Practically every past Classic Rock review of Blackmore’s Night has included the comment: ‘This is all fine and dandy, but when in tarnation is the Man In Black gonna play real rock’n’roll again?’ Well, sorry to disappoint you, Purple and Rainbow fans, but the answer is: probably never.
It’s about time we took BN for what it is: an idiosyncratic excursion beloved of Blackmore and his now-wife Candice Night, of limited interest to Machine Head and Rainbow Rising fans, but entirely worthwhile within its rarefied Renaissance perameters.
Blackmore plays his guitar beautifully here, particularly on the lilting Strawberry Girl; Night’s singing is more mature these days, having lost much of its earlier cloying sentimentality; there’s a pleasing lack of German drinking songs; sheesh, there’s even a top version of The Kinks’ classic Celluloid Heroes to contend with.
Unlike Locked Within The Crystal Ball (from previous BN album Secret Voyage) there’s no stonking standout track, but that’s our only serious gripe. To paraphrase Diamond Head: is Ritchie medieval? Yes he is – like it or not.