Dancer and the Moon
2013 / Frontier Records
Review by Michael Debbage
Perhaps 2013 is the year of the Blackmore. Not only do we have a brand new recording from Blackmore’s Night but also a live recording from 1995 when Blackmore reformed his metal band Rainbow. Whether or not this a formally endorsed release by Ritchie himself there is no doubting that Dancer and the Moon is both a continued adventure into the rockin’ renaissance world but also a beautiful glance at the past.
To those of you still expecting anything heavy from the riff man keep walking on. Blackmore’s Night is still enthralling in their more reflective efforts that we have come to expect from the band. But much like its prior release Autumn Sky there are significant tributes to yesterday that include a cover of Randy Newman’s “I Think It’s Going To Rain Today” as well as Uriah Heep’s gorgeous mid tempo ballad “Lady In Black”.
More obvious root dwellers include revisiting the moody Rainbow ballad “Temple Of The King” that Blackmore co- composed with the late Ronnie James Dio. Filling in for Dio is an audacious task but Candice’s emotive vocals along with Blackmore’s restrained but weeping guitar plays wonderful tribute to Dio. Blackmore does not stop there and reaches back to his Purple days and closes out the album with another beautiful tribute to the late Jon Lord. The guitarist and keyboard player produced some wonderful interplay during their heydays and this melancholy instrumental is a most respectable tribute the late Jon Lord.
On the more forward thinking Blackmore, Night and the leaping musical lords continue to compose stellar material. The standout tracks are the delicate songs “The Last Leaf” and “The Spinner’s Tale”. Night’s voice has never been stronger and Blackmore’s touch on the acoustic guitar is full of caress. But that doesn’t stop Blackmore’s Night from creating songs with greater ferocity which is best showcased on “The Moon Is Shining (Somewhere Over The Sea)”. When you combined the chord progressions with the rhythm section pressing the song on and Blackmore looking ever so at home on the electric guitar, the rock element is quite significant. With a little left up to the imagination is this what a commercial Rainbow might sound like with Night on lead vocals? The results are quite impressive especially when you intermingle these vocal arrangements with three notable instrumental tracks.
However, for those of you still looking for shades of Purple or searching through the land of Oz somewhere over the rainbow, stop living in the past. With the exception of the fitting tributes to the late Lord and Dio, Dancer and the Moon is all about the musical partnership of guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and female vocalist Candice Night who have been making very credible music as Blackmore’s Night since 1997.
October 14, 2013
Review by Michael Debbage