The man in tights, sorry, the man in black returns with yet another collection of acoustic guitar reveries and true to form it’s exactly what you’d expect from the ex-PURPLE and RAINBOW axe-slinger. There’s not a hint of any “Smoke On The Water” nor a glimpse of a “Child In Time” but there's lashing upon lashing of pentatonic scales, melodic grandeur and wistful harmony vocals.
Say what you will about Blackmore, but he is obviously enjoying himself, almost immeasurably, playing the court minstrel and has been since 1998 and there seems to be little let up on this BLACKMORE’S NIGHT eighth album.
I suppose it’s been a long time coming, an album full of yuletide re-workings. Fans of the previous albums will not be disappointed as Ritchie, Candice and the rest glide through their own interpretations of classic Winter-time songs. In Candice Night, Ritchie has found the perfect foil against his prodigious guitar playing. She really does have a special voice and it’s hard not to get carried away with the whole damn thing. It might reek of strong German cheese to most but if the likes “Lord Of The Dance/Simple Gifts” and “Good King Wenceslas” don’t bring the toe a tapping or a hum to the lips then you’d be better off watching The Grinch. And what can be said that hasn’t already been printed about Ritchie’s playing. It’s seductive, moving and at times inspirational and rarely fails to impress.
Perfect for the approaching festive season.
(Online January 23, 2007)