Ritchie Blackmore – Then & Now

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”

The state of modern music today P1.

From humble beginnings….

I’ve been listening to modern music for the better part of 50 years, assuming modern music started in the 1950’s with the advent of the mass produced electric guitars and the rise of the multi track audio recording/mixing studios circa 1960’s ( or perhaps a little earlier).

During the latter half of the 1960’s through to the late 1980’s there was a massive up-welling of musical talent, and genres of “modern music” were  arriving in the radio stations playlists, at time this seemed like a daily occurrence1200px-Europe-blocs-49-89x4.svg

A lot of the music of this era was a political outcry, with the likes of the Vietnam War, Civil Rights movement in the US, Khmer Rouge in South West Asia and the Soviet Bloc , being some of the inspiration behind the music. On the home front it was a message to the younger generation telling them that there was other ways of living ones life that didnt require absolute devotion to Church & State. In other words anti establishment. This movement affirmed that you didnt need to conform to old outdated views and that fresh ideas could lead to better life. Sounds a little too altruistic? Perhaps, but forty years of social and political change starting in the 1950’s were brought about  by a younger generation who had directly or indirectly seen what the ravages of two world wars could do to a family, country and society.

In a more modernistic theme it could be called Rage Against The Machine, and yes there is a band with that name too.  Currently they are planning a reunion tour in 2020, thirty years older and probably wiser than when they formed in 1991.

By the end of the 1980’s I pretty much stopped listening to what was “popular” and radio seemed to be going a very formulaic route, girl and boy bands were on the rise, Oasis seemed a breath of fresh air until the wheels fell off and they basically disappeared into obscurity. Yep the nineteen ninety’s were anything other than memorable. The big bands that had good followings, Metallica, Guns & Roses, Van Halen, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana and a smattering of others are largely what drove the music industry. The rest was radio play fluff and not very good. It was evident early on when the lack of musical talent was easy to spot that there were problems within the music industry.MOBY_RUST_2009

Previous generations of musicians had talent and more importantly they had a musical background, came from music schools, had studied art and music as part of the interest in music as a subject and a career or calling. There are of course those who are blessed at birth with an innate music talent and can play anything, sing everything and  perform with little or no background in the subject. The Street Magazine has an interesting little article that lists  what they feel were   the ten biggest bands of the 1990’s. I think they missed a few but each to their own.

We are now in the third decade of the 21st century.  Wow where did the time go?  Main stream fluff and formulaic music dreamt up by music labels seems to still be the order of the day.  They seem to have zero interest in artists that appear a little out side the norm, ensuring they dont get a look in, until fan pressure forces the issue.

Our own homegrown Lorde is a classic example of this, had she not had the smarts to produce a EP that was free to play or download its likely the big recording labels wouldn’t have even let her in the door. If you have been wondering lately why country music seems to be making a comeback of sorts ( although it never really went away), its because in this genre individuality and song writing skill is a blessing not a curse and the width of this style of music is growing, people are enjoying the story telling aspect of the music, something sadly lacking in a lot of the current crop when every second song is about love and little else.

Which leads nicely into one of this weeks feature bands, Nightwish.  Just click on the link below.


Welcome to our new “Music” section

As previously mentioned we have a new music section here at the “Kiwi” as it holds a special interest for many of us. Its long been known that both music and photography have had very close links over the past 100 years or so and will into the foreseeable future. This has now broadened out somewhat with the advent of cheap (relatively) video cameras and outstanding smartphones.

Taken with my HS10 at Hamilton N.Z. ZZ Top concert.

My interest in music started at a very early age and hasn’t dimmed over time, in point of fact with the rise of the digital era and streaming services its become even more of a pastime and source of enjoyment.

Click on the MUSIC tab in the menus to access content as we add articles, photos and links.