‘tis the season…
Released on 20 October 2017 and reviewed by Angie K
Eleven years after the release on Winter Carols in October 2006, Ritchie Blackmore’s Night have found a way to make their fans’ Christmas even more special by re-mastering this magical album. Once again, they bring together traditional Christmas carols and hymns, Blackmore’s own Christmas songs and a slightly stylised modern track – the beloved to them ‘Wish You Were Here’ by Rednex’s.
As much as this album is a repetition of the original ‘Winter Carols’, it does have a slightly new angle to it, too. It contains three brand new bonus tracks, two of which (‘Deck The Halls’ and ‘O Christmas Tree’) have been chosen, very appropriately, as the opening and closing tracks. The first one takes the listeners straight into medieval times, making us visualise a Lord’s banquette with jolly singers, dancers and gestors, nobilities enjoying endless food supplies, flagons of wine and sophisticated conversations.
The unique medieval taste of this compilation is enhanced by Candice’s angelic voice which (even in the live tracks from the second CD) sounds ever so effortless and takes you back to the age of bards and talented street entertainers. The authenticity of all songs and the medieval atmosphere is largely achieved by the wonderful blend of instruments such as nyckelharpa, hurdy-gurdy, tin whistle, shawm, tambourine and mandolin. Even Blackmore’s own songs (‘Winter (Basse Dance)’ and ‘Christmas Eve’) sound just as authentic as the traditional tunes, some of which date as far as 400 years ago.
Blackmore’s Night pay tribute to jolly Christmas carols (‘O Christmas Tree’, ‘I Saw Three Ships’, ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’), Victorian carols (‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’), church hymns (‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing/O Come All Ye Faithful’, ‘We Three Kings’, ‘Emmanuel’), Celtic music (‘Ma-O-Tzur’), and generally to the best of Blackmore’s Night’s favourite times.
Ritchie and Candice’s favourite Christmas songs of all times are presented in a peaceful, lyrical manner, to be enjoyed by burning logs, at candle lights and with a glass of muled wine. This is the kind of Christmas compilation to compliment a quiet family dinner, creating a lovely relaxed atmosphere. In the second CD, however, the band shows that they can also “do” jolly pop Christmas tunes, perfect for loud parties, by including a few different versions of “Christmas Eve” radio edit. This sounds utterly untypical and uncharacteristic of Blackmore, yet it demonstrates again the versatility of his talents.
As in the original album, the 2017 re-mastered release contains a beautiful cover version of ‘Wish You Were Here’ (regularly featured in the band’s productions for many years). This track has been chosen to be promoted as their Christmas single this year. The festive season is now upon us and this album will gently get you into the right mood.
- Deck The Halls
- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
- O Christmas Tree
- Hark! The Herald Angels Sing / O Come All Ye Faithful
- I Saw Three Ships
- Winter (Basse Dance)
- Ding Dong Merrily On High
- Good King Wenceslas
- Lord Of The Dance / Simple Gifts
- We Three Kings
- Wish You Were Here
- Christmas Eve
- We Wish You A Merry Christmas
- Hark! The Herald Angels Sing / O Come All Ye Faithful (Live From Minstrel Hall)
- Emmanuel (Live From Minstrel Hall)
- We Three Kings (Live From Minstrel Hall)
- Ma-O-Tzur (Live From Minstrel Hall)
- Good King Wenceslas (Live From Minstrel Hall)
- Christmas Eve (2013 Version)
- Christmas Eve Radio Edit (German)
- Christmas Eve Radio Edit (English and German)
- Christmas Eve Radio Edit (English