Richie Blackmore needs no introduction to anyone with a passing interest in rock. Creator of some of the finest riffs in rock history, key member of not one, but two massive bands… and Blackmore’s Night. Hmm! Some people may not understand, or even appreciate, his move into folk rock with his wife, Candice Night, but folk influences were clear in his earlier, hard rock days and, as far as I’m concerned, the man is a legend and he can do whatever makes him happy.
What makes him happy right now, would seem to be the release of a Christmas single: “Wish You Were Here”. (No, not that one but, somewhat bizarrely, a cover of a song by Rednex… yes, the “Cotten Eye Joe” lot!) The single comes from a re-issue of of the album Winter Carols, which was originally released in 2006. The 2017 edition, due out in October, has been remastered, and added to: it now spans two CDs instead of one. There is new material on the album but Blackmore’s Night have chosen a track from the original 2006 release.
So, is it any good? First off, I would class it as a winter song rather than a Christmas carol. More soft rock ballad than folk rock festive. Smooth and gentle with the pure tones of Candice Night front and centre. Mr Blackmore is, however, a strong and vibrant presence throughout. The track starts with some understated acoustic guitar but as it builds, the electric guitar takes over. The guitars never dominate but weave between the vocals and the other instruments. By the end of the track though, Richie creates an impressively mellow series of solos that brings things to a stirring end.
I’m not in full-on Christmas mode after listening to this single… but I am inspired to track down the re-issue of the album when it is released. Check out the video below; especially the guitar at the end. It is possible that even the Scroogiest rock fan will find something to admire.
Wish You Were Here is available now as a digital download.