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


Blackmore's Night


Prog Folk

3.30 | 63 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars One thing the proghead must admit is that Blackmore, with his awful character, has enough balls to do something completely different than what is expected from him, but he is also stubborn enough to keep in his chosen direction. His trip of being a troubadour or a bard might just seem, laughable to many, but once the surprise gone, those still around to listen will discover that the music developed is actually fairly good and could please progheads because some tracks are definitely progressive. Obviously his muse Candice Night inspired him to go in this direction, but Ritchie always had this Castle and Bard dimension (remember the first two Rainbow albums), but I always wonder how a fully-grown man in his 60's enjoys dressing-up to play his music: it clearly does not need it. Compared with the early albums, there are some electric instruments and some rock drumming.

Overall, the "progressive folk rock" is always pleasant, sometimes very cheesy (the sing-along Home Again), some rather tacky medieval arrangements (the brass in Crowning of The King or Waiting For You), some Greensleeves-like guitars (Fayre Thee Well and Praetorius), the cheesy Dylan cover, two bits-drama (Hanging Tree), some rather awful radio-friendly tracks (All Because Of You and Midwinter's Night), and rather too bland lyrics (maybe one or two exception on the whole album) from Mrs. Night herself .

There are also some clear rockers on the album such as I Still Remember where Ritchie still gives some superb electric licks that we love. Among the highlights is the lenghty title track with its superb guitar solo approaching the Rainbow Rising era, Village On The Sand and Storm which takes its time to develop, but explodes soon enough.

On the authenticity level, if B's N is not really close to Steeleye Span, The Pentangle or some of the other historic groups (I do not think this is their intention anyway), but they certainly are more credible than other actual groups like Mostly Autumn, but this lack of "purity" is exactly what is bugging this reviewer. I prefer them in the rockier tracks rather than in the pure folk-troubadour trip. Nevertheless, this album is not quite as laughable as some Purpleheads would have you believe it, the most one can say that the troubadour thing is worth a few sarcasms, but hardly more than that. But all of the clichés are used and abused in B's N.

So Mr. Blackmood (as I like to call him) is now on his own planet with his superb muse (but the mother-in-law is never far as she is their manager), living out his fantasies and playing concerts is medieval castles, and for all I care, I wish him all the pleasure he can get from it. The man has paid his dues enough to the RNR industry that the least it last one can do in return, is let him continue living in his own world. And I am almost certain Ritchie is laughing louder than all of his detractors together

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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