Reviewer Dr. Wesley Britton: Dr. Britton is the author of four non-fiction books on espionage in literature and the media. Starting in fall 2015, his new six-book science fiction series, The Beta-Earth Chronicles, debuted via BearManor Media. For seven years, he was co-host of online radio’s Dave White Presents where he contributed interviews with a host of entertainment insiders. Before his retirement in 2016, Dr. Britton taught English at Harrisburg Area Community College. Learn more about Dr. Britton at his WEBSITE
Studio: Eagle Rock
DVD Release Date: 22 Jan. 2016
The Ritchie Blackmore Story joins the growing catalogue of video documentaries celebrating the careers of important rock pioneers. Without question, Blackmore is more than worthy of such a tribute and retrospective. His enigmatic place among rock’s guitar gods is significant, influential, and, well, is very deep indeed.
For most viewers, insights into the heavy music of Deep Purple and Rainbow are what they’ll most want to see, and the fact Blackmore himself is extensively interviewed is a major draw for this DVD. Not only does he comment on his long-standing duel with Purple’s Ian Gillan and his on and off-stage relationships with Rainbow’s Ronnie James Dio and Cozy Powell, he provides the stories behind some of his most famous licks as with “Smoke on the Water,” “Highway Star,” and “Black Night.” Yes, we get samples of Blackmore’s playing beginning with the Rod Evans’ Purple era through Blackmore’s Renaissance music recordings. Excerpts come from ditties like “Hush,” “Wring That Neck,” “Space Truckin’,” “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “Mistreated,” “Burn,” “Man On The Silver Mountain,” “I Surrender,” “Perfect Strangers,” “Play Minstrel Play,” and “Renaissance Faire.”
Throughout the bio, we also hear from some of Blackmore’s former bandmates. From Deep Purple, Glenn Hughes, the late Jon Lord, and David Coverdale are interviewed; from Rainbow, we get memories from vocalists Joe Lynn Turner and Graham Bonnet. Naturally, the last third of the story features observations from Blackmore’s longtime partner in Blackmore’s Night, Candice Night. No surprise, both Blackmore and Night spend considerable time defending their acoustic music careers. Along the way, musical peers praise Blackmore’s influence on their own work including Brian May, Lars Ulrich, Steve Lukather, Joe Satriani, Gene Simmons, and Steve Vai.
To be fair, seriously serious Blackmore fans are not likely to learn much new in the documentary. Perhaps some observations are questionable. For example, at one point the claim is made that Dio and Powell left Rainbow in part over their unhappiness that Blackmore was featured alone on a Circus magazine cover. But these musicians left the band at very different times. If you didn’t already know better, you might get the impression keyboardist Jon Lord’s only important contribution to Deep Purple was his 1969 Concerto for Group and Orchestra. Still, Blackmore’s critiques of nearly every album he performed on match up very well with most opinions already expressed by critics and fellow musicians.
So whether you’re already familiar with the long and winding road of Ritchie Blackmore or not, this DVD, Blu-ray, or digital download belongs in your rock ‘n roll library. It’s an insider’s view into music well worth celebrating.