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Ritchie Blackmore

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From hard rock to renaissance rock

British guitarist Ritchie Blackmore started out as a session player and then was  cofounder of the hard rock group Deep Purple in 1968. With Deep Purple he made the album Shades of Deep Purple (1968), The Book of Taliesyn (1969), Deep Purple (1969), Concerto for Group and Orchestra (with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, 1970), Purple in Rock, Fireball (1971), Machine Head (1972), Purple Passages (1972), Made in Japan (1973), Who Do We Think We Are? (1973), Burn (1974), and Stormbringer (1974) before leaving the group in April 1975. By that time the group scored three US Top 40 hits, Hush # 4 (1968), Kentucky Woman #38 (1968), and Smoke on the Water #4 (1973).  
In Los Angeles in 1975, he took over the New York band Elf, replaced the guitarist, and renamed the resulting heavy metal quintet Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. Personnel would change frequently during the band's existence. The first edition featured Ronnie James Dio (born Ronald Padavona, July 10, 1949, Cortland, NY) (vocals), Gary Driscoll (drums), Craig Gruber (bass), and Mickey Lee Soule (keyboards). They made the first album, Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. Driscoll, Gruber, and Soule then departed and were replaced by Jim Bain (bass), Tony Carey (keyboards), and former Jeff Beck Group drummer Cozy Powell (b. December 29, 1947, Cirencester, England) for the second album, Rainbow Rising (1976), and the third, On Stage, which made the U.K. Top Ten. (From the third album on, the band was credited only as Rainbow.) Carey and Bain then left and were replaced by David Stone (keyboards) and Bob Daisley (bass) for the fourth album, Long Live Rock 'N' Roll (1978), another Top Ten U.K. hit, after which Daisley and Stone left. In 1979, Blackmore, Dio, and Powell added former Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover (b. November 20, 1945, Brecon, South Wales) and Don Airey (keyboards), and started to make the fifth album, the U.K. Top Ten Down to Earth, but Dio left during the recording sessions and was replaced by Graham Bonnet. The album included two U.K. Top Ten singles, "Since You've Been Gone" and "All Night Long." Powell and Bonnet left in 1980 and were replaced by Bob Rondinelli (drums) and Joe Lynn Turner (vocals), and the lineup of Blackmore, Glover, Airey, Rondinelli, and Turner made the sixth album and fourth U.K. Top Ten LP Difficult to Cure in 1981. The album produced the U.K. Top Ten single "I Surrender." Then Airey left and was replaced by David Rosenthal. In 1982, Blackmore, Glover, Rondinelli, Turner, and Rosenthal made their seventh album and fifth U.K. Top Ten, Straight Between the Eyes. The eighth album, Bent out of Shape, was released in 1983 and featured the band's first U.S. Top 40 hit, "Stone Cold."
In 1984, Blackmore disbanded Rainbow and joined a reformed version of Deep Purple, participating in the albums Perfect Strangers (1984), The House of Blue Light (1987), Nobody's Perfect (1988), Slaves and Masters (1990), The Battle Rages On (1993) and Stranger in Us All (1995). With new outfit Blackmore's Night, in 1997 he resurfaced with Shadow of the Moon; Under a Violet Moon followed a year later. ~ William Ruhlmann, VH1 All Music Guide


Review on Blackmore's Night from
Music Reviews


WOW! I'm tempted to just leave it at that but I guess I should explain my reaction. Ritchie Blackmore is back, but he's not exactly ready to rock. He's teamed up with Candice Night, an absolutely incredible vocalist, and created a masterpiece that would best be described as renaissance music. "Shadow Of The Moon" is unlike any of Blackmore's previous work with Deep Purple and Rainbow. It's also probably the most focused and consistent work of his career.

Blackmore's Night consists of Ritchie Blackmore on electric and acoustic guitars, bass, mandolin, drums, and tambourine, Candice Night on vocals, Pat Regan on keyboards, Gerald Flashman on recorders, trumpet, and french horns, Tom Brown on cello, and Lady Green on viola and violins. Ian Anderson, of Jethro Tull fame, also drops by to add flute to one track. I don't usually list the instrument credits but in this case I think it gives the best impression of the Blackmore Night sound.

The disc contains 15 tracks, 9 of which were co-written by Blackmore & Night. The lyrics, which are chock full of images that follow the renaissance theme, are just excellent. The Blackmore/Night writing team is just another one of the pleasant surprises here. Ritchie also adds 3 new instrumentals and a new arrangement of "Greensleeves." The US release, due in early 1998, will also add an additional track.

There just aren't any negatives here. Every track is great and the disc, as a whole, takes the listener on a sort of magical journey to a time gone by. Candice Night's vocals have a soothing quality which, when matched with Blackmore's acoustic guitar, form an irresistible soundscape which just defies description. This is simply one of the best releases of 1997 and deserves your attention.

If your not already a fan of Ritchie Blackmore's work don't let that stop you from hearing Blackmore's Night. Before today I was, at best, only a casual fan myself. "Shadow Of The Moon" has put Ritchie Blackmore in a whole new light, let's hope it's a bright one! This disc will appeal to Ritchie Blackmore fans as well as fans of folk, acoustic, and medieval/renaissance music. Don't miss it, and pray for a US tour!

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