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Rainbow - Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow CD (album) cover




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3.73 | 310 ratings

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Gustavo Froes
4 stars If it wasn't for Ronnie James Dio,early Rainbow could be considered a solo project from Ritchie Blackmore after he left Deep Purple.The team of musicians hired to play on this record(all ex-members of Dio's old band,Elf)would be fired right after the release of this debut and the follownig tour.However,they left a very nice impression here. By 1975,classic/hard rock was beeing buryed alive,never to return.Some latecomers here and there,but all in all,there wasn't much left.In a bad year for rock music,this album's opener,Man On the Silver Mountain,stands out as one of the best songs written in that period.Even though the guitar riff is clearly inspired(if not stolen)by Deep Purple's Smoke On the Water,Dio's vocals an awesome arrangements by the band make this a very strong opener(just ignore the dull lyrics). There are two covers from the Yardbyrds here.The first is Black Sheep of the Family,a very simplistic arrangement by Blackmore.Some may not like it(after all this has hardly anything to do with Deep Purple),but I personally find it quite pleasent for it's funny chorus and VERY nice drumming.All in all,a nice tune that should not be taken too seriously.The other cover,however.....stands out as a real highlight.Still I'm Sad is completely instrumental,and comes along with Ritchie's best guitar work in the album(except,perhaps,for Catch the Rainbow).THIS is what Purple's fans had been waiting during the album,and will be pleased to hear it at the very end.A truly stunning arrangement by Rainbow. An usually underrated gem is the acoustic The Temple of the King,the closest thing to progressive rock in the record.It finally shows good lyrics by Dio,but it's main quality is the acoustic guitar that sings throughout the whole song.Up to that point,it was rare to hear acoustic parts by Blackmore in any album,perhaps this is why it this sounds so great. The remaining tracks follow a classic standard of 70's hard rock composition,but there are no fillers here(a single weaker song is the short lasting If You Don't Like Rock n' Roll).Self Portrait,Snake Charmer and Sixteenth Century Greensleves are all great rockers.I wouldn't go so far as calling this essencial,but it is actually not so easy to find a rock album that is so consistent as this one.Not bad at all. One last song,however,must be mentioned.It has already been stated that Catch the Rainbow is perhaps the only song in this record that can match the Yardbyrd's cover Still I'm Sad in terms of guitar composition,but this track is much,much more than just an elaborated guitar piece.It is where all the qualities this group of musicians show throughout the album are summed up to create no less than a masterpiece.Although it has the structure of a ballad,the little details that are so well hidden make Catch the Rainbow the most remarkable tune in this debut album. Ritchie Blackmore would hire a completely diferent band to play in the next recordings,leaving only Dio to do the lead vocals up to Long Live Rock n'Roll.Rainbow would develop their music into a much more sophisticated sounding(and enjoy a worldwide success with the release of Rising),but never again they sounded as melodically stunning as they do here. Even though this can't be considered a masterpiece,it would probably be hard to find many records by the mid-seventies that presented such an inteligent use of rock n'roll and R&B basic ingredients,giving them a brand new look.Unfortunatley,this sounding that otherwise could be developed by other groups would be lost and forgotten with the arrival of Punk Rock,one year later.
Gustavo Froes | 4/5 |


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