Blackmore's Night

Beyond the Sunset: The Romantic Collection

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The subtitle says it all. Beyond the Sunset gathers up a dozen of the loveliest love songs from the first four Blackmore's Night albums, plus two previously unreleased cuts, "Once in a Million Years" and an alternate version of the favorite "Ghost of a Rose." That means there's no room for some of the rockier or more rambunctious songs in the band's catalog -- they, no doubt, must wait for The Party Album. But "Be Mine Tonight," "Wish You Were Here," and the title track are all solid classics, while their version of Joan Baez's "Diamonds and Rust" is sufficiently impassioned to make you forget it has ever been sung before; famously, Baez composed the song around her relationship with the young Bob Dylan, and many of the song's lyrics reflect their preoccupations. Here, you hear them anew and without any of their intended baggage, and it's a truly uplifting experience. In terms of mood, Beyond the Sunset might suffer from a surfeit of singularity, especially if you are accustomed to the full range of Blackmore's Night's emotional punch. But it's a superb introduction and, sometimes, a single mood is all you require.

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