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Rainbow - Down To Earth CD (album) cover




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2.67 | 154 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars An album which is so undervalued, it is almost painful to view. I was listening to BBC Radio 2 yesterday, when a listener's "tracks of my years" had Since You've Been Gone played, and she said that that track had opened up the world of rock music to her, a lifelong passion.

Well, she was amongst many such people. I have very fond memories of this album. I was fourteen years old when it was released, and at the time I was a member of the school brass band. One of the privileges we had was being able to stay in the music room at lunchtime, which was a blast when all others were freezing outside in sub zero temperatures at lunchtime! This album, and Genesis' And Then There Were Three, were constant players on the stereo deck. Happy days!

This album is the perfect fusion of heavy rock and commercial rock, and the irony of this album is that Blackmore jettisoned this lineup after only one album, drafted in a good looking Amercan singer and others, in order to finally crack the American market. It largely failed, and the shame is that if he had stuck with this classic lineup, that commercial success, as well as critical kudos, would have been his.

From the outset, this album is a blinder. All Night Long is the type of rollicking rock single for which FM radio was made. Prog fans especially would take huge joy at the one and only nod on this album to the sword & sorcery era of Dio, Eyes Of The World. Six minutes plus of pure heavy prog joy, and easily the best track the band did outside of Stargazer.

I would also go as far to say that this album represented the epitome of guitar playing by Blackmore. He never, ever, sounded better than he did here. The solo on utterly sublime. The riffing on the incredibly catchy No Time To Lose is wondrous. But all that wonder pales into comparison with the delight he served up on Love's No Friend, the almost perfect rock ballad. Add to this the sound of the late, great, Cozy Powell drumming as if his life depended upon it, the whirling keyboards of Don Airey, the return to recording form of Roger Glover, and last, but by no means least, the sound of a man called Graham Bonnett who could, allegedly, break glasses in a room by a single scream, and this was a heady cocktail which added a huge amount to the renaissance of heavy rock in the late 1970's & early 1980's.

You also get sensual on this. Makin' Love is about the sexiest rock track I have ever heard, and wonderfully performed.

There is not one weak track here. The cover is also one of the reasons why us oldies lament so much the demise of the gatefold sleeve.

From hereon in, the band would take a sharply downward spiral, and, whilst I have all that followed, as a Blackmore nut, it wasn't until the formation of Blackmore's Night that I felt the great man had rediscovered his true mojo.

This is the band's true masterpiece. My only regret upon listening to this as I write this review is that the great man at the time didn't realise it, because I genuinely feel that this lineup promised so much more, but were never given the chance.

Don't be fooled. This is not AOR. That period was to follow. This is classic British heavy rock, delivered with panache and style. Five stars without any hesitation. A true masterpiece.

lazland | 5/5 |


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