Deep Purple axe-wielder Richie Blackmore and previously unheard of vocalist Candace Night released their first collaborative effort, Shadow of the Moon in 1998. At the time, I think most fans thought (hoped?) Blackmore would get over his fascination with Renaissance music and return to the full tilt Strat-though-Marshall-Stack delivery for which he became known during his tenures with the two rock acts he founded: Deep Purple and Rainbow.
Well, about a dozen albums later, Blackmore’s Night is still here. And somewhere across town at the house of Deep Purple, Steve Morse is holding down the guitar duties just fine, thank you. And Ronnie James Dio has passed over into the next realm, making a Rainbow return unlikely as well. So, since many of the major players are happy where they are, or temporarily/temporally indisposed, Blackmore’s Night is where Blackmore hangs out these days, and he doesn’t show any sign of doing anything different in the near future.
It’s a good place to be: A Knight in York, a live album/DVD, finds Candace Night singing in fine form: she has a good voice, not designed for vocal gymnastics, but for effective storytelling through song. She fronts the proceedings like she was born to it, leaving Blackmore to sit back and make his contributions through his masterful acoustic guitar playing.
The accompanying flutes, hand percussion, and various acoustic instruments provide the background and color where the two main performers can show off their talents. They play a mixed selection of songs from most of their albums, some going back nearly a decade or so and some going back only a couple of years. In a few places, it’s interesting to hear passages that with a little more volume and aggression could have passed easily for some typical Purple passages, and no one can be faulted for that because Blackmore helped develop that sound and it’s only logical that his musical signature still shows up in his own music.
So, Blackmore and Night have got a good thing going here: They have an audience and a market and their talent so why not continue with it? And although I rarely see these CDs and DVDs in the stores, they must be selling more than just a few of them. In fact, so many that the band can continue going back to the studio every couple of years to make another one.
The only objection I’d make to this album is that it seems to be so cleanly recorded, it sounds in places like those “Sounds of the True Celtic Spirit” or “Solstice and Starlight” CDs you hear in the 24 CDs for Different Moods sampler display in the local florist/gift card shop.
If you’ve know little about Blackmore’s Night, A Knight in York might be as a good place as any to get a quick overview of the band and what they do.