BLACKMORE'S NIGHT: ALL OUR YESTERDAYS (2015)
1) All Our Yesterdays; 2) Allan Yn N Fan; 3) Darker Shade Of Black; 4) Long Long Time; 5) Moonlight Shadow; 6) I Got You Babe; 7) The Other Side; 8) Queen's Lament; 9) Where Are We Going From Here; 10) Will O' The Wisp; 11) Earth Wind And Sky; 12) Coming Home.
One thing you cannot take away from these guys — they sure are tenacious. Ritchie is pushing 70, and even Lady Candice is way past 45 now, making it a bit harder to impersonate The Bonnie Lass O'Fyvie, yet still they plough on at a steady pace, and without even the slightest inkling to step away from the formula. Most of their fans have probably already been hanged for poaching by the Sheriff's men, but still they have enough left to tickle the lower ranges of the pop charts (this one barely scraped the Top 100 in the UK), and you just got to admire that unbending will to keep Sherwood Forest green for as long as they live.
As for the music... who really cares? Once again, we have some odd cover choices: a sterile version of Mike Oldfield's ʽMoonlight Shadowʼ (Blackmore's flourish-heavy solo is nice, but no match for Mike's shrill aggression on the original, and is it worth commenting on whether it would be Candice Night or Maggie Reilly to win in a head-on competition?), and a thoroughly misguided take on Sonny & Cher's ʽI Got You Babeʼ — at least, if handled properly, this would give us a nice chance to finally hear The Man sing, but somehow the quirky detail that the song only truly makes sense as a duet passed them by (Candice is double-tracked on the chorus, or maybe there's some other lady singing harmony, but in any case it ain't quite the same thing).
Somehow they also seem to have run out of suitable Rainbow and Deep Purple songs to cover, so now they're doing the next best thing — covering... Blackmore's Night! Yes, there is an upbeat, dance-pop cover of ʽWhere Are We Going From Hereʼ from Ghost Of A Rose. No more slow country waltzing, we're rushing forward on the wings of synth loops now. No, it doesn't sound that awful (violins and Ritchie's usual baroque bits of electric guitar soloing rule the song more than elements of trendy production), but «pathetic» is probably a good word to use.
As for the new material, the only thing that caught my attention was the title of the instrumental ʽDarker Shade Of Blackʼ — the reference to ʽWhiter Shade Of Paleʼ being way too obvious to miss, and, indeed, this is a slow, stately tune with a prominent organ part that bears a passing resemblance to the Procol Harum song without copying it directly. Not too memorable, impressive, or stylistically unusual, but at least a brief deviation from the usual fare — unlike everything else, with its standard yawny mix of Russian folk dancing (ʽAll Our Yesterdaysʼ), Celtic jigs (ʽAllan Yn N Fanʼ), acoustic ballads (ʽLong Long Timeʼ), and more of the same later on. As there's virtually nothing I could add to what has already been said about Dancer And The Moon, the only thing left to do is give the record the same rating — thumbs down. But do keep on rockin', you guys, on and on and on, till the night is gone and all that.