Candice Night has been the voice of Blackmore’s Night since it was launched on an unsuspecting world in June 1997 with Shadow Of The Moon. She is also a multi-instrumentalist; classically trained as a girl on piano, and since she turned professional she has learned several Mediaeval instruments, particularly shawm. She also writes complete songs on occasion, but how does she stack up as a lyricist?
Broadly speaking, Candice draws her inspiration from three fields: mysticism – fascination with time, nature, the Universe; all things Mediaeval – which is down to her other half; and the Big L – which for her is one man, the Black Knight himself.
Although Shadow Of The Moon was not her very first venture into songwriting, this outstanding album saw her contributing lyrically to no fewer than nine songs. The title track, The Clock Ticks On and Renaissance Faire are all outstanding, the first being original, the other two being adapted from melodies by Tielman Susato, although anyone who has heard the originals will concede that adaptation is a very loose term, and like the later Locked Within The Crystal Ball (adapted from Stellar Splendens), the original composer would be blown away by the Blackmore’s Night treatment.
She has also penned English lyrics for songs written in other languages; for example, the Nordman song Vandraren which was originally in Swedish; her treatment of that is not only thematic, it shows she can also write for the male voice, as does World Of Stone, which like the epic Fires At Midnight is based on a melody by Alfonso The Wise:
“Bring to me all of my arrows,
Bring to me my crossbow too,
I fear we might need them both
Before the night is through.”
How many songs have been written about kitchens? Precious few without the inclusion of food, but the Ghost Of A Rose album contains the show opener Cartouche, about a kitchen cellar. The title track, about the tragic Jacqueline Du Pré, is particularly beautiful lyrically.
The Secret Voyage album sees her taking a Russian love song and turning it into a drinking song, and it must be conceded that melodically Toast To Tomorrow is much more in the fashion of raising a glass with friends than the original Vinovata Li Ya, which is if not about love then the physical act that often accompanies it. The two tracks The Moon Is Shining…from Dancer And The Moon see Candice in a mystical mood again, but perhaps her strongest composition in this vein is The Circle, a Blackmore/Night original that sees her musing on a familiar theme of poets and philosophers, the meaning of our existence if any, and the eternal circle that is Mother Nature.
The only genuine criticisms that may be made of Candice lyrically are purely grammatical. In both Under A Violet Moon and Morning Star, she uses the incorrect “try and” instead of “try to”. This is an incredibly common mistake in English, one that appears in any number of songs including Rocky Mountain High and most horribly Portrait Of My Love. (It is also something I hate particularly). In Under A Violet Moon it is passable, but in Morning Star it is repeated again and again. Under A Violet Moon also sees a lyrical contribution from Ritchie Blackmore, which is said to be the only song in his long career to which he has made such a contribution.
In Renaissance Faire did she have to rhyme fair with Faire? Probably. In The Clock Ticks On I would have preferred “The nights are growing longer” to “The nights are getting longer” but this is not fatal. In the charming Village On The Sand, she uses the emphatic tense, which perhaps could have been avoided.
Here and there she stretches lyrics, she does this a little in both Shadow Of The Moon and The Way To Mandalay, but again these are not fatal. One of the worst examples of this is The Sound Of Silence, which could have been a great song if the words were not rubbish. While it is undoubtedly melody that makes a great song, there is always room for exceptions, and Blackmore/Night compositions are typically strong lyrically as well as melodically.
It remains to be seen where Candice will stand as a lyricist when the book is closed on Twenty-First Century music, but her lyrical accomplishments will undoubtedly be considered in the context of the new genre she and Ritchie Blackmore have created. Even though this century is yet young, they will certainly be considered as among the finest.
Image Credit: From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository
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