may I state that I am an obsessive Ritchie Blackmore follower,
and have been for over 33 years, appreciating all...yes all
his music and personality traits. That said I felt compelled to
comment on the recent CD offering. Whilst I considered the recent
"Classic Rock " report to be very harsh, I do concur that Ritchie
is perhaps at a crossroads in his chosen musical direction and
my humble opinion - Village Lanterne is well packaged and produced.
25 YEARS : Great start, moody / atmospheric with hurdy gurdy
et al. Impressive vocals and feel. To me, one of the better tracks
and harps back to Blackmores Night's inception and vision.
VILLAGE LANTERNE : Has snatches of "The Shadows" ( the band
) and a Christmassy feel. Enjoyable, but whilst wanting to be
a classic,never quite gets there.
I GUESS IT DOESN'T MATTER ANY MORE : Reminds me of a seventies
"Detective TV theme ". Average rocky track.
THE MESSENGER : Nice acoustic instrumental, but has nothing
to make it really stand out. Ritchie plays well, but it lacks
something special, which he usually provides.
WORLD OF STONE : Impressive interpretation of the German traditional
tune "All Voll " and covered by De Geyers. To me, this music plays
to Blackmore's Night's strengths of delivery in Renaissance /
FAERIE QUEEN - FAIRIE DANCE : Good, but a rehash of " Catherine
Howard's Fate " and similar.
UKRAINE JIG : is again impressive, but lacks spontanaity.
ST.THERESA : Back to "rock mode" and a great Ritchie solo
to boot. Blackmore's Night covered this early in their career
in a manner more similar to the Joan Osborne original, which is
VILLAGE DANCE : Again a "nice" standard Ritchie instrumental.
MOND TANZ / CHILD IN TIME : De- Tudorised 'Mond Tanz' which
proves less effective, yet superb excerpts from Child in Time
embellished impressively by "The Sisters of the Moon ". Works
well live also.
STREETS OF LONDON : Super tribute to original, but I question
its inclusion here.
JUST CALL MY NAME / I'LL BE THERE
: Eurovision Abba-Rock.... To me this detracts from Blackmores
Night's past and makes me wonder about its future.
OLDE MILL INN : Oh dear.......... " Down at the Old Bull and
Bush " type music hall sing-a-longs comes to mind.
WINDMILLS : Haunting, and memorable, but follows
the path of recent similar tracks ( Where do we go to from here
...I think ).
STREET OF DREAMS : Excellent version of a treasured RAINBOW
song. Last 30 seconds frustratingly outline Ritchie at his best.
a hotch-potch of an album, with numerous highs and lows. I am
confused by the direction the music is taking here. A distinct
move away from Blackmores Night's previous Medieval / Renaissance
feel to embrace a more Middle of the Road / European taste. I
consider Blackmore's Night now to be at a crossroads, confirmed
by the recent UK performances. Originality and passion seems to
be lacking of late. I just hope I'm terribly wrong or misguided.
I have no wish to upset any fans (nor the band) with my review,
as I have, and always will be a Ritchie obsessive. I merely feel
the latest developments don't reach the incredible heights of
live in a small German town that runs a medieval fest every year.
So I am familiar with some of the tunes that Ritchie has borrowed
from. There is nothing wrong with putting them into a pop context,
far as I am concerned the production lacks feeling, authenticity
is certainly true that he took an adventurous road in the first
place, but the whole project now seems pretty commercial, and
it does not touch me at all. The
only magic that is left for me is the one that still forces me
to go and buy every damn thing that has the name Blackmore printed
on it, hoping for that one great solo that makes it worthwhile.