BLACKMORE'S CASTLE Volume I (Lion Music LMC079)

Every self-respecting cover band has a song from Deep Purple on the reportoire to turn the venue upside down. Fortunately, most of the people did not dare to venture into "Child in Time", but "Smoke on the Water" was played almost so often that it almost became annoying. Playing such songs live is still possible, but recording them in the studio is a different story!

This is partly also apparent on Blackmore's Castle - A Tribute to Deep Purple / Rainbow. A band that thinks they can replace the very tight and almost always unadorned Ian Paice by something that tends towards drums from a box has not really understood it. The performances of "Lazy" and "Highway Star" suffers too much from that, despite the well-groomed guitar playing of Jason Richardson in the first and the nice performance of Winterlong.

Funny to note that a daring performance of Rainbow's "Man on the Silver Mountain" does not lead to this. Allright, on Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow it was not Paice behind the drum kit, but Gary Driscoll. Apparently that makes a difference, right? It is also a bit confusing to hear the Dutch Arabesque do "Stargazer". After all, there is a woman behind the microphone and that is different from Ronnie James Dio! Confusing, but interesting. Fortunately, it is not mainly songs that are indiscriminate copies of the performances of Deep Purple and Rainbow and that makes this Tribute perfectly listenable. Nobody wants an exact copy, right? That's what Best Of... albums are for.

File Under: Nice tribute

Storm, File Under - January 14, 2004

BLACKMORE'S CASTLE Volume II (Lion Music LMC121)

I always view cover- and tribute albums with the necessary skepticism. It is often an easy and especially cheap vehicle to generate some attention. At Lion Music they also readily admit that it is an instrument to put bands in the spotlight in their stable.

It can go two ways with covers: either you make a true version of a song, or you try to do something completely different with it. You can be seriously mistaken in both. Especially when you are going to cover Rainbow and Deep Purple. This was evident, for example, in the Black Night Tribute project by T.M. Stevens, where ex-Kravitz's drummer Cindy Blackman managed to whack the funk entirely out of the Deep Purple songs, with disastrous consequences.

This compilation, like the previous one, usually contains fairly accurate versions. Because these are usually not occasional bands, you do have the advantage that the musicians are attuned to each other. There are therefore no huge mistakes on this album. Sometimes it is very faithfully re-enacted (Dogpound's "Mary Long"), but sometimes the versions are also interpreted in their own way and filled with emotion (Chris Heaven's "Soldier of Fortune") or nicely set on ("I surrender" by Daniel Flores and Friends). This is not an easily put together cover album, it is a nice collection of covers that will certainly delight the Deep Purple and Rainbow fan. If cover and tribute albums were more often of this level, the bad reputation of them should get a lot better.

File Under: Not shocking, but fun

Prikkie, File Under - March 4, 2005