Review by Paul Monkhouse for MPM
Many were wondering what Ritchie Blackmore would do next following his winding up of Rainbow, the free spirited guitarist never afraid of going where his muse lead him.
With their shared love of Renaissance music, it was not much of a stretch for the legend to delve deeper into that world with his partner Candice Night and from this joining of names Blackmore’s Night sprung, ready to roll back the years to a mystic past.
With their debut being released a quarter century ago now, there was never a better time to re-release ‘Shadow of the Moon’, the multi-hued opus having been given a polish with bonus tracks added.
For those expecting a re-tread of his past glories, this new venture provided new facets of his talents, his abilities on other instruments beyond his famed white Stratocaster allowed to truly shine, Night the perfect foil with her crystalline voice.
Soaked in atmosphere, this seventeen track release brings ancient and modern into one compelling whole from the opening notes of the titular first track onwards, weaving an enchanted spell that delves into great castles and honey dappled meadows.
Each song builds on the legacy of the medieval music that it was birthed from, the Renaissance being the next progression from those early wonders of folk storytelling and explored here, Blackmore taking the first full, public steps into a world that had always fascinated and shaped his playing from the early days of Rainbow onwards.
Alongside the kaleidoscopic facets of ‘The Clock Ticks On’, ‘Be Mine Tonight’ and ‘Spirit of the Sea’, the cover of ‘Ocean Gypsy’ and Ian Anderson’s flute on ‘Play Minstrel Play’ shows the band adept at bringing other elements in to add to the mix.
There’s a very individual take on ‘Greensleeves’ and the melding of Tchaikovsky with an ABBA style pop rock sensibility on ‘Writing on the Wall’ is something that could come from the mind of people bold and assured enough to have fun.
Going from the delicate and evocative ‘Magical World’, a track never so aptly named, to the lovely adult rock with a delicate touch of Rednex cover ‘Wish You Were Here’ within the space of an album, there is enough here to warrant many happy hours exploring deeper, each track taking you down a different and fascinating path.
Releasing the album was always going to be a bold move but one that both Blackmore and Night were sure of, their aim not to gain commercial success, although the album was well received and sold well, but of artistic integrity.
It was just the first of many and the musical world opened up here by the duo, along with Pat Regan’s keys, the cello of Tom Brown, Lady Green’s viola and violin along with the recorder, trumpet and French horn playing of Gerald Flashman has been a eternally evolving pleasure ever since.
Still a thing that beguiles some twenty-five years later, ‘Shadow of the Moon’ displays a jaw dropping display of musicianship in a most unexpected setting and fortune favours those brave enough to tread down its unfurling mysteries. A pastoral delight.
- Shadow Of The Moon (25th Anniversary New Mix) (Vinyl Side A)
- The Clock Ticks On (25th Anniversary New Mix) 3. Be Mine Tonight (25th Anniversary New Mix)
- Play Minstrel Play (25th Anniversary New Mix) 5. Ocean Gypsy (25th Anniversary New Mix) (Vinyl Side B)
- Minstrel Hall (25th Anniversary New Mix)
- Magical World (25th Anniversary New Mix)
- Writing On The Wall (25th Anniversary New Mix)
- Renaissance Faire (25th Anniversary New Mix) (Vinyl Side C)
- Memmingen (25th Anniversary New Mix)
- No Second Chance (25th Anniversary New Mix) 12. Mond Tanz (25th Anniversary New Mix)
- Spirit Of The Sea (25th Anniversary New Mix) (Vinyl Side D)
- Greensleeves (25th Anniversary New Mix)
- Wish You Were Here (25th Anniversary New Mix)
- Shadow Of The Moon (Ritchie & Candice Anniversary Home Session) (7” Single, Track A)
- Spirit Of The Sea (Ritchie & Candice Anniversary Home Session) (7” Single, Track B)
Pre-order the reissue album here: https://blackmoresnight.lnk.to/ShadowOfTheMoon25thAnniversary
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