Veteran guitarist Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple, Rainbow) and singer Candice Night are doing their part to help audiences get into the holiday spirit. The duo is doing so by re-issuing its 2006 holiday music compilation, Winter Carols. The two-disc collection is scheduled for re-issue Friday through earMUSIC. The record’s re-issue, which will come less than a year after the release of the act’s latest album, Nature’s Light, is anchored by the addition of four previously unreleased songs, all of which are covers of well-known holiday standards – ‘It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,’ ‘Here We Come A-Caroling,’ ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem,’ and ‘Silent Night.’ Additionally, a remastered take of the duo’s Christmas single, ‘Christmas Eve’ is featured as part of this record’s new presentation. That song in question is one of the most notable of the re-issue’s additions and will be examined shortly. The duo’s take of ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ is also of note. It will be examined a little later. The duo’s take of ‘Silent Night’ is just as notable as the other songs noted here and will also be discussed later. When it and those noted songs are considered along with the rest of the record’s featured songs, the whole makes Winter Carols another holiday music collection that lovers of the noted genre will enjoy.
Blackmore’s Night’s forthcoming re-issue of its 2006 compilation record, Winter Carols, is a presentation that audiences will agree is just as interesting in its new presentation as in its original release. Its interest comes in part through the addition of the duo’s original song, ‘Christmas Eve.’ Originally released in 2013, there is a clear difference between the song’s new, updated take and its original take. The most notable difference comes in the inclusion of a distinct electronic element to the updated take not originally featured in the original song. The synthesized bells alongside the upbeat danceable beat added to the mix give the song something of an 80s new wave vibe. By comparison, the song’s 2013 take has more of a pure, celebratory, holiday sense what with the use of the horns and tambourine alongside the layered vocals. It really gives the song a full, holiday sense. Needless to say, the comparison of the two takes is certain to divide audiences, again making clear why this addition to the record is so important to examine. It is just one of the notable additions to the compilation’s new presentation, too. The duo’s take of ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ is another interesting added work.
Blackmore and Night’s take of ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ is important to note because of its differences from the renditions that audiences know. When audiences think of this song, they think of a gentle, quiet song. That arrangement is meant to reflect the happiness and serenity of that Christmas night when Jesus Christ was born. It really echoes the child’s innocence and that of that night. Night and Blackmore’s take on the song is starkly different. It is a far more upbeat take by comparison. In place of the lullabye-esque approach of the original song is a guitar-driven composition accompanied by layered vocals and tambourine that runs somewhere in the range of about 125 beats per minute if not faster. What’s more, the noted combination and production gives the song a decidedly almost pop type sense while also conjuring thoughts of another timeless song – ‘Simple Gifts’ – than anything Christmas related. It is a completely different take on the song, simply put, that is just as certain to divide audiences as the duo’s updated take of its own original song, ‘Christmas Eve.’ That the duo took the road clearly far less traveled here was brave. It gives audiences something new apart from that run of the mill approach that so many artists out there churn out in the sense of this song. So again, regardless of which side audiences take on this one (and audiences are certain to take sides just as much in this case as in the other examined song), Blackmore and Night are to be commended for taking the chance and giving audiences something unique from such a well-known song. It is just one more of the most notable of the new additions to the collection’s re-issue. Blackmore and Night’s take of the equally well-known carol, ‘Silent Night’ is just as worth discussing as the other songs already examined here.
Blackmore and Night’s take on ‘Silent Night’ starts out just as gentle and flowing as the original song and so many of the multitude of its covers from across the musical universe. Night’s vocals against the airy effect in the keyboards and choral/layered backing vocals makes the song so moving in the simplicity and richness therein. As the song progresses though, things change and get more interesting. Blackmore joins in with a light, simple guitar line that enhances the arrangement even more. The subtle ‘Jingle Bells’ tribute that Blackmore adds in the song’s final bar helps the song leave listeners with even more of a smile on their faces. What is so interesting about this rendition is that it is actually fitting, considering that the very first arrangement, composed by Franz Gruber in 1818, was guitar based, as per the request of Father Joseph Mohr, who actually penned the original poem, ‘Stille Nacht’ (or ‘Silent Night’). Given, Gruber’s rendition is likely a far cry from what audiences get in Blackmore and Night’s take on the song, but the duo’s performance here is still at least somewhat true to its source material, just picked up a little bit in the approach here. On a side note, there is a wonderful documentary from PBS titled, The First Silent Night that tells the history of how the original song came to be. It is well worth watching. It is that in-depth and moving. Getting back on the subject at hand, this rendition of ‘Silent Night,’ that of ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem,’ and the updated take of the duo’s original song, ‘Christmas Eve,’ are all key additions to the new re-issue of Winter Carols. When they are considered along with the rest of the record’s entries, the whole becomes a work that audiences will agree is a welcome re-issue of Winter Carols and an equally interesting addition to this year’s field of holiday music releases, even being a re-issue.
Blackmore’s Night’s forthcoming re-issue of its 2006 holiday music collection, Winter Carols, is an interesting presentation. Its interest comes mainly through the new additions to the record this time out. The added songs are definitely unique from their source material from one to the next. That they are so unique is what makes them interesting. Yes, they will divide audiences between purists and others, but that Blackmore and Night took the chance and made such unique takes on the examined songs is to be applauded. The same applies with the rest of the record’s songs. All things considered, the record proves itself a welcome addition to any holiday music fans’ library of the noted style sounds.
Winter Carols is scheduled for release Friday. More information on the re-issue is available along with all of the band’s latest news at: