November 1975 I had the privilege of being at one of only two Deep Purple concerts. I say privilege because it was decades before we were likely to see them live again, apart from a rough 1984 concert. The same applies to Led Zeppelin when they were at Western Springs the previous year, the first and only time they were here.
One of the main stays of the early Deep Purple line up was legendary rock guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. Any one familiar with some of the early anthems like “Smoke on the Water” – “Lazy” or “Highway Star” just to name a few tracks will recognise Ritchie’s guitar playing. Slightly younger folks will know him from his very successful band, Rainbow.
What I didnt know was what he had been doing since his “Rainbow” days until just recently. Purely by chance the good old YouTube algorithms threw up a reference to “Blackmores Night” featuring Ritchie Blackmore. Obviously knowing the name I investigated further and much to my surprise I found music magic. Classed as Traditional Folk Rock, the band leans towards Renaissance era style and musical instrumentation along with modern instruments. With Candice Night providing lead vocal and much of the song lyrics as well as being the wife of Ritchie Blackmore, this ensemble was never going to fail.
While the music is light-years from the likes of Nightwish, Deep Purple or Rainbow it is no less totally enjoyable and the blend of old and new is nothing if not genius, and at 75 years of age Ritchie doesn’t seem to be likely to hang up that guitar anytime soon.
As with all music there are some songs that I dont necessarily like all that much ( they are few in number ) but then there are the gems that Candice brings to life in a way that gives you head to toe goosebumps. Her voice is at times mesmerising and the guitar work by Ritchie is in a class of its own, a master at his craft still.
Below is the full concert of Blackmores Night performing – “A Knight In York”