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Blackmore's Night

Shadow Of The Moon

Review by Larry Toering

This is the first Blackmore's Night release, and when it came out it didn't seem as if the project would go as far as it did. This is full of all kinds of traditional medieval and folk stylings, along with a lot of other influences and almost ancient themes. To this day they still continue to repeat themselves, although how well, depends on personal opinion. No matter the answer, though, this is certainly a fine album in the Blackmore legacy, and by far my favorite in the BN catalog. Blackmore has never let me down, musically speaking, and this was a rather uplifting point in his career as far as I'm concerned.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 5 at

Track by Track Review
Shadow Of The Moon

This is an instant change of pace from what fans expected of Ritchie Blackmore. He had explored Indian themes for decades by then, but this was all a very refreshing thing to hear at the time. The intro just sets it all up, and then Night enters the picture and shows what she is made of. At the time, it was hard to find a fan that didn't welcome everything on this entire disc. It really was a new wrinkle for Blackmore.

The Clock Ticks On

There is a lovely intro here as well, very reminiscent of wherever Europe lifted it for “The Final Countdown,” as it's the exact same notes, with more of a horn factor to it. Of course, it's obviously just a keyboard patch. Night goes on to sing a lovely tune here, of a very romantic nature.

Be Mine Tonight

This rings of even more romance in the air, and it, too, is surprisingly delightful, and mellower than the previous two tracks.

Play Minstrel Play

Ian Anderson plays a flute solo here, and it makes the song, although it's a killer brooding ballad to begin. His presence just gives it the push it needed to make it all it could be. This is great stuff, and by this point it's easy to tell something special was happening here.

Ocean Gypsy

This is one of the covers to be found here, and it's a fantastic version. In fact, it’s one of the many high points on SOTM.

Minstrel Hall

Blackmore shows a subtle side to himself here, and it's once again a refreshing sound to say the least. This is one of the classic BN tracks of them all, even if it is just a brief little ditty.

Magical World

More of that romantic flair works its magic here again, and it's just a sweet little fairy tale type tune. I can see anyone from kids to parents enjoying this. However, it is a little on the fluffy side for most Blackmore fans. It’s still a fine track, though.

Writing On The Wall

This opens with “Swan Lake,” traditionally credited to its rightful composer, and then things take off in the unexpected modern way. A bouncy and  slightly menacing approach fills the air, with easily one of Night’s best vocal contributions to this outfit. Blackmore pulls out the Strat for this and plays a little lick made of practically nothing, but done with incredible conviction. It's as if he was saying, “'this is all I need to do, for anyone to recognize me.” Then he proceeds to basically disappear, playing just a few minor chords here and there, only to return out of nowhere to take a blistering lead and fade it out. It’s an absolutely stunning thing to hear, especially for the first time. It's like arriving out of nowhere, just when one starts to wonder if this project is really working or not. At this point, it's definitely getting interesting.

Renaissance Fair

This is the track that Cozy Powell said Blackmore used to always make Rainbow rehearse, so it's no wonder it sounds like he's been playing it for decades. Night puts in a particularly fine performance, helping establish her position, and it's delivered with class. This is no BN favorite of mine, but likely one to the BN/non Purple/Rainbow fans.


This is another sweet little instrumental, the kind that became commonplace for this group. It contains a melody so often repeated in their songs that it tends to have that samey factor going on. But as far as the rest is concerned, it doesn't fall below the BN standards in the process.

No Second Chance

Now we're talking, as this contends with the very best of what this band has had to offer over the years.  Night gets the spotlight here until Blackmore takes a solo and bumps her off for a bit. It is a lovely solo of precise perfection. It’s simply amazing how he works it out before a programmed beat steps in for a few seconds to bring things back to the vocals. This is sheer magic, I say.

Mond Tanz

This is an Asian-themed instrumental, but also with a sort of Egyptian-like feel to it, as well.

Spirit Of the Sea

Once again, this is another highlight, as its atmospheric vibe takes hold and doesn't let go until the end. This is just one of their best, again, that is all.


This sees Blackmore doing yet another twist on the classic number he always loved. It, too is yet another highlight of this debut disc.

Wish You Were Here

This is definitely a female favorite in the sing along sort of fashion. A country feel adds to the flavor as well, but it's mostly a folk ballad, with a lovely lyric and vocal delivery. It rounds off what many consider, not only to be their best work, but their most important, as well.

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