An unusual choice some might say, especially for me, but I have always enjoyed "The Man In Black" and his playing.
I first became aware of him when he and Jon Lord put together Deep Purple. A quick trawl through Wiki on Deep Purple's life sort of sets the scene for what was to come. The band originally being formed by Chris Curtis, who then found himself being ditched by Lord and Blackmore......... a pattern was evolving even then it seems?
My friend Dave went to Hasting Technical College where the Students Union engaged bands to come and play in the canteen, one such band was the fledgling Deep Purple, in fact, I still have the Rag Week Newsletter somewhere, that contained the review, which went something along the lines of, "Deep Purple, Progressive Rockers, not bad for ?5 !" So it was Dave who turned my attentions to Mr Blackmore.
His sheer presence on a stage was actually very powerful, if not even slightly frightening, his whole demeanour was such that you couldn't ignore him, not because of any outrageous antics, much more to do with his stand offish persona. But when he started to play..... THEN you realised you were in the presence of something very special. His style was classically based and his sheer power was incredible, even in the early days, the musical exchanges between Blackmore and Lord were incredible. Becoming known for being a very moody bugger, if Blackmore was having a bad day....... Boy were you in for a treat!! He vented his spleen via some of the most fired up guitar playing ever seen (at that time) and the exchanges between Organ and Guitar became epic battles with Blackmore inevitably winning the day.
The first "proper" gig I ever saw them play was when they were in Glasgow, winding up a UK Tour. By now, the pomp of the "Concerto for Group and Orchestra" had reached its zenith and we were beginning to get teasers of what was to come, i.e. "Black Night", "Speed King" and "Child In Time" from the forth coming "In Rock" Album. Bear in mind, at this period of my playing life, I was still firmly rooted in Fingerstyle Ragtime and Blues, but Ritchie Blackmore sowed a seed that night and not long after this gig, an electric guitar found its way into the up until then, acoustic arsenal.
When "Made In Japan" was released I really thought that it couldn't be bettered. I still rate this as one of my all time favourite Live Albums, even to this day. It made me more determined to see them whenever the opportunity arose. Sadly, I wasn't able to catch the band again and my next exposure to Mr Blackmore was when Rainbow was launched.
For me, and I know others will disagree, Rainbow was THE Vehicle that really highlighted Ritchie's playing at its most complex and beguiling. By now I was well and truly into electric guitar and was playing in various local bands whilst working in a Music Shop where most of my time seemed to be taken up trying to rectify some of the most awful attempts at Scalloping Fretboards! I still shudder at some of those, so Thanks Ritchie, thanks a bleedin million. :roll:
It was Ritchie's playing and style that brought another favourite guitarist to my attention, but I'll talk about him on another occasion, but the clue would be in the scalloped fretboard and I DON'T mean Wankme Palmcream..... sorry....... Yngvie Malmstein.
The irony of all of this would be that I have remained more drawn to Gibson guitars, one could suppose that due to Ritchie, I'd be an out and out Fender Strat Guy, but no, Gibsons always won the day for me somehow.
So, The Man In Black.http://www.youtube.com/v/G6x8GGXrCFQhttp://www.youtube.com/v/c3dsI9RD_F4http://www.youtube.com/v/fx2B8ii_Yf4