Title - 'Winter Carols (2017 Edition)'
Artist - Blackmore's Night
For those not quite in the know, Blackmore's Night is a British/American traditional folk rock duo formed in 1997, consisting of Ritchie Blackmore (acoustic and electric guitar) and Candice Night (lead vocals, lyricist and multi-instrumentalist).
Having released ten studio albums, their last two being the much lauded All Our Yesterdays (2015), and the just-released incredible showcasing of their talents on the wondrous 2CD release entitled To The Moon and Back: 20 Years and Beyond ..., they have now re-released this delightful festive musical delight.
1. 'Deck the Halls'
2. 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen'
3. 'Oh Christmas Tree"
4. 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing / Come All Ye Faithful'
5. 'I Saw Three Ships'
6. 'Winter (Basse Dance)'
7. 'Ding Dong Merrily on High'
9. 'Good King Wenceslas'
10. 'Lord of the Dance / Simple Gifts'
11. 'We Three Kings'
12. 'Wish You Were Here' (song from Shadow of the Moon)
14. 'Christmas Eve'
15. 'We Wish You a Merry Christmas'
1. 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing / Come All Ye Faithful - Live from Minstal Hall 2013'
2. 'Emmanuel - Live from Minstal Hall 2013'
3. 'We Three Kings - Live from Minstal Hall 2013'
4. 'Ma-O-Tzur - Live from Minstal Hall 2013'
5. 'Good King Wenceslas - Live from Minstal Hall 2013'
6. "Christmas Eve - 2013 Version'
7. "Christmas Eve - German Radio Edit'
8. "Christmas Eve - English & German Radio Edit'
9. "Christmas Eve - English Radio Edit'
With guitar rock hero Ritchie Blackmore - guitars, mandolin, domra, hurdy-gurdy - alongside his beautiful wife Candice Night - vocals, chanter, cornamuse, shawm, rauschpfeife, tambourine - this newly digitally remastered 2CD, now complete with three brand new bonus tracks is, for my money, the most perfect of musical accompaniments for your Christmas season.
The festive season is a particularly special time for Ritchie Blackmore and Candice Night, not least because many traditional Christmas songs (Carols, if you will) originate from medieval times, which are so dear to them.
On this album, Ritchie and Candice share with their fans some of their favorite Christmas songs of the last 400 years. The song 'Wish You Were Here' is a wonderful cover version of the Rednex song, beautifully interpreted by Candice and embellished by Ritchie's distinctive guitar-playing.
The album also contains 'Christmas Eve', Blackmore's Night's previous Christmas single (from 2013) in different versions. Finally, this 2017 remastered edition contains three brand new bonus tracks: 'Deck The Halls', 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen' and 'Oh Christmas Tree'.
In truth, Blackmore's Night know what they're doing, no matter what they record, and here they once more prove the excellency, and the diversity of their work. The selection of old Carols and newly-created (2013) festive cuts, all superbly performed as only Blackmore's Night know how.
Candice's voice is simply beautiful and blends in so well with the musical arrangements played by the band. Personally, and given that there are 24 tracks here, my favorite has to be 'Hark The Herald Angels Sing / Oh Come All Ye Faithful.'
I just love the drums and horns that start this off and reappear on occasion throughout the piece. It gives a majestic regal feel to the piece. The soft guitar work and strings weave wonderfully into Candice's warm and blissful voice.
Ritchie puts a nice bit of electric guitar into this "medley" that mixes with quick drums for a rollicking feel in the second piece. The backing chorals are beautiful also. I find it puzzling that Christ is not mentioned by name in either tune, as "Christ is born in Bethlehem" is now replaced with "Peace has come to Bethlehem" in 'Hark' and in 'Faithful' "Christ the Lord" is now "He is the Lord".
Still the instrumentation and splendid singing make for an arresting piece and aside from that so-called lyric alteration (and there may be more throughout that i just didn't pick up on), this digitally-remastered 2017 2CD of Winter Carols has to be purchased and played in your homes this holiday season.
With a second disc of Carols recorded live from their Minstal Hall show in 2013, plus four (4) versions of 'Christmas Eve', this album is as complete a festive recording as they come. Buy it. Try it. Love it. You won't regret it, you have my word.
'Winter Carols (2017)' 2CD Purchase Link
Blackmore's Night @ Facebook