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Outspoken and mysterious

Ritchie Blackmore, House of Blues Chicago, Oct 17 2009; photo: Nick Soveiko CC-BY-NC-SA

Guitar.com has published a profile of Ritchie Blackmore as a part in their ‘essential guides‘ series. There’s probably not much new in there for our regulars, but it’s a reasonably nice writeup for the uninitiated, with a few quotes from the man himself.

A figure who wielded his Fender Strats like Excalibur? The forefather of neo-classical shred? A believer in the mystical, wearing tights and playing old madrigals? It can only be great Ritchie Blackmore.

Every player has likely heard of Ritchie Blackmore. But it is plausible that he’s actually overlooked somewhat in the guitar pantheon, given the yards of coverage and acclaim given to, say, Jimmy Page? Yes, it is.

These two behemoths of classic British rock are broadly the same age, and have both influenced myriad players. If anything, Blackmore has trodden a more diverse path – crunching hard rock in Deep Purple, wizardly metal to pop-AOR in Rainbow and unique acoustic reveries in Blackmore’s Night. The latter will never have the cachet of Led Zeppelin III though, so – to perhaps too many – Ritchie Blackmore is someone who used to be famous. But for sheer skill, ambition and – let’s cut to the core – simply bamboozling guitar mastery, Blackmore is very much Page’s peer.

Continue reading in Guitar.com.

Thanks to Gary Poronovich for the info.



47 Comments to “Outspoken and mysterious”:

  1. 1
    MacGregor says:

    Excellent article & thanks for posting it. This will ‘reignite’ the Blackmore v Page or Purple v Zeppelin or Purple v Rainbow again. I have just recovered from having my sides stitched up after Uwe’s comment regarding Rainbow, saying they are not ‘diverse’ because of their version of the Purple song Mistreated. The moderators here at THS must be glutton for punishment though, he he he, nice to see. Cheers.

  2. 2
    Adel Faragalla says:

    There is nothing mysterious about Ritchie at all. In fact it’s the opposite. People can read him like a book and he makes us all laugh with his great dry sense of humour 🤔
    Peace

  3. 3
    Gminer says:

    If you compare Page and Blackmore recorded material from 1963 to the present and all points in between. Blackmore has the most impressive catalogue, was more an innovator and pioneer … producing amazing music and guitar playing for the past 58 yrs whereas Page`s claim to fame really ends with Zep in the 70`s. Image if you only compared material from both after the end of Zep and MKII in the 70`s

  4. 4
    DeeperPurps says:

    MacGregor @1…..yes this one definitely has that potential!! LOL. I am content however to settle on one quote from the article that really sums it all up very succinctly…………..”””Blackmore’s soloing became something else. In contrast to Page, he was an incredibly precise player as well as being super-fast: the likes of Highway Star, Pictures Of Home and Lazy paved the way for ‘shredding’ blues rock that was way beyond his contemporaries”””.

  5. 5
    MacGregor says:

    DeeperPurps @ 4 – I thought you would enjoy that article. It is a good one, although (here we go) upon reflection, some of the wording leaves me wondering. ‘Shredding Blues’ is a strange way of putting it, it was never called that back in the day, especially as shredding is more connected to the 80’s whiz bang guitarists. Another one, ‘frothily psychedelic pop’, each to their own as we say. ‘Flight Of The Rat and many more became riffs of fable’. Strange one that comment, the word fable that is. “Blackmore continued to fly the Rainbow flag until 1984, albeit in increasingly chart-friendly forms, lesser members and with less ground-breaking guitar’. I am not sure if he means lesser known members or lesser as in musical capabilities. Roger Glover was in that Rainbow. Also, they did the AOR thing indeed, more so on the last 2 albums in the 80’s, but one very important & different thing separates Rainbow from the rest. And that is Blackmore’s playing, his solos from that era are incredibly melodic, he was concentrating much more on feeling rather than speed etc, and the instrumentals are also superb. As we know, no one sounded anything like that from any other AOR band. It made Rainbow listenable, even if it had a more commercial sound to it. Yes it is good to see Blackers in the media for all the right reasons. Cheers.

  6. 6
    Elprupdeep says:

    Page is what ? 5 years ? and straight to heaven using a stairway.
    Ritchie Blackmore is 58 years of magic and still enchanting of his fans. Full stop.
    Long live RB and DP family.
    Richard Legris.

  7. 7
    Coverdian says:

    deeperpurps…i can´t help to think about no-brain-shredding (aka Yngwie for example) and the so called controlled “shredd” in a way for instance of, say, Spotlight Kid!!! O my god!!! Straight between MY eyes!
    When i was 14-15-16 i had a goosebumps all over me, whenever i listened to ritchie, when i was 14-15-16 etc. i had no such things when i listened to Jimmy. And so far on. Simple as that… Therefore I followed purple path and i´m glad to…

  8. 8
    DeeperPurps says:

    MacGregor @ 5. I agree, the author’s terminology is a little out there! Shredding and Blues Rock are kind of, sort of 2 different things. In a way I sense the author is trying to convey that Blackmore was born out of the blues-based rock tradition and took it that much further towards a neo-classical shred direction. So in a way, perhaps Ritchie created the first hybrid prototype of that beast.

    And, Ritchie Blackmore is known as the Godfather of Shred. There are some who will say it was Uli John Roth, or Michael Schenker; but really Blackmore was the biggest, most influential one. No Blackmore means no Randy Rhoads, no Yngwie Malmsteen nor several other 80’s guitar shredding heroes. Blackmore’s precise technique, control, attack, speed, phrasing and use of exotic harmonic minor scales was really groundbreaking in its time. In fact, it has also been written by some that Ritchie Blackmore was the “Missing Link” between Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen.

    But what sets Ritchie Blackmore apart from most of the shredders is his feel, and his melodic phrasing. So many Blackmore solos, especially in 70’s Purple and in 70’s/ 80’s Rainbow were almost mini suites unto themselves – they told a story; they took the listener on a journey. No aimless twiddling at breakneck speed – every note had a purpose, and even the spaces in between were a statement. In fact, I would say that Blackmore is just as melodic as the king of tasty, melodic guitar himself, Mr. David Gilmour.

    Coverdian @7, yes agreed. Just as I mentioned above, Ritchie’s control of speed, applying the accelerator in tandem with a melodic approach is what sets him far apart from most other guitarists, He can do both the speed and the tunefulness, together or separate, whatever happens to inspire him at that moment.

    This Blackmore feature in the Guitar.com article is a very welcome change from the endless barrage of all Jimmy Page – all Eddie Van Halen – all Jimi Hendrix – all of the time coverage that we see in most magazines month after month, year after year. Nice to finally see Blackmore get some long overdue recognition for being the guitar god he really was / is.

  9. 9
    MacGregor says:

    DeeperPurps @8 – the great Dutch band Focus had Jan Akkerman, he was the go to man for guitar excellence with so many facets. Miles ahead of most guitarists back then, but not as well known ‘commercially’ as the big three British heavyweights. Akkerman is also a good Lute player.
    Honourable mentions also for John McLaughlin & Alvin Lee. Stunning players & incredibly fast amongst other things. Nice to see you mention David Gilmour as both he & Blackmore are two of my favourites. Cheers
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPWO-nY1e6s

  10. 10
    DeeperPurps says:

    MacGregor @9. Thanks for the clip of Focus, I hadn’t seen that one before. I have most of Focus’ albums, a very fine band indeed, and yes Akkerman is a great player. Ditto for MacLaughlin.

    I do recall Ritchie Blackmore commenting about Alvin Lee’s playing style and that he was amazed that Lee could play so fast, especially given that he only played downstrokes, didn’t do alternate picking.

    Other guitarists well worth checking out are Al Di Meola, Larry Coryell and Bill Connors. All were fantastic jazz rock fusion players – the stuff they did in the 70’s and 80s is sublime. Another player to check out if you like that style of music is Norwegian guitarist Terje Rypdal – his 70’s fusion stuff….after that he went quite avant-garde.

  11. 11
    MacGregor says:

    DeeperPurps @ 10 – yes those jazz fusion players, amazing players. I own Al Di Meola Elegant Gypsy & Electric Rendezvous, Di Meola with McLaughlin & Paco de Lucia, McLaughlin’s Que Alegria, a best of Mahavishnu Orchestra compilation & Allan Holdsworth Road Games mini LP. Malmsteen’s Rising Force also. A faze I went through about 40 years ago. I have seen McLaughlin twice in concert, 1991 & 2015, what a gig that ’91 concert was, that Indian drummer percussionist Trilok Gurtu, mind blowing.
    The Allan Holdsworth trio in 2002 & that was a really boring gig for me, fantastic players but where is the melody? It is a different genre jazz & fusion. The point I was trying to make was that Akkerman was much more melodic, classical influenced, folk & rock at times also. He was shredding, sweep picking etc way back then & he had heaps of variation & subtle nuances with his feel. One of the most impressive guitarists in so many ways.
    I didn’t follow Focus after he left & I don’t follow his solo jazz music at all, apart from curiosity looks online at times. That early to mid 70’s era of Focus & Akkerman, he must have been an influence on many of the younger players, particularly in Europe. Maybe not though, as Blackmore was ideally placed for that with the riffs & technique & the hard rock image also. I will check out that Norwegian guitarist, I have never heard of him, thanks. Cheers.

  12. 12
    MacGregor says:

    Watching Terje Rypdal trio in a 1995 concert & look who is on percussion, Trilok Gurtu. Wonderful. Impressive guitarist Rypdal, his earlier recordings sound interesting. Cheers.

  13. 13
    DeeperPurps says:

    Hi MacGregor @11. Yes Di Meola’s work on those early albums, and another one, “Casino:, is just stellar. I agree re Holdsworth – he leaves me cold, even though a very talented guitarist, he just simply isn’t my cup of tea.

    Here is Terje Rypdal on one of his early albums….he has a mixed bag of albums, but some are very interesting and well worth checking out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wJ_7a-9hLg

    And Bill Connors is an excellent guitarist….Al Di Meola replaced him in Return to Forever. Connors came from a more rock-oriented background. His playing on Stanley Clarke’s first solo album is very tasty. This track Vulcan Princess is just a small sampling….he really lets it rip on a couple of other tracks – long extended solos on this record. Worth listening to the whole album, it is a classic of the fusion genre, just as good if not better than Billy Cobham’s Spectrum (with Tommy Bolin). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VI7zAUapQEk&list=PLy9Cks3-Z3NgPAXNROqHuu7_P6F9ktmBh

    And to bring it all back into a Purple context, here is a real treat of a compilation of some of Ritchie Blackmore’s amazing live solos through the years. Just read the comments….it says it all: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAAw710KULw

  14. 14
    DeeperPurps says:

    Thank MacGregor @ 12 – I had not seen that 1995 Rypdal Vitous Gurtu concert clip before – some nice playing by all 3 on there.

    I really would have loved to have seen and heard Ritchie Blackmore do such projects with excellent international musicians – he had such potential with his knowledge of eastern harmonic scales.

  15. 15
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    @13 DeeperPurps, I couldn’t access that Terje Rypdal track, because it’s a premium members thing only. However, I did manage to find this live version:

    https://youtu.be/6KZj8i3Ft-Q

    I love it!. 😎

  16. 16
    DeeperPurps says:

    Blackwood Richmore @15, yes YouTube is funny that way – I’m not quite sure why it is showing premium videos to me, I don’t recall signing up for that service. In any case, yes that live version is even better – Rypdal is ripping it up on that! There are quite a few other videos of him on YT – he is well worth checking out. To find his recorded output, it is all on the ECM label.

  17. 17
    MacGregor says:

    DeeperPurps @ 16 – Yes I noticed the ‘exclusive’ members message also. I am skeptical of joining some sort of secret rock music club, you know the ones with silly handshakes and all that. Am I worthy of attaining to such heights to reach the upper echelons of the rock music aficionado? Or maybe I should log into my gmail account & see If that gets me through the secret door. Time will tell. Thanks for the link, I have been watching a few clips, in the standard ‘lowly’ section of the tube. He, He. Cheers.

  18. 18
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    @17 MacGregor, if you’ve got big enough numbers (in a strictly financial sense), then you have the sort of exclusivity that they are looking for.

    Nobody said it better than Cindi….
    https://youtu.be/pp4suZ4jNXg

    Or the Floyd….
    https://youtu.be/-0kcet4aPpQ

    Or the Flying Lizards….
    https://youtu.be/E-P2qL3qkzk

    Or Ozzy….
    https://youtu.be/j34juXrJWqw

    Or Jet….
    https://youtu.be/gX7bUXQsHLY

    Etc, etc, etc…

  19. 19
    DeeperPurps says:

    Blackwood Richmore @ 18. Yes indeed – Money Talks, just ask Deep Purple: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WjB77hkEzs

  20. 20
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    @19 DeeperPurps, yeah, I thought that one was a little to obvious!. However, since you’ve opened that door:
    I gotta get down…
    If I work hard every day for my money…
    if I work my fingers down to the bone, that ain’t funny…

    https://youtu.be/kE14fQl8eNg

    I need my money! 🤑

  21. 21
    DeeperPurps says:

    @20, Blackwood Richmore, yes but on the other hand, if you’re lazy, just stay in bed, don’t want no money, don’t want no bread!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqM5L5JQseI

  22. 22
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    @21 DeeperPurps, 🧐 don’t want no money?, don’t want no bread? 😳
    Please refer to my previous answer! 💵💷💶💴💰💲✅ 💳 🛎️
    At this point I turn on my best imitation of a Foghorn Leghorn 🐓 type of voice… “Boy!, I say boy! you most definitely needs to have yo head read, son”.
    https://youtu.be/iNPiql-pnLc

    & another thing… here’s Tommy!

    https://youtu.be/mra4QtHIN8U

  23. 23
    DeeperPurps says:

    @22 Blackwood Richmore…..that’s show biz! Just ask Michigan J. Frog:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdq1qJkahDY

    Meanwhile, time, like money, is hard to come by. Just ask Gillan:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEQqdKrhVto

  24. 24
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    @23 DeeperPurps, yep… & I’m pretty sure IG knows it just as well as anybody else:

    https://youtu.be/kJU1RT-O0Pk

    So Glenn’s gonna share some home truths with you:

    https://youtu.be/994ZANc7R_g

    Which leads me to this:

    https://youtu.be/pLp6YIyW2EQ

    & then this:

    https://youtu.be/Fsg8jv6aGUo

    Cor blimey, Guv’, I think I’ve just come over all moist like!. ⛵ 🤑

  25. 25
    DeeperPurps says:

    @34 Blackwood Richmore.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YZNXwjfq6g

    There’s a law for the rich and one for the poor and there’s another one for singers….It’s die young and live much longer…..Spend your money and sit and wonder…..

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NcYq4dSWaA

  26. 26
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    @25 DeeperPurps, hey, let’s not get ahead of ourselves with that predictive numbering!.
    I love the idea of your first point, although diving into a veritable sea of hard metal coins is never an advisable pursuit, as we shall see:

    https://youtu.be/viDL2W0HcJw

    As for your second point, ditto!
    So where’s my Robin Hood outfit?.

    https://youtu.be/EC6gqH8Mqz0

    Sweet as a nut!. 💜 🤗

  27. 27
    DeeperPurps says:

    @26 Blackwood Richmore…….I found your Robin Hood outfit!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3caoy4cIXac

    The Man in Black in Green does better when he sticks to playing the Strat!

  28. 28
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    @27 DeeperPurps,
    & last, but not least….

    https://youtu.be/PL6MDNxb-ws

    Just remember to eat plenty of fibre, & don’t sign any contracts!. 🍎✅🧙🏻‍♂️

    https://youtu.be/4PmRifaVmtM

  29. 29
    DeeperPurps says:

    @28 Blackwood Richmore

    Could that have been the Spanish Archer!?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reu8AooYpX0

  30. 30
    DeeperPurps says:

    Speaking of Ritchie Blackmore…….Happy Birthday to the King of the Strat! 76 years old today and still playing guitar! An inspiration!

  31. 31
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    @29 DeeperPurps,

    https://youtu.be/jRIQpLDK-wY

  32. 32
    DeeperPurps says:

    @31 Blackwood Richmore.

    Nobody’s Perfect….but with a little practice…

    Here is a Purple rendition of the theme music to your last video clip!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YgubTXz_kU

  33. 33
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    @32 DeeperPurps,

    https://youtu.be/irxf3MjDwSs

  34. 34
    DeeperPurps says:

    @33 Blackwood Richmore

    Speaking of Sherwood Forest, the Sheriff of Nottingham and that elusive Robin Hood Outfit…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rupm6xX89BA

  35. 35
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    @34

    https://youtu.be/JYNjJbOr950

  36. 36
    DeeperPurps says:

    Blackwood Richmore @35……..That Robin Hood outfit still fits!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLhYSw67pdg

  37. 37
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    @36

    https://youtu.be/Z9t_KDGqOmE

  38. 38
    DeeperPurps says:

    @37

    Grande finale….

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjtEtNaT5Ys

  39. 39
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    They kept on beating the hell out of each other… or so the story goes…

    https://youtu.be/OSl_6yeTP14

  40. 40
    DeeperPurps says:

    Yes the Chief well able to show the Pepper a thing or two. Then came this….

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uBOtQOO70Y

  41. 41
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    & then ended up by landing in another realm altogether….

    https://youtu.be/tfSJf4zAaFQ

  42. 42
    DeeperPurps says:

    It’s a jungle out there – survival of the fittest!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4n3rsLwKxJ8

  43. 43
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    So did you decide what kind you are?…

    … then afterwards, returned in time for tea & treats….

    https://youtu.be/LNNkYRXzmvs

  44. 44
    DeeperPurps says:

    Mrs. Blackamoor (any relation to Ritchie?!? ) has certainly developed a powerful abdominal core. She must have a copy of Dick Williams’ “Health Wow” !

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOHWUEmvqVo

  45. 45
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    ….& then went dancing with some cool friends from the ‘hood…

    https://youtu.be/ZEOpdEMr5ww

  46. 46
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    & after a time (or a few times, anyway…), suddenly ended up with an acquaintance watching a live performance, by a chap with a guitar & a big amp & a tank & a magical time traveling blue box…

    https://youtu.be/qwoWo4ChYuQ

    But then, who actually needs to play a guitar to get a classic DP sound in this modern age of technological miracles?!…

    https://youtu.be/wzObO4GjcLI

  47. 47
    DeeperPurps says:

    Those were truly inspirational performances! Talent abounds in so many wondrous forms! And to think, it all really started to come together in the 1970’s – a magical time – a cornucopia of adventurous musical experimentation intertwined with the enticing perils of pyrotechnics. It gave us a different kind of Smoke!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfdSFmz1rUw

    And where there’s smoke there’s fire…..”She Said Burn”!!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpUFShYYGug

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