to wear thin with the negatives. For Blackmore, I will give it three stars, for Night, only one. That balances out to two stars.

Report this review (#261666)
Posted Tuesday, January 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars The more I listen to Blackmore's Night the more I conclude it is just so much fluff, pretty and pat, but it never strikes me as being parody as some have suggested, just a muse being followed by Mr Blackmore to satisfy his own muse, Ms Candace Night. One album seems to be plenty to indulge, and I suppose this debut is as good a place to start as any, even if I find the less acclaimed followup to be the less samey.

One of the problems here is that they actually perform a few pieces I have heard in other guises, and their renditions erect the same sterile vinyl siding around these old chestnuts as around the originals. This begs the question of what TRI YANN or RENAISSANCE could do with some of Blackmore's compositions.

Perhaps because it is so rare, I look to tracks that possess some edge as the highlights, even if the edge be filed, sanded and rounded almost beyond detection, because at least these tracks stand out to some degree. For instance, when Richie does cut loose on lead guitar it is occasion to celebrate. "Writing on the Wall" comes to mind..

This is all easy listening music 17th century styled the way pork roast can be served kosher style. But it is at least well played, produced, and Night's vocals suit the material. I can't recommend it to many here who don't have a fetish for quaint folk and an honorary membership in the Society for Creative Anachronisms, but under the shadow of the moon I'll admit to liking it, and then deny it all the next morning.

Report this review (#288965)
Posted Saturday, July 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars "Lalalalalalalalala" - Candice Night

Shadow of the Moon - Blackmore's Night - 1998 (Or 1377)

Rating : 10/15

Best Song: It's all the same, boys.

Well, he's gone and done it. After years of being in some of the most famous motown bands ever, such as Deep Purple and Rainbow, everyone's favorite marimba player, Poorie Whiteless, goes and makes an album that thrashes, smashes, stomps genial ass all over this place, and literally blows the whole damned world to kingdom come. That's right, it's... a medieval folk band? Yep, Ritchie Blackmore, revered fret-maestro and all-around rockin' dude gets himself married and makes for us a renaissance fair album. I'm sure it's what every fan wanted. No, I'm sure those folks can't stop salivating over their precious Made In Japan to even pay attention to what the hell sir Blackmore is doing, these days.

Wait, I lied there. Ritchie's no knight, and he defiantly casts out his hard rock tenacity for some good ol' cozy medieval folk rock. He's really more of a minstrel here, along the lines of Ian Anderson, or those fantastic guys in the computer commercials. And what we get is 70 minutes of hardcore, that's right, hardcore folk rock. It's derivative, it adds nothing new to the world of music, whatsoever, but I'll be damned if it isn't well performed.

There are sixteen tracks in all, and not a single one is poorly executed or outright bad, not by any means. But, there ain't a single one that really jumps out and squeezes my heart. There are pretty melodies, galore, but it's nothing most folks have never heard. Really, just imagine those nerds that dress up in leather tights and wear feathers in their hats in your local renaissance fair. Now, imagine what those guys would do, musically, and there ya go. What? You say you don't -have- a renaissance fair? I thought those were supposed to be all the rage, these days. I guess it's only in Ritchie's pompous head. Seriously, though, this stuff is predictable as hell, and very tame. It's quite the album for a relaxing evening whilst fletching some killin' arrows for the royal hunt, though.

Every song is the same, with only a couple highlights of truly invigorating melody to rise up and grab ya'. And there's so much material, it's overkill. No one needs 70 minutes of this stuff, and so much of it repeats itself in either style or melody, that half the album is redundant, anyway. So, I could easily live with cutting this grassy behemoth in twain, then the atmosphere might not wear so heavily on my longsword, ya know? This is nothing but solid, generic, pretty folk rock. It's all so similar, that talking about the different songs is rather pointless from where I'm standing, suffice to say that the title track is pretty damn thrilling, even if it's as bloated as everything else on here. Man, that asshole's ego has no bounds!

And for some [%*!#]ed up reason, they decided to put a friggin' dance pop tune right smack dab in the middle. Yeah, Writing on the Wall, after the obligatory classically inspired string introduction, becomes a trippy dance number. Did the band expect people to be falling asleep halfway through? And they'd just toss this weird, horribly out of place sucker in as a means of telling everyone to wake up, get off your ass and dance a li'l. This is actually lively, though. It's sad that it has the most rocking guitar touches out of the whole album.

It's still way too much material, with way too little innovation or awe-inspiring beauty to be much use to the casual listener, although this music is best suited for casual listening, or as professionally performed background music to your favorite elfin sporting event. I will say that nothing's offensive, and in general, it's a very pretty collection of tunes. It's just too much, man. It's all just too much.

***1/2 Stars

Report this review (#289313)
Posted Monday, July 5, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I very much remember the day I first saw this CD, without the benefit of any music magazine or other reviews to guide me. Not long after its release in 1998, I was browsing in a wonderful record shop in Wrexham, North Wales, near to where I used to live, when I just saw the magic word Blackmore.

Ritchie Blackmore was easily my earliest idol. I had got into Deep Purple & Rainbow before I was introduced to prog as a quite young lad by neighbours. I loved them both, and then, as now, I regarded Blackmore as a genius, incapable of doing much wrong. I, of course, bought the CD and spent what seemed an age trying to get my head around the fact that he had joined with a female vocalist and gone all Olde Worlde.

However, once I began to appreciate what I was listening to, I fell in love, and have got every release since. Moreover, I recognised in this album some very important points. Candice Night has a fantastically sensual voice, and is almost a female version of Dio in his more mellow moments. Blackmore was still an incredible guitarist. The songwriting and arrangements were exceptionally strong. And, perhaps more to the point, the music was exceptionally warm and drew me in until I was hooked. I have seen countless reviews and articles bemoaning the fact that Blackmore had "abandoned" his true rock roots, Geoff Barton being the chief culprit.

Ignore them. What we have here, and in subsequent releases, none of which are any less than three stars (good), is about the perfect fusion of traditional English folk with prog and rock sensibilities. The musicianship is never less than excellent, the production is lush, and, for those of you who love their folk prog in the shape of a certain Beastie, it features about the finest ever Ian Anderson flute solo put to record in the exciting and boundless energy of Play Minstrel Play.

None of the tracks are anything less than gorgeous. There are, though, some outstanding moments. The opener, the title track, announces itself in rip roaring fashion, and draws you in. Renaissance Faire will have you dancing a sixteenth century jig with your partner, that is, unless you are both tone and rhythm deaf.

The aforementioned Play Minstrel Play is simply incredible. I love the narrative that Night so sensuously provides, Blackmore has never sounded better on an acoustic guitar, and Anderson blows away as if his very life depended upon it.

Ocean Gypsy is a copy of a track by those other English prog folk giants, Renaissance. If anything, this version is better, and that is stated without any disrespect whatsoever to a band I have admired for many years. Candice Night's vocals are enough to send shivers down your spine, and she is backed by perhaps the finest pastoral music it has been my pleasure to hear. A track with which to fall in love with with your loved one by your side.

Lastly, Greensleeves is a stunning reworking of a traditional English folk tune, something that Blackmore had tried in a different fashion, very well, with Sixteenth Century Greensleeves on Rainbow's original. This is quite different and far better, simply because the arrangement is closer to the spirit of the traditional work. You also marvel at Blackmore's dexterity on his guitar.

Elsewhere, it is simply excellent folk rock, combined with a couple of poppier tracks and also fusions of pop/rock and classical music such as Writing On The Wall, which is fun without being in any way essential.

I would highly recommend this album to anyone wishing to explore the latter career of a true rock God. I would certainly recommend it to anyone wishing to take themselves out of a tiny little stereotypical box and who wish to explore something a little bit different from a man who had the guts to reinvent himself, without care for the consequences.

Four stars for this. An excellent addition to any prog rock music collection which only just falls short of being a true masterpiece - not by much, though.

Report this review (#432841)
Posted Wednesday, April 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Pantyhose and Feathered Hat.

With the cast of The Big Bang Theory, Napoleon Dynamite and Glass Hammer, Ritchie Blackmore is now attending Renaissance our advantage I might say.

There is no point describing his talent; he has LOTS and then some. His style is perfect for this kind of art, and it's probably harder than it looks. Medieval music must be catchy not to fall into the 'relaxation cds' bin of the spa. This is not the case here, despite the fact that I would care for more instrumental songs. The songs are melodic to the point of tears, blending mellow more mellow moods. Not really 'jig', but definitely making out music if you're dressed as a bard.

I do appreciate cup of medieval once in a while, and this one should interest you if you have no idea where to start. Woman (especially fans of Enya or Clannad) will surely appreciate since Gryphon is chick-repellant and Amazing Blondel not deserving it's name that much.

I can't wait to be 50 years old and find a younger woman too! This is how it works right?

Report this review (#872260)
Posted Wednesday, December 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Blackmore's Night is a project which seemed to inspire a bit of cynicism when it first emerged. After all, you have Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple and Rainbow fame teaming up with his much younger partner, Candice Night, to play some folk rock in a medieval-ish sort of Renaissance Fayre style which they're clearly both quite keen on. All the signs of a vanity project are there - and yet, the signs prove false, because as far as medieval-tinged folk-rock goes this is actually pretty good.

Blackmore's guitar work and the backing of his fellow musicians are solid through and through - naturally, thanks to his illustrious career and extensive connections, he's able to bring together a team who really buy into the project, including a guest appearance from Jethro Tull's own Ian Anderson. (Part of me yearns for some sort of joint Blackmore's Night-Jethro Tull concert, perhaps concentrating on material like that on Minstrel In the Gallery or Songs From the Wood on the Tull side of the equation - how magical would that be? Either way, Ian is an apt choice of guest, because if your fancy is tickled by Tull's occasional trips into medieval and renaissance aesthetics this project might speak to you)

However, it's Night herself who is the real revelation here. Any sexist assumptions people might have had - "she's just a pretty face", "she's just a trophy wife", whatever - are blown out of the water here, because she reveals herself to be a more than capable frontwoman whose grasp of the material is shown in her performance The album includes a cover of Renaissance's Ocean Gypsy which Night absolutely nails, for instance - and which also sits very naturally with the rest of the material here.

Not content to merely regurgitate traditional-sounding material in a traditional style, the group experiment here and there with working electronic elements into the mix, an experiment which is startling on first hearing but seems strangely natural afterwards. On the whole, this is an extremely strong debut album and a great statement of intent for the project. It's cheesy as hell, though, and though it stands up to repeated listens better than their subsequent albums that isn't really saying much.

Report this review (#1673697)
Posted Thursday, December 29, 2016 | Review Permalink
3 stars The album of full of expectations and Blackmore's and his future wife handle them quite well except that die-hard fans won't hear any electric guitar.

There are a few covers but chosen well. "Wish you were here" is thankfully not a nod to Pink Floyd but a cover of a wonderful melancholic track from Sweden. In comparison with later albums, there are little drums and percussions, which is good to focus on classical music and Celtic tracks. "Ocean gypsy" has litle to do with Gypsy Music but reveals sublime guitar and excellent melody sung by Candice. Of course, traditional English track interpretations such as "Minstrell hall" cannot miss here."Writing on the wall" with its cheap electronic disco beat is regrettable.

Report this review (#2281758)
Posted Saturday, November 16, 2019 | Review Permalink

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