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Rainbow - Down To Earth CD (album) cover

DOWN TO EARTH

Rainbow

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mystic fred
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars A Turbulent Line-up.

Compared to the first two Prog cornerstone Rainbow albums, "Down to Earth" is as far away from Prog as any straight rock album could get, but despite the cheesy artwork on the cover the albums contains some good songs, including their most well-known monster mainstream hits "All Night Long" and "Since You Been Gone".

With the addition of keyboard player Don Airey, bass player Roger Glover and "cool'n'snappy dude" singer Graham Bonnet the band achieved a more AOR sound, though Ritchie sneaked in one or two classical bits here and there, especially on "Eyes of the World" starting with a synthesised snippet from what sounds to me like Holst's "Mars" from "The Planets" suite but is only momentary. Graham Bonnet is a very strong vocalist, and had huge (vocally, not literally!) shoes to fill from Ronnie Dio's. Having taken on the job, he soon lit Ritchie's short fuse when doing a less than professional job remembering song lyrics, but all came good except his services were only used on this Rainbow album. Graham made many friends, though, as he went on to make the underrated pop/rock album "Line-up", which had Micky Moody on guitar,Cozy Powell on drums and Jon Lord on keyboards.

"No Time to Lose" is a straight rock song, "Makin' Love" is a nice ballad with a catchy "Perfect Strangers" style guitar sig from Ritchie, "Love's No Friend" is a good song in the David Coverdale mould, and which I feel would have been better done by him. "Danger Zone" contains some eastern style riffing from Ritchie and "Can't Happen Here" style "Lost In Hollywood" rounds the album off, though the band's live set would have only included two songs from this album I would guess!

Difficult to rate, as I think only three songs really hold this album together, two brilliant ones, but...

ROCK MUSIC RATING 4/5 PROG RATING 2/5

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Send comments to mystic fred (BETA) | Report this review (#101392)
Posted Saturday, December 02, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
1 stars 1.5 stars really

With only Blackmore and Powell left from the previous line-up, one will never understand why Ritchie did such a disastrous move on Rainbow's musical directions. Calling in ex-Purple Glover was surprising enough, since Blackmore had fired him in 73 out of Purple, but it brought some hope. However, Dio's replacement was one of the weirder (and more disastrous) changes in music at the time. Graham Bonnet had simply no common grounds with Ritchie's musical leanings, but the intercontinental success on Since You've Been Gone proved again Blackmood right.

But as Rainbow became an AOR household name, most Purple and first-hour Rainbow fans were yelling suicide and this writer was one of the leaders. The album is a catastrophic mix of average song-writing and ill-advised musical choices, while Bonnet's voice is really an acquired taste (let's just say that I even prefer JL Turner's voice in further albums). The only ray of hope was the longer track on this album Eyes Of The World, which is quite good (and even slightly prog) and easily the proghead's only point of interest on this album. But it is hardly enough to save this album from drowning.

While personally I might prefer some of JLT-era Rainbow songs, it is clear that this young fan never looked again the same at Rainbow since, other than the Dio-era, even if He did see a concert of their in the early 80's (the tickets were won from a radio-station) and he checked out the next two albums which fared better than this one..

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#101640)
Posted Tuesday, December 05, 2006 | Review Permalink
1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Down to Earth comes off the heels of Ritchie Blackmore's biggest bungle to date. Not even his various tantrums in Purple can match the screw up of letting go of the golden tonsils of Ronnie James Dio. In the end, the release of Dio would prove benefecial to metalheads, but Blackmore's ego trip is unbelievable. This turn of events spelled certain doom for Rainbow. Bassist Jimmy bain left too and would eventually join up with Dio's solo career, but his departure means little. Blackmore suprisingly hired ex-Purple bassist Roger Glover, a man who Blackmore fired from Purple in '73. I guess money makes a terrific bandage to wrap old wounds, because Glover reluctantly agreed. He then got Graham Bonnet to replace Dio. Bonnet is a capable vocalist, but he is no comparison to Dio. However, he fits Blackmore's new musical direction, which was commercial. Yes, desire for commercial success impacted many things in the band; it happens to be one of the main reasons for Dio's departure.

The songs on Down to Earth completely eschew the proto-power metal of yore for slickly- produced AOR. Did you just get shivers? The hit here is the blatant Boston rip-off Since You've Been Gone. The Studio 54 era never ceases to stun me; it amazes me what people will buy when they abuse cocaine. The only song here that doesn't make me curl into the fetal position and weep is Eyes of the World. It's a longer track and hints at Blackmore's neo-classic fire, but it's buried under lush AOR keyboards (Not lush symphonic keys, mind you, ther is a difference). Even that song is mediocre.

This album shows just how fast a great band can lose it all thanks to ego problems. While Yes and Genesis took time declining into AOR oblivion, Rainbow follows ELP down the express lane to failure. I thought that Blackmore was indestructible until I heard this album. When it came to an end the left side of my face was numb. That's right, I experienced what I have come to call an "aural stroke." Avoid this album any any studio output following it. Stick to the Dio-era as well as the redeeming live send-off Finyl Vinyl.

Grade: F

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Send comments to 1800iareyay (BETA) | Report this review (#106857)
Posted Tuesday, January 09, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
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Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars There's power under the Bonnet

With Ronnie James Dio having moved on to explore new pastures, Rainbow returned in 1979 with a new lead vocalist (Graham Bonnet), a new keyboards player (Don Airey), and a new(ish) bassist (Ritchie's former band mate Roger Glover).

After the relatively disappointing "Long live rock and roll", Ritchie Blackmore took the opportunity to lead the band in a subtle(?) change of direction, the result being a sort of cross between the accessible pop rock of Asia, and the heavy driving rhythms of Deep Purple. While some see this as a step backwards, for me this is one of the band's most accomplished albums.

The changes were instantly successful in commercial terms, the lead track on each side of the LP, "All night long" and "Since you've been gone" racing up the singles charts. The latter was a rare cover by the band, of a song written by Argent's Russ Ballard. Of the two, "All night long" is for me the classier track. The song has a wonderful melody inviting a superb vocal performance by Bonnet.

To dismiss this album as a sell out though would be a severe injustice. Admittedly prog influences are hard to find, but this is high quality, accessible heavy rock from start to finish. What prog there is can be found on tracks such as "Eyes of the world", a magnificently powerful piece with a symphonic intro and a majestic delivery, and on "Lost in Hollywood". The latter is essentially straight from the Deep Purple catalogue, it would have sounded perfect on "Perfect strangers", but it does contain a subtle core instrumental section.

Elsewhere, "Love's no friend" borrows something from Blackmore's great "Mistreated", while "Danger zone" is very much in the "All night long" frame.

For me, this is a fine album. The music is exciting, it is powerful, and of course it is performed impeccably. OK, so it does not tick all the progressive boxes, but it comes with my recommendation nonetheless.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#126168)
Posted Sunday, June 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
Gatot
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Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I almost put this album on shelf and without any intention to re-spin until I found the great and rockin' composition of "Lost In Holywood". Yeah, this is the only song that makes me liking this album. It starts wonderfully with jaw dropping drum work by Cozy Powell (one of great names in rock drumming) followed with dazzling riffs by Ritchie. Wow! It's truly an excellent rock music. In the middle of the riffs throughout the segment, Cozy and Ritchie give a solid staccato to accentuate the song - eg. at the start of lyrical passage. The staccato is then continued in many segments of the music and it becomes the main characteristic of this song. "Last time I saw your face .. " is a melodic lyrical passage that brings the music in an uplifting mode.

Unfortunately "Lost In Hollywood" is the only excellent track from this album and the other tracks are ranging from bad - like "Makin' Love" or "Since You Be gone" - to just "so and so" and nothing special from it. In fact, if you need Lost In Hollywood, you can get it from the best album, so no point to purchase this CD unless you are a completionist. Keep on rockin', keep on proggin' .

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#135804)
Posted Saturday, September 01, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Two "Purple" guys on this "Rainbow" album. Surprisingly enough Roger Glover (who was sacked from "Purple" by Ritchie along with Gilan) joins "Rainbow" for a long ride. That's for the plus side. On the down side, Dio is replaced by Graham Bonnet. I was not impressed by Dio on their debut album but he had considerably improved later on. His replacement is absolutely rubbish IMHHO (Bonnet will only survive this album though, which is good news).

Don Airey on the keyboard was another replacement. He is still today the "Purple" keyboardist (2007). No problem there.

Now, in terms of compositions. "Down To Earth" is an average hard-rock album (like their debut one actually). Very few tracks stands out. Instead, some AOR-ish sounds (which I pretty much dislike) as "Since You Been Gone", "All Night Long". Poor music.

One of the very few track I can diggest is "Eyes of the World" but it doesn't really hold things from the other world to be honest. Another one is "Danger Zone". The best hard-rock stuff to get out there is "Lost in Hollywood". My fave of the whole which won't make this album a brilliant one.

Even Purple-less fans couldn't be enthusiast about this album. Two stars.

A short review for a rather "short" album in terms of song-writting. If you except their great "Rising" album, "Rainbow" was just another hard-rock band like tons of others. Of course, Ritchie's name will propelled them into a fame which they hardly deserved.

To discover the prog side of the band, I guess that we'll have to wait for later releases.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#143147)
Posted Tuesday, October 09, 2007 | Review Permalink
Chris S
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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Down to Earth introduced a new vocalist in Graham Bonnet, ex Purple Roger Glover on base and the basic ingredient and backbone of Ritchie Blackmore. Don Airey filled the keys and of course Cozy Powell doing drums. Not as bad as some reviewers have made out. Yes more AOR orientated and not as strong as Rising but more on a par with Long Live Rock and Roll. ' Eyes Of The World' and ' Danger Zone' make for particularly enjoyable listening.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#161428)
Posted Sunday, February 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars First Rainbow album under new musical directions. After Dio left the band a year prior this relese after the excellent Long live rock n' roll , Blackmore tries to bring a new musical aproach in the Rainbow music more mainstrem with even in places some AOR leanings. He hired Graham Bonnet, who is not a bd vocalist, not by far but doesn't have the power and charisma of Dio, that's for sure. So with a new vocalist and a new keyboard player the famous Don Airey and a new (old) member Glover on bass, Rainbow sounds like they want to conquer new grounds, new fans, more comercial attitude, but as i said not really bad. The music on some tracks has the same felling like the previouses releases, strong guitars riffs and excellent solos and harmonies on 6 strings made by the main man of the band Richie Blackmore - like on Eyes Of The World, Lost In Hollywood for example, the rest are good but nothing special. Even a piece is composed by one of the most renowed musician Russ Ballard ( ex Argent , and many colaborations with many bands like Uriah Heep, Aerosmith, etc) - Since You Been Gone. So a good album, but nothing special, quite far from previouses 3 , and even less intristing than next one's with John Lynn Turner on vocals, maybe the most unenjoyble Rainbow album. 3 stars for Down to earth, but rounded up.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#190350)
Posted Monday, November 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
2 stars In the danger zone!

The career of Ritchie Blackmore was always a turbulent one, especially so in Rainbow which suffered constant line up changes throughout its relatively short life time (though it was briefly resurrected in the 90's). For this album the line up changed once again and this time the change would have serious implications to the sound of the band. The most significant change is, of course, the loss of the great Ronnie James Dio who is replaced here by Graham Bonnet behind the microphone. Another, perhaps surprising, change is the addition of Ritchie's old Deep Purple band mate Roger Glover to the line up. Glover contributes not only his bass guitar skills but also (co-)writes much of the material here as well as produces the album!

Down To Earth could be seen as something of a transitional album from the Dio-era to the Joe Lynn Turner-era. This often forgotten album falls somewhere between the two, both chronologically and in terms of value. There are still more than a few traces here of the brilliance displayed on the previous albums, and in terms of progressive nuances, Down To Earth is clearly much richer than the disastrous Joe Lynn Turner-era albums.

As is often the case, the longest track of the album is the best here. The six and a half minute Eyes Of The World features some tasteful instrumental bits and great guitar and keyboard work. The keyboards are here played by Don Airey (who also played with Colosseum II, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne and many others. He is now a full time member of Deep Purple). Despite having some extremely uninspired and generic lyrics, Makin' Love also features some nice bits here and there. The same is true of Danger Zone and Lost In Hollywood which both feature inspired, but all too short instrumental breaks.

The vocals of Bonnet are far behind Dio's, but I certainly prefer Bonnet over Turner. The problem I have with this album lies in the sometimes uninspired song writing and particularly the lyrics are often really bad and full of Rock 'N' Roll clichés and cheesy lines. They even included a cover song here with Russ Ballard's Since You Been Gone, a song I absolutely cannot stand! The similar sounding All Night Long is almost equally off putting. I usually skip these two songs on every listen and the presence of these drags the album down (to earth) considerably. But then again, the debut and the Long Live Rock 'N' Roll albums also had some pure Rock 'N' Roll moments that were less than successful.

Still, there are enough good moments here for this to be an acceptable album. They are clearly in the "danger zone" here, but I'm giving this only two (and a half) stars. It would soon go horribly, horribly wrong over the subsequent couple of albums.

Recommended only for fans of Ritchie Blackmore in general and Rainbow in particular. But for such fans (including this reviewer) this album offers some very enjoyable moments. Beginners should start with the first three albums.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#224695)
Posted Monday, July 06, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
2 stars After the stunning albums with Dio on vocals, Rainbow did exactly what the album title suggested and delivered an album full of disappointing commercial FM-rock. Bryan Adams would be proud of the songs here.

Anyway, it's still lot better then the albums that followed it. First of all there was still Cozy Powell on drums. His commanding style makes this album rock hard and tight, even if the songs are substandard. Two exceptions: Lost in Hollywood is a pleasant rocker and with Eyes of the World there is at least one song showing a little bit more ambition then just doing faceless hardrock.

The ensuing albums would continue further downhill. They all have one or two decent songs but nothing that will add anything to the Blackmore tricks we've come to known on his great albums.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#253938)
Posted Wednesday, December 02, 2009 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Dio left the band...

Even in very classic line -up: Ritchie Blackmore - guitars // Roger Glover - bass// Don Airey - keyboards// Cozy Powell - drums (classic in sense of Deep-Purple/Whitesnake/Rainbow circle of musicians), music is just a sell-out. Forget complex arrangements, forget dreamy mystery of Dio years. Just be ready for US-market oriented AOR.

Yes, they have more than enough energy there. And new singer Graham Bonnet with strong voice and loud screams ( listening to Bonnet I every time just remember Tom Jones). And they recorded the hit "Since You Been Gone" ( so, what could be worst?).

You will find there on that album just few remained melodic traces from old Rainbow and quite professional pop-rock. Nothing more.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#255129)
Posted Wednesday, December 09, 2009 | Review Permalink
lazland
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 Since...is 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.

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Send comments to lazland (BETA) | Report this review (#362168)
Posted Thursday, December 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well, I still find it very amusing to see that some people are still trying so hard to be purists or to be the vigilantes of high quality standards - the most amusing is that they believe that artists should really walk the same path or that as artists should never deviate from the paths of never ending producing high quality music - as if an artist is not a human being or that in someway is possesed by a greater spirit which gives him the power to produce high quality music eternally...just to please those impossible guys...ha! In 1979 as many at this site remember many things were changing either in music or in every aspect of human action...as Henry Zimmerman had said, The Times they are a changing...and they always are and so was in 1979. Ritchie Blackmore as every human in this world, wanted to change his direction by producing music that pleased him at the time and of course music that would bring some more money... Down To Earth is another gem in Rainbow's discography and one of the best of that year - The new members(well, maybe not so new...ha,ha) brought another kind of air into the group and it is so obvious and songs like Eyes Of The World, Lost In Hollywood, Since You've Been Gone, All Night Long and Danger Zone are all excellent. The maturing of those, by any means, excellent musicians, is really obvious and Graham Bonnet is a damn good singer! Merry Christmas And Happy New Year to everyone at this site!

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Send comments to Silent Knight (BETA) | Report this review (#362220)
Posted Thursday, December 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars I HATE YOU SO MUCH Mr. BONNET!

This album was far from good when compared to the ones that came before but I managed to like it a little through the years. Of course the main fault must be put on the back of the right man, that is Sir Blackmore. So why all this hatred to this secondary-player Graham Bonnet.

I was listening last night to a very good quality boot from this era, a show somewhere in Scandinavia. Almost the full DtE album is played (only Making Love and Danger Zone are missing from the set list) and the classic Dio era tunes are there too. The band was really on fire, even Don Airey did a great job. Everything was good and tender til Mr. Bonnet opened his mouth... JC, he can ruin even his own songs! With the exception of Since you been gone he mistreated my ears all the time he screamed and "sung".

The majority of the DtE tracks played that night showed that the album could grow alive (minus Love's no friend - a Mistreated rip-off). The problem was really the singer. As someone above said even the irritating JLTurner would fill better the post of singer. If he was at DtE at the time the poppier stuff he sang lately could be different. Or not.

The hard-rock classics All night long and Since you been gone are good compositions even if they don't match with the image we had for this band. Eyes of the world is the best composition but I must add that Lost in Hollywood grow a lot played live - with the solo from A light in the black inserted in the middle of the song. The rest is mediocre or just plain bad.

Shame on you, Ritchie. I hope you had earned your well-deserved multimillion dollars with this album and the rest but I know - and you know too - that you'd have to wait a lot of time until something really good could be out of your hands again. Money wins, art loses again.

two stars.

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Send comments to moodyxadi (BETA) | Report this review (#765759)
Posted Wednesday, June 06, 2012 | Review Permalink
Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars In the late 60s while all of my guitar-playing buddies were touting (as they should've) the awesome fret board theatrics of Hendrix, Clapton, Page and Beck I was the strange one who would chime in with 'Hey, don't overlook the weird-looking, snobby guy in Deep Purple. He's a monster.' Ritchie Blackmore didn't get the stateside press coverage that the other axe gods received but those among us who could discern the pretenders from the virtuosos acknowledged that he was amazing. His work on Deep Purple's early and extremely prog-minded LPs is still remarkably unique to this day. In 1970 when that band decided to put all their eggs in the hard rock basket with their earth-shaking 'In Rock,' Ritchie unleashed his full metal jacket side and proceeded to blaze a trail for hundreds of thousands of Strat-toting, Marshall-toasting rockers to tread into the rest of the decade. Deep Purple went on to become one of the most popular groups in the world as Blackmore consistently churned out many of that era's most readily identifiable riff-based anthems. I followed them religiously through the fiery album that symbolizes their apex, 74's 'Burn,' but after that my tastes changed due principally to the emergence of the exciting jazz/rock fusion movement and I lost track of what the rowdy boys in DP were doing. So when I heard that Ritchie had left them and formed his own combo in '75 I paid little notice.

A while back I came across this Rainbow record and decided it was high time I got around to checking out what Mr. Blackmore conjured up on his own. Now I'm sure there are plenty of this ensemble's aficionados who'll chastise me severely for picking out this particular disc to sample but my feeling has always been that if one releases an album of songs they should be willing to stand behind it as representative of their best effort at that particular stage of their existence. 'Down to Earth' came out in July of '79, a good four years into the band's career so in my opinion they have no legitimate excuse if the material it contains is subpar. I'm aware that the undersized powerhouse known as Ronnie James Dio had abruptly flown the Rainbow coop and had been replaced by some B-list dude named Graham Bonnet but usually the first record to hit the bins after a substantial roster alteration packs a lot of kinetic energy that makes up for whatever the group may have lost in overall cohesiveness. Not so with this flat platter. It's DOA. The feeling I get is that Ritchie was so full of himself by that point he thought he could hoodwink the buying public into thinking he was still a genius by simply throwing together some chord patterns over Cozy Powell's dull drum tracks and then layer some screaming vocals on top. To me it appears that Blackmore had lost all touch with reality, unfairly blamed Dio for the band's decline and was desperately trying to regain the adulation he'd garnered as a founding member of Deep Purple by tapping into the mainstream's good graces. He figured all he needed was a Top 40 hit single or two. History has shown time and again that those who pursue fame and fortune over expressing their aural art honestly and with integrity usually end up looking inept and pitiful. That's what I consider 'Down to Earth' to be.

They open with 'All Night Long.' Ritchie blasts out one of his trademark catchy guitar riffs and things ain't so bad until Bonnet starts singing and the downward slide begins in earnest. The tune comes off as being intentionally contrived to achieve maximum commercial appeal and therefore it contains no balls whatsoever. It reeks of abject phoniness. 'Eyes of the World' is next and its initial onset sports a cheesy, 'mysterious' atmosphere that's about as intriguing as an elementary school Halloween carnival's haunted house. Having said that, however, it beats the corduroys off of the preceding cut. Yet, other than Blackmore's half-decent guitar solo, this is an absolute waste of analog recording tape. It runs about two minutes too long, as well. 'No Time to Lose' is the first track containing even a vague semblance of a groove but it's not nearly strong enough to save this odorous turd from its own banality. It's hard to imagine that Ritchie and his bassist/producer Roger Glover listened to the playback of this dreck in the studio control room and exclaimed 'Holy cow! We're gonna be rich! This is the kind of happenin' stuff the kids'll go ape for!' It's like they were wearing earplugs while doing nothing more than going through the same old unadventurous motions. 'Makin' Love' (Yikes! Even the song titles are lame as snakes!) follows. I've never been much of a Cozy Powell fan and his lack of imagination and drive is exemplified here as he fails to be able to lay down even the most basic of beats with authority. This anemic tune gives me the impression they were imitating Styx or Foreigner instead of just being themselves and letting the fur fly. Pedestrian is too regal a word for it.

If climbing into the upper regions of the charts was their central aim then their cover of Russ Ballard's 'Since You Been Gone' was undoubtedly their crown jewel. I recall hearing this pop rock ditty on the radio back then but never in my craziest dreams would I have associated it with RB's Rainbow because it most assuredly could've been the product of any number of marginally- talented 'rawk' outfits hoping to be promoted into hometown heroes with a hit single in that day. I guess congratulations are in order for reaching their goal. Whoopee. 'Love's No Friend' is next, a bluesy but lumbering road-grader of a number that doesn't exactly break new ground in the annals of rock & roll. By the end of the 70s this brand of plodding faux metal had become extremely tiresome and unwanted but utile as cheap filler. Color this crap recessive rock. 'Danger Zone' follows and it has all the markings of a tune born out of a drunken jam session. The fact that the vocals were added after the initial tracks were formulated and recorded tells you volumes about why so many of these songs sound like they came rolling off an assembly line. (I'm reminded of that corny scene in the so-bad-it's-great movie 'Rock Star' wherein the egotistic, grease-bag leader of 'Steel Dragon' informs Mark Wahlberg's character that he's just the front man with a mike while he's the mastermind who writes all the songs and collects the fat royalty checks, thank you very much. That's probably akin to the snarky reception that Graham got when he arrived in Rainbowland.) They end this fiasco with 'Lost in Hollywood.' This cut displays what happens when someone gets in a rut and starts repeating himself to the extent that he becomes a self- parody. It's embarrassingly average fare and a stupendously predictable piece of useless garbage.

If this is the low-rent kind of music that Rainbow specialized in then I'll spare myself more misery and forego sitting through any more of their non-progressive junk. 'Down to Earth' tells me all I need to know. The shame is that Ritchie Blackmore once had the potential to evolve and develop into one of the finest guitarists of all time had his bloated pride not convinced him that all he had to do was show up. As it is, he's now looked upon as a minor leaguer guitar ace that displayed flashes of brilliance but was also prone to indulge in mediocrity. I've heard worse but rarely.

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Posted Thursday, June 12, 2014 | Review Permalink

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