“Shadow Of The Moon” by Blackmore’s Night

Artist: Blackmore’s Night
Title: “Shadow Of The Moon”
Label: Minstrel Hall Music
Release Date: 2/9/2010
Genre: Folk Rock
Rating: 4/5

Originally released on Steamhammer SPV records in 1997, the debut release by Blackmore’s Night “Shadow Of The Moon” has been remastered and now comes care of Minstrel Hall Music. The album is essentially the introduction to the world of the new phase in musical life that was being presented by former Deep Purple and Rainbow axe slinger Ritchie Blackmore who is joined by his then companion, the lovely Candice Night (the couple would eventually marry in 2009). Together they would play an interesting blend of Classical music with a very strong Folk and Renaissance flavor to it and depending on what your tastes are this might be just what you are looking for because it is very, very different from what the conventional Blackmore fans were expecting him to do. In today’s music realm I admit to being a fan of what the band does for the world, but I had to say that when this release was initially distributed I hardly cared what it was all about for my head was in a different place and of course twelve years younger as well. Since that time I have grown to appreciate all of the wonderful melodies and arrangements that they do so it was very interesting to hear the debut release so long after it first came to us. Blackmore plays all of the guitars, be they acoustic or electric, on the album and even offers up a little tambourine and some drums while Candice handles all of the vocals. The end result is a number of great songs that take you to a different place and time and that is very effective when the music can do that to you from just a single listen. There is a warmth to the style of Blackmore’s Night that is not easily duplicated and while the debut release is largely acoustic in nature there are some rocking moments and more up tempo pieces that work out rather well.

“The Clock Ticks On” is one of my favorites from the group and I grew to appreciate this one from the live DVD called “Castles And Dreams” based on its being so boisterous and lively. The original album track is much more subdued and can be compared to how “Rock and Roll All Nite” by KISS grew to be more popular after the live album than when its studio original first hit us. Another interesting inclusion on the release is the bands cover of the Renaissance classic “Ocean Gypsy”. Candice has a beautiful voice and does justice to the tune originally sung by Annie Haslam. It’s different enough to find fans of that legendary Art Rock band appreciating their rendition. Highlights that remain in the bands live set today are found in “Renaissance Faire” and “Play, Minstrel, Play”. “Renaissance Faire” is one of the tunes that really manage to capture the spirit of what the band is out to deliver to you very vividly and in the live sense it finds the entire crowd singing along. One can envision heavy casks of wine being poured and toasted as friends share good times together. A tune that seemed misplaced would be “Writing On The Wall” which I felt was a bit strange when compared to the rest of the album. Perhaps this one needs to be played live to have the most emphasis, but I felt it was very out of sync with the rest of the recording. I will not fault them of course because this is a modern look back on an album that was the first go round. The remaster features an additional instrumental track and this is pretty good as well. They include a booklet which gives the listener all of the lyrics to the songs but no real introduction to the project which surprised me being the first release under this banner. There are two photos of Ritchie and Candice to enjoy as well. If you still don’t own this release but like what you have heard about the band the time is perfect to grab a copy of this one and join the rest of us down at the medieval fairs. We’ll keep a glass ready for you.

Track Listing:
1. Shadow Of The Moon
2. The Clock Ticks On
3. Be Mine Tonight
4. Play, Minstrel, Play
5. Ocean Gypsy
6. Minstrel Hall
7. Magical World
8. Writing On The Wall
9. Renaissance Faire
10. Memmingen
11. No Second Chance
12. Mond Tanz
13. Spirit Of The Sea
14. Greensleeves
15. Wish You Were Here
16. Possum’s Last Dance (bonus)

Official Website: http://www.blackmoresnight.com

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