November 15, 2007

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Blackmore’s Night, Paris Moon
SPV Records, Nov. 6
Something’s really super wrong with ex-Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore in these MySpace pix, man — the corners of his mouth are, like, upturned, almost as if … wait, the little guy is SMILING. You almost couldn’t blame him, either: he’s got castles, a totally medieval stage setup, and a girl singer girlfriend who looks like Laura from General Hospital before the Doritos.

The Paris Moon CD/DVD pack captures a 2006 live show, obviously from the land of freedom fries, the band playing all your favorite medieval riff-rock, Ritchie in elf boots concentrating on his distorto-troubadour-lute while other people play shawms, cornamuses, rauchpfifes, pennywhistles, electric bagpipes and other bubonic plague-era sundries. Candice Night is apparently the Night who belongs to Blackmore if you take the band-moniker literally, which is really sexist, but then again this is the guy who made up the song “Smoke On the Water,” so if he wants to own a girl outright who’s to say he can’t?

So anyway, assuming you were on a years-long bender when Ritchie decided to go completely ren-fair, Night sounds like Natalie Merchant with a stronger voice and some of Loreena McKennitt’s chromosomes, and the band’s tuneage is authentic 1600s minstrel stuff that can actually be hard to remove from your CD player. Where Loreena McKennitt tends to get a little nebulous with her faerie-maiden-riding-horsie-through-shamrocks IRA-folk, this lot occasionally lets down their hair for some knights-clocking-knights-with-maces pomp and bishop-takes-rook-metal left over from when Ronnie James Dio didn’t want to beat Ritchie’s head in all the time. BEric W. Saeger