A mystical, melodic, cheerful and warm-spirited album…
Review by David Waterfield
Release date: 18 September 2015
Many of the songs that mean something to us come wrapped up in feelings or memories, perhaps connecting us to a time, a place or a person. The music becomes part of who we are and certain songs become the soundtrack to our lives. This theme of living in the present yet enriched by the past is one that runs through the songs on Blackmore’s Night’s tenth album, All Our Yesterdays.
I’ve always had something of a soft spot for Blackmore’s Night. Their mix of folk, rock and Celtic musical styles married to lyrics rooted in nature, folklore and a romanticized ideal of the Renaissance has always appealed to me. All Our Yesterdays starts out brightly with the title track echoing Candice Night’s Russian ancestry and the lyrics recalling happy, carefree times gone by. Ritchie Blackmore’s Welsh heritage is celebrated in the light and lively instrumental jig ‘Allan yn y Fan’ (‘Out Here’) whilst the man himself lets rip with a fine Stratocaster solo towards the close of the moody instrumental ‘Darker Shade Of Black’.
All Our Yesterdays also draws inspiration from the community folk nights in Blackmore and Night’s home town during which the neighbours share songs that form part of their own history. Although this fits in with the theme of All Our Yesterdays, for me this is where the album comes unstuck with three back-to-back cover versions of well-known songs by Linda Rondstadt (‘Long Long Time’), Mike Oldfield (‘Moonlight Shadow’) and Sonny & Cher (‘I Got You Babe’). These songs may work wonderfully in an intimate communal setting or live show but on CD they just come across as a series of pleasant but innocuous cover versions and I’d be lying if I said that any of them come close to the originals.
The band plunders their own back catalogue too for an ill-advised take on ‘Where Are We Going From Here’, which transforms the gorgeous ballad from the Ghost Of A Rose album into an up-tempo rock number which only succeeds in ruining the beauty of the song. However the band then instantly redeem themselves with ‘Will o the Wisp’ – easily the best track on the album – which is spirited, spine-tingling and wonderful and the delicate ode to nature ‘Earth, Wind and Sky’ which reminds me why I love this band so much in the first place.
All Our Yesterdays befits Blackmore’s Night in that it is a mystical, melodic, cheerful and warm-spirited album, but with three instrumentals and four cover versions amongst the twelve tracks it also feels rather slight. It’s undoubtedly a pleasant listen and as a fan of the band I enjoyed it, but fewer cover versions – or more original material surrounding them – would have made for a stronger album.
7 out of 10
- All Our Yesterdays
- Allan yn n Fan
- Darker Shade of Black
- Long Long Time
- Moonlight Shadow
- I Got You Babe
- The Other Side
- Queen’s Lament
- Where Are We Going From Here
- Will o’ the Wisp
- Earth Wind and Sky
- Coming Home