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Rainbow - Finyl Vinyl CD (album) cover

FINYL VINYL

Rainbow

 

Prog Related

2.54 | 58 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Terminated? I'll be back!

Released in 1986, "Finyl Vinyl" was at the time considered to be a posthumous release. Ritchie Blackmore had decided to rejoin Deep Purple (the fine "Perfect strangers" album would be the result), and thus Rainbow was wound up. History records however that Blackmore would resurrect the name with a brand new line up in the 1990's, but we should consider this album without the benefit of hindsight.

As an attempt to close the book on the Rainbow story, "Finyl Vinyl" is not a bad effort. It draws together live versions of songs from across the band's catalogue, and adds three otherwise hard to find studio tracks. The running order is pretty haphazard, indeed if anything it generally takes us from new to old.

The live recordings cover the period 1978 to 1984, during which time Blackmore hired and fired at a faster rate than the English Premier League. Thus we have three different lead vocalists; Ronnie James Dio, Joe Lynn Turner and Graham Bonnet, plus a host of keyboard players etc. The one constant of course is the lead guitar of Ritchie Blackmore. One of the strengths of this album is that it gives us the opportunity to admire Blackmore's skills in a live environment, and to ponder the truth of Ian Gillan's recent assertion that Ritchie cannot improvise.

Turner dominates the first part of the album, singing on no less than nine of the first twelve tracks. These cover Rainbow's most commercial period, including the huge Russ Ballard (of Argent) penned hits "I surrender" and "Since you've been gone" plus the equally familiar "Can't happen here". Naturally, these renditions lack the finesse of their studio counterparts, both in terms of production and performance, but this is more than offset by the way they capture the mighty sound of the band live. The first half dozen tracks are pretty faithful recreations of the studio originals, but thereafter things get more interesting.

"Tearing out my heart", a blues ballad from the "Straight between the eyes" album, becomes an 8 minute affair, the track moving from its brooding original form into a full on belter with a rip roaring, feedback laden solo by Ritchie. Those who missed out on this track due to its omission from certain versions of the album should track it down without delay.

The longest track here is the 11+ minute version of "Difficult to cure", a piece loosely based on Beethoven's 9th. This rendition sees Ritchie at his exhibitionist best, teasing the audience with his noodling and astounding them with his virtuosity. The real meat though is the appearance of a full orchestra! The recording is taken from one of the band's last gigs, which took place in Tokyo Japan in 1984. It's all wonderfully over the top and a true prog lover's paradise.

"Man on the silver mountain" and "Long love rock'n'roll" are also much longer than the originals, the former through some great improvisation and a blues interlude, the latter through the obligatory clap and sing audience session.

The three rare studio tracks include the unimaginatively named "Bad girl" with equally bland lyrics. The song features the voice of Graham Bonnet (who sang "Night games") and is an unreleased (with good reason) track from the "Down to earth" sessions. "Jealous lover" is a B side from 1981, while "Weiss heim" ("White house", the name of Ritchie's US home at the time), a B side from 1978, is a fine instrumental. The melancholy guitar on the track is backed by atmospheric piano, the piece being criminally hidden away prior to this release.

While probably correctly listed here as a live album despite the three studio songs, this should not be considered a conventional live album. It does not capture a single concert, but is a compilation of live tracks from across the years. If you want to here the band at their live best at a single point in time, the "On stage" album is the one to go for. While many of the songs do not vary enough from the originals to make them essential listening, the ones which do certainly make this a worthwhile acquisition for anyone who enjoys the music of this fine band.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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