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Dude, I Had No Idea Ritchie Blackmore was GAY!


Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow

Rainbow Rising

On Stage

Live In Germany

Long Live Rock 'n' Roll

Down to Earth

Difficult to Cure

Straight Between the Eyes

Bent Out of Shape

Finyl Vinyl

Stranger in Us All



One of the guiltiest of guilty pleasures has to be this prime mover of heavy metal-type music of the late 1970's. Whaddya get when you cross an egomaniacal second-tier British guitar god and a 'satanic' American vocal blaster? More lineup changes than one group needs! A bunch of stupid mystical imagery! Ugly-ass album covers! Absolutely no true originality! Fast as lightning guitar solos! Cool singing! And some of the best damn metal of the late 70's, that's another thing!!

When he got sick and tired of David Coverdale screwing up his band Deep Purple in the early 1970's, Ritchie 'Mr. Tolerant' Blackmore bolted and decided to team up with fellow medieval music fan (and Level 12 Elven Warrior Prince with Magic Diamond Long Sword +3) Ronnie James Dio to form Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. And he was sure to keep that 'Ritchie Blackmore' in the title for at least 2-3 years so everyone knew exactly who the head cheese was in this outfit. Ain't no replacement singer and bass player gonna make this one a funk band, believe you me!! Then we needed a band. Where to get a bunch of faceless, ambitionless sidemen happy to simply bask in the glory of Our Great Guitar Wizard? Oh where oh where ever could we find them? How 'bout using Ronnie's old band Elf, but ruthlessly kick out the original guitar player first? Marvelous idear, Mr. Blackmore! Then, just so nobody gets any ideas as to who's in charge in these parts, we're gonna kick everyone out and hire a new band for every album, dig? Let's rock!

Luckily for them they could rock or this could've been embarrassing. In 1975, when all the originals were beginning to flake out on us, Rainbow nearly singlehandedly kept the Metal Fires Burning. Who else rocked like this in '75? Led Zeppelin had long ago gone 'hard rock' and were even headed for points mellower...the newly Blackmore-less Deep Purple was in it's funk death throes...Black Sabbath had nearly run the well dry, and who else you gonna listen to? Uriah Heep? Rush? Judas Priest? Kiss? Get real! When you have one of the original guitar gods on hand, you're bound to sound a hell of a lot better than those poseurs. So what does it sound like? Ritchie still does his riff thing, but now he plays a little more melodically and...let's be honest....the riffs aren't as good as '70-'72 Deep Purple. The solos are, though! Woohoo! Speed banshee, that Mr. Blackmore! Backing musicians? They don't suck! Again, they're not of Deep Purple-level quality, but when you change players every 2 years or so, what can you expect? And as for singing, Dio's got the best 'operatic' Metal pipes of everyone I've ever heard. He doesn't screech like a woman like Plant, scream like Gillan, or, um, sound quite as cool as Ozzy, but he did invent that Iron Maiden/Judas Priest sort of vibrato singing. Except I like to listen to Dio sing, while Bruce Dickinson can lick my donut shooter. The later guys, well they're not Dio, but we'll get to that later.

Anyway, if you have filled up your coffers with the 'original' metal greats and want to know what to get next, or you just want to dive in to some of the best late 70's Heavy Metal you can find...Grab the Rainbow, you Rainbow Warriors! Join the Rainbow Coalition! Support Rainbow by putting that Rainbow sticker in your back window so people know you have Rainbow Pride!

Rainbow Power! Rainbow Power! Rainbow Power! Rainbow Power! Rainbow Power! Rainbow Power! Rainbow Power! (ha!)

Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow - Polydor 1975

I enjoy this record immensely. I need to explain something about a B+ grade. A B+ is the level, pretty much, where below that I simply don't want to listen to an album very often, if ever at all. At a B+ level, I look at my record collection and go, wow! What a great record! I need to hear that again sometime soon! I don't necessarily think it's going to move me to cry or run around the room, but hey! Not bad at all...

So here you go...not to be confused with high art (or with the Methamphetamine rush of Rainbow Rising) but an album I still enjoy listening to a lot.

Like that first song, radio monster hit 'Man on the Silver Mountain'...I mean, those lyrics are a joke, but I'll be dammed if they don't sound super cool over that stompy, phasey Deep Purple riff...if only this song were just a tab bit faster. Hey Ritchie! Play it faster, man! Oh don't play with Rainbow anymore, just do a bunch of midieval crap music no one buys. Okay!

'Black Sheep' is southern boogie with slide guitar and the whole magic popcorn, and it's fast, too! But then turn the corner and it's 'Catch the Rainbow' with its David Gilmour-esque guitar and Mellotron and darn it if that song isn't the best one on here. And that Mellotron sure has a cool sound, that orchestral swooshiness that makes anything come across as 'creepy'. But then there's 'The Temple of the King', which kicks all that other goth-metal ballad nonsense off the board with one hell of a good melody. Whatever it is, it Ain't a Power Ballad. It's simply a great ballad (though, again, the words are nonsense). And 'Sixteenth Century Greensleeves' stomps the way you could only do legally before a 1976 conservative law outlawed it.

Its a shame though that you have some dumb crap like 'If You Don't Like Rock 'n' Roll' on here. And I don't like 'Snake Charmer' as much as I'm sure I'm supposed to...oh hell, I listened to it again and I was wrong. It's great too, maybe just because it's stuck after 'Catch the Rainbow' it doesn't sound quite so wonderful as if it's taken by itself with those Jimi Hendrix-isms and stuff.

In sum, then, lemme say two words....


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Garrett McIntosh     Your Rating:A+     Your Email (optional)
Any Short Comments?:This album is the best album in the world. I've been listening to this since I was about four. I also like all the other Rainbow albums a lot and I am a big fan of Rainbow.

Panos     Your Rating: A-

Any Short Comments?: This album is certainly Rainbow's best recording. Despite the fact that "Rising" is a good album i 'd never rate it as this one. "Blackmore's Rainbow" is more solid than any other album of the band because it simply keeps all the qualities of Deep Purple's sound (a unique use of synths combined with heavy blues , extreme speed and melody) and at the same time manages to add some new dimensions like Dio's lyrical singing followed by some of the most melodical solos of Blackmore. Your Email (optional):

Joe Kelly

This album would've been better if they just made "Stargazer" into a 45 minute epic and left  "Do You Close Your Eyes", "Run With the Wolf" and "Tarot Woman" on the cutting room floor !

Weegi (The Purple Princess)   Your Rating:  A
Any Short Comments?: I can remember this album since I was knee high to a grasshopper!  A superb example of why Ritchie is the King or God or Master (whatever you prefer)of the 6 strings. The album cover is a classic too.  It's painted on my wall!


Josh     Your Rating: A+
Any Short Comments?: This album rocks!!  One of the best Cd's made, with the exceptions of Slippery When Wet and Whitesnake.  Man On the Silver Mountain is the best song ever.

N.B. Forrest   Your Rating: 
Any Short Comments?: I bought it last month. A great album. "Second tier British guitar god"? When it comes name recognition among the ass-scratchin' herd perhaps, but certainly not in sheer talent. What "first
tier" Britgod is actually a better player? Clapton? Hell, all he ever wanted to do was play Da Blooze. Hasn't put out a memorable tune in 20 years. Page? The greatest hard rock songwriter of all time; theundisputed
Master of the Heavy Riff. But his live playing has always left much to be desired.
And sure, the words can cause involuntary eye-rolling spasms, but what the fuck else could Dio warble about, considering the dynamics of the music? The "evils" of "homophobia"? Shit, these weren't today's 3-chord goateed wiggerfags or screeching feminist twats who can't get porked because they refuse to shave their pits as a matter of principle.
he music was ALL. Piss on "meaningful" lyrics.
Louis Boudreau     Your Rating:     B
Any Short Comments?:     Great album, fresh and simple. Ritchie's solo are amazing (MOTSM, Snake C, 16th Century). But the non-original stuff (including "catch the rainbow" is not breathtaking)  

Rising - Polydor 1976

Louder, longer songs, heavier drums, more synth, more effects....Better Record! If you dug Itchy Blackhead's Raincoats your head may well be taken clean off by this one. Of course, the old ex-Elf band of last time has been axed and a new bunch of clowns brought in, including drummer Cozy 'Mr. Resume' Powell. The centerpiece here is the 8:27 'Stargazer', which sounds like a heavier treatment of 'Kashmir' what with the strings and the heavy drum bashing and the Dio yelping. This track is fucking cool...and the album around it is pretty great too. I'm really bummed out I never heard this 10 or 12 years ago when I just ached to hear music like this. Really heavy (but not Metallica/Megadeth heavy), pretty fast, but interesting, and rooted in late 60's rock rather than classical bullshit like Iron Maiden or something. Something to augment the unhealthy obsession for Led Zeppelin me and all my friends had.  I always felt the early 80's 'real metal' groups (Maiden, Judas Priest, umm...Accept?) went way too far into the 'classical goth' side of things with their unison guitar tricks and wide-vibrato singing. Rainbow was just too rooted in Deep Purple/Yardbirds cool riffing to go too far off that edge. This album flirts all the time with that kind of thing, but here its used to really exciting effect and never gets boring....I can barely catch my breath on this monster. It sounds like the band is totally stoked and trying very hard to play as energetically as they can.

Starting with a minute of neat synth twiddling, 'Tarot Woman', then the riff monster starts up and gets stomping, but all the time the synth keeps going and adds a really cool texture to the sound of the song over Ritchie's fast-strummed riff. The song is also nice and fast, and while Dio's lyrics are a bit cringe-worthy ('Beware of this place, the bright shining face!') I can simply ignore them and get off on the great bashing wall of sound they create on this track. The next one, riff stomper 'Run With the Wolf' has a really cool change in the music on the chorus, and (not that this song is bluesy, really) a fine slide solo, too! Wow, man, that Ritchie is full of surprises. Cozy's drumming is simply superb on this album, y'all. If he was just some other fool these songs wouldn't sound so...dang...enthusiastic!! They're fucking delighted to be playing heavy rock for everyone! 'Starstruck' is another good riff, really Deep Purplish this time. The lyrics, though, are straight out of Kiss, and there's less going on to allow one to simply ignore them.  And, surprises of surprises, another decent slide solo! What, did they think this stuff was seriously bluesy, or what? Eh...this song is the most by-the-numbers on the record, but I like it! 'Do You Close Your Eyes' has great funky metal drumming and one hell of a cool chorus hook. I even like the main lyric of the song. This one just makes me bash my head, and I don't usually do that to 'stupid metal groups'. Then, boy...'Stargazer', probably this group's most-loved track. Again, fucking cool drumming starts it off before the round-and-round riff begins....the band revels in mid-tempo soaring rather than fast lurching. What the fuck are these lyrics? I don't care, because they sound cool and no one's forcing you to look at the lyric sheet to find out how disappointing they probably are. Those strings coming in are simply awesome, and unexpected at this point in the record. And those changes, like into that ascending line are just genius on a track like this one. Shit, I could listen to this for 8:32, no's hooky, interesting, heavy, and propulsive enough to even be called trance-y, if one could be psychologically able to go into a trance listening to stuff this loud. I also wanna thank Ritchie for ending the album with the fast-as-lightning Aerosmith-esque riff tune 'A Light in the Black'. It may be long, but its probably the most energetic track on the record, and that's saying quite a bit.

Wow, what a fine record without any letups or let downs. If you like heavy rock at all and are prepared for Dio, dig right in. This stuff is great, no reservations.

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Billy Oblikowski      Your Rating: A+
Any Short Comments?: I would definitely have to say that Rising was their best. It was heavy, diverse and there is no other song more powerful than 'Stargazer'. Grant it, Dio's lyrics are kind of fucked up, but
that one line near the end of the song 'My eyes are bleeding, me heart is lead again', just gives me that cool chill down your neck. If only Blackmore wasn't such a bitch and gone soft, Rainbow could have made much more metal mania like on Rainbow Rising. Well, I guess you just have to go with what you got.


Weegi Carvell     Your Rating: A
Any Short Comments?: Starstruck!  Brilliant intro riff!  Stargazer!  Perfect for when you are angry and want revenge on somebody's ass!  Sends tingles down me spine! Brilliant album cover once again!  If you have only got the CD version, you are missing out big time because the record on vinyl is amazing.  You may not think it makes a difference but believe me it does!
Luv from the Purple Princess
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Rainbow On Stage - Polydor 1977

A somewhat disappointing live album considering they just came off the high of Rainbow Rising and had the Pure Set of Balls to not put 'Stargazer' on here. Pure. Balls.

Anyhoo, this live album ain't too good sounding, neither. It's got a real bad, muffy mix, must be from the soundboard. A whole mess of keyboards up in there and not much Ritchie in the mix. But it is our favorite Rainblows up there playing their little hearts out for one and all, especially our Mr. Blackmore, who just can't keep his fingers from twiddling all over this place. That's right, lots of track times liberally obliterating the 10 minute mark, including a nearly 16 minute 'Catch the Rainbow'. But before you scroll on down the page to the next studio record, you gotta know that these jams rarely get too boring and frequently light up to a nice, solid level of 'bitchin'. Those speedy passages will take your head off, mister. And Cozy Powell, that band whore, sure can pound them skins, too. He's a paradiddlin' and rollin' all over this here sonic mess. In fact the whole band sounds great. Even Dio, other than the fact he doesn't hold some notes out long enough. It's really all good except for the sound quality. Eesh. I hate the compromises you have to make on live albums.

But, let me steer you onward to Live in Germany, which sounds better, wilder, and is also quite a bit longer than this one. 'em both if you're in the money.

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Joe Kelly

Don't get me wrong, this is a great CD, but I would've rather listened to "Stargazer" than Blackmore doing his impression of a black, Mississippi blues man for what seemed like twenty minutes between "The Man on The Silver Mountain" and the 30 second version of "Starstruck".

Live in Germany -VSOP 1977

Really really excellent live document of the early speed-demon Dio days. This is the one you should get if you ever come across it. Nice and long and Yeah! Its got 'Stargazer' on it! And the sound is clear and spacious (no audiophile example, but still better than On Stage by a mile). So what are you waiting for? A description! Dammit!

Okay. Ritchie plays like a banshee from hell straight out on the opener 'Kill the King'. He plays the riff cleanly about 2 times too, and then can't keep his sloppy little phalanges from just smacking all over the place. He really sounds like he's channeling some source of chaotic energy directly through his Stratocaster up there. Maybe if a roadie would've touched one of the strings his head would've exploded or something. It's simply awesome how Ritchie plays. He's simply all over the place. He sorta reminds me of Greg Ginn, but if Greg Ginn couldn't play in as exciting a manner as Ritchie Blackmore if he had 10 years practice and a few thousand milligrams of speed as an advantage.

Jesus, and the whole album keeps up the energy level just like that first song. Of course the songs are about a thousand years long, but you will hardly notice, take my word for it. I can imagine being at this concert was possibly a life-changing experience. Except for the Ritchie/Dio call-and-response parts in 'Mistreated'. I can't imagine those changing anybody's life except for maybe me, who was getting a nice blow job by a big German babe up in the back row during that part. Hear that? That's me yodeling as I splooge! Isn't that just the greatest? What a life changing experience! As an 8 month old baby! In Germany! At a Rainbow concert!

Anyhow...this whole 2 CD set is great. Maybe I'm just a fan of jamming long concert albums because A) I listen to a lot of Dead and B) because Ritchie is always able to take you places in his soloing. Must be the fact that he comes from the early 60's, 'cos Page could usually do that too. The jammy parts develop and grow. Let it envelop you, especially the cool wash of the long jam on 'Catch the Rainbow' and, well, hell...'Stargazer' just kicks ass all around with that jolly synth intro and all. And yeah, it's got a drum solo somewhere I don't remember. But it isn't that long so you can handle it. 

One fine live album if you can handle a bit of guitar playing. And if you can find it in the store.

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Robert Denby     Your Rating:A
Any Short Comments?: This has the best version of 'Catch The Rainbow' that I've ever heard.

Pete     Your Rating: C+
Any Short Comments?: Sound like S***, but a lot of good hard rockin'  GRADE: A
Ok, first of all, you should buy this album just to get one live track: "Kill the King."  This song is amazing and is much, much, MUCH better than the 
studio version on Long Live RnR.  The live "Stargazer" is cool too, and so is Ronnie J's intro: "this is a song.  About a wizard...."  Also, the 
concert starts with a messed up version of "God Save the Queen" and you gotta wonder how an audience full of drunken, stoned Germanians would have reacted to it 
only 30 years after WW2.  Blackmoor had balls, dude.   Enough reviewing!  Buy this album!


Long Live Rock 'n' Roll - Polydor 1978

A lot of people's favorite Rainbow record, and definitely their last one that ever took a lot of chances...for awhile anyway. Long Live Rock 'n' Roll' continues the wild energy blast of Rising and is just, flat out, a great rock song. Cozy Powell's drumming is all over this one again. Unfortunately the following songs 'Lady of the Lake', 'LA Connection', and 'Sensitive to Light' sorta follow the same riff-monster formula as the opener. Not like these are bad songs, don't get me wrong. You might be in the mood for a semi-memorable riff slung out over and over for about a minute too long in each case, but it sorta bores the hell outta me. Could be Rainbow overload. Luckily the eerie and powerful 'Gates of Babylon' comes next, with Ritchie getting something Eastern sounding on his guitar, and some more orchestra. The album comes alive on this track. Could it be I just like epics? Gosh, I hope not. Maybe I can listen to a Ramones album and be cured of that or something.

Talking about coming alive...'Kill the King' is wide open speed metal and it is a monster of an agressive good song. I sure am one happy boy that Rainbow usually likes to play fast, especially when Cozy was their drummer. The ultrascaryfast playing on 'Kill the King' simply kicks my skull in, and I love it...dang! And Dio's words are great too, not to mention his screams. And I like Ritchie's solos on 'The Shed' a bunch too, regardless of whether they're simply wanking or not. He was a great guitar player! But what are these lyrics about? Whores? Murder?'s Dio, not Dylan.

And, after all that riff-wrangling, a nice long, pretty song like 'Rainbow Eyes' sure is welcome in my eardrums. What? A flute? A good thing it sounds cool, or there might be some heads rolling. Oops. Turns out heads rolled anyway. Dio left for Black Sabbath after this one and I'm sure one or two other nameless sidemen were kicked out, too (betcha a dollar one was a keyboard player).

On paper this album has it all, but something about it sorta rubs me the wrong way. Too many repeated riffs, too many samey-sounding solos...a little stale, perhaps? Don't pass it up because of my inability to express my displeasure, however. If you liked Rising and the first one you may just get your rocks off hard with this one, dirty bastard that you are.

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Your Name: Matthew
Long Live Roll and - since you're asking - roll
Your Rating: B+
Any Short Comments?: That's not a flute, dude... it's a...recorder.  If any other readers have examples of "Recorders in Rock", why not share them with us...

Weegi (The Purple Princess)   Your Rating: A
Any Short Comments?: LADY OF THE LAKE!! BRING IT ON! Also
L.A. CONNECTION (WOOO!)  Pretty damn gooood!  Any whodisagrees will be stalked then shot!

David Douglas    Your Rating:   A

Any Short Comments?:     Every Nu metal fan should be made to listen and see how it should be done - with Rising the best of the whole Metal family
Josha Rhines     Your Rating: A+
Any Short Comments?:	What a great hunk of classic hard rock. The only mediocre song on the whole album is L.A. Connection! Lady of the Lake is great, as is the rest of the album (with Kill the King and Gates of Babylon at the top)

And there is a recorder in Stairway to Heaven as well.
(Capn's Response: That's a Mellotron.)

Down to Earth - Polydor 1979 vocalist Graham Bonnett sounds exactly like Gene Simmons. I wonder why that could be? Maybe it's because Ritchie wanted to 'break in' to the American market, and therefore reworked his sound to emulate Kiss '78 as closely as possible. All in all, a pretty lame attempt to grab some new listeners. I mean, either 'All Night Long' sounds exactly like something off Dynasty, or I'm television superstar Alan Thicke. Its even got those 'eerie' backing vocals. So how successful are they? How good is Kissbow, anyway? Imagine Kiss, with it's decent riffage, stomping tempos, but also with:

    A) A better drummer, difficult as that may seem considering the awesome rhythmic power of Mr. John Bonham. Shit. I mean    Peter Criss. Well, a quadroplegic touching an empty light socket is a better drummer than Morris the Cat.

    B) A better guitar player.'s Ritchie Blackmore! He does sound pretty cool on this record. His solos on 'Eyes of the World', for example, are great stuff....he even does some of the old Deep Purple tricks he used to do.

    C) Some synth. Actually a lot of synth. And a bunch of requisite Goth-Prog influence ('Makin' Love' sounds nothing like the Kiss classic it's not a cover of, but it's fine and dandy for me!), fortunately done a lot better than that Music From the Elder. And the silly Dio dragon-buggering lyrics are gone, too.

    D) And the hit 'Since You Been Gone'....oh christ that doesn't sound like Kiss...who is that? Not Foreigner. The melody sounds like...oh God! Its ELO! Smooth out the guitar and vocal sound and put in some strings and what else could it be? ELO! Unbelievable, Rainbow sounding like Electric frigging Light Orchestra! I'm speechless.

If you're a big Kiss fan, pick this up and see how your band could've sucked a lot less than it did. If you're allergic to stomping hair rock, you'd better steer clear, though. I lowered the rating a bit for lack of originality, raised it because it actually improves on the Kiss sound, Pressed Delete, then inserted a 'B' because this album is too embarrasingly hair metal to get the same grade as Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow or something. That would be a crime. But it's still funny! And those guitars are great! And is it just me or is it more fun than Long Live Rock 'n' Roll?

Oh and the singer was given his pink slip after he fucked up a live show, or maybe because he didn't have a totally redneck name. Graham? We can't persuade you to change that to Danny Lee or Johnny Clint or Ronnie Lynn or something?  

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Weegi Carvell  Your Rating: A
Any Short Comments?: Still a brilliant album with new singer but you cannot replace Ronnie James Dio's vocals ever!


You think Graham Bonnett sounds like Gene Simmons? That is absurd.  While I am not a fan of Bonnett (other than the excellent MSG Assault Attack) you have to admit he delivers the goods vocally on this album.  There are three classic tracks in the form of "all Night Long", "Since you've Been Gone", and "Eyes of the World" as well as some fine playing from the band.  I give this one 8 out of 10.


Hayseed     Your Rating: B-
Any Short Comments?:     Bonnet = Simmons?? "KIssbow"? An vapid attmept at a clever analogy that unfortunately doesn't wash for anyone with a pair of ears. The Simmons/Stanley team rarely resorted to such 
blatant Signature Riffs ala Blackmore (which all began to sound far too similar in the early days). Love him or hate him, Bonnet's vocals can saw through a lead pipe. Although by today's standards "Down to Earth" 
reeks of late-70's arena-cheese, I find the swerving away from the hokiness of Dio's Dungeons and Dragons lyrics to the hokiness of chicks 'n' cars personally refreshing. Dated, to be sure, but a staple for 
anyone raised in an atmosphere of pre-Van Halen semi-Metal.
Randy Jones
Along with All Night Long and Since You've Been Gone, I find Danger Zone to be an amazing track. I think it is a B+.

Difficult to Cure - Polydor 1980

Hypgnosis did this record cover, and if you don't know who that is, they also did such masterpieces as Black Sabbath's Never Say Die, and like almost all the Pink Floyd covers, so you know they probably don't work on the cheap. Bummer you got such a bad example, Richard. It's just like bidding a bunch of money for a Picasso painting sight-unseen just to find out after winning it was a charcoal sketch of his toilet or something. Ah well, it's still more pleasant to look at than Straight Between the Eyes, which I think I'd actually like to look at less than a sketch of a toilet. Especially if it were by Pablo Picasso.

Jesus, sorry. That opening paragraph was gawdawful. On to the review.

Eew. If the last guy was 100% Kiss, this guy is 110% Foreigner. 'I Surrender' makes me itch...that early 80's anthemic banal vibe is all over this song. Even Blackmore's effort can't help it. These guys are seriously selling out now. Even something like 'Spotlight Kid', which would have been fine if sung by the 1978-era band, turns lame when performed by vanilla-voiced Joe Lynn Turner. And the icky Night Ranger/Styx smell is all over the rest of the record, too. Ritchie's guitar isn't able to save this at all, not with that soppy chorus he has all over it, anyway. One might claim there are some hooks on the album, but god they're dumb, obvious ones. And there's even some low quality, 10 years late prog synth on here. Phoo.

Okay, okay. The Blackmore solo spot 'Viellicht Das Nachste Mal' is fine diamond pretty, for sure the first highlight on the record. A bit corny, perhaps, but I'll take 'a bit corny' over 'horribly obvious early 80s schlock' at this point, thanks. That boy sure can still play his electric twanger, no doubts there. And 'Can't Happen Here' has a great riff...and sure sounds like Foreigner again. I'm not saying Foreigner is necessarily a bad thing, but Rainbow used to sound like itself, without having to resort to cannibalizing whatever happened to be Top 40 that week in 1981. Except 'Jesse's Girl'...they could've kept on copying the singularly genius talents of Rick Springfield for years to come and that would be peaches and cream for me.

Stay away unless you have a really soft spot for 80's cheese rock. And its gotta be soft.

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Mark Taylor

regards all rainbow stuff,
rainbow were the first band i ever saw at 16 years old in november 1977 Stafford in England i was a bit green but thought Blackmore was God.
I read your reviews,and pissed myself laughing.I did,nt Know Americans could be SO Funny! Really,Everything you said was so true.we are very cynical in the
UK usually
Personally I prefer Tommy Bolins Guitar playing everybody in England seems Pissed off because we DO not have the good attitude or weather
you Guys have .IT IS ALLWAYS Fucking raining or cold . Sorry we did have summer on The sixth of June It lasted one day!!!!
Hayseed     Your Rating: B
Any Short Comments?:     The transition from prepubescent Sword and Sorcery themes to Pop-Rock was inevitable by the '80's. To keep pounding out goth bilge and maintain and 
audience would've meant resorting to out-and-out Metal (Ritchie doesn't have that in him). Anything redolent of Top 40-ness seems shmatlzy in the post-90's "socially conscious" complaint 
rock revolution era, so it's hard to evaluate albums like "Difficult ot Cure" on their own terms. Joe Lynn sounds great--distinct, solid, competent. "Can't Happen Here" is forged with a smattering of blues 
sensitivity, while "Midtown Tunnel Vision" churns over a pseudo-psychadelia reminiscent of Hendrix. Good stuff.


Straight Between the Eyes - Polydor 1982

Yikes! The album cover demons strike again. Even worse this time, though...I can hardly even stand to look at this one for very long. If I were them I'd ask for my money back and replace this with a nice, black, 'Rainbow' centered on the record...and I'd rename the thing 'Buy a Denim Jacket and a Chevy Nova So You Can Be Just Like All the Other 1982 Metal Fans'...

And all metal fans in 1982 should buy this record. So travel on back and buy the crap out of this nice return to hard-rockin' form I so badly missed on Difficultly Queer. Both the opening 'Death Valley Driver' and 'Bring on the Night (Dream Chaser)' have a fine fast riff and one hell of a great guitar/keyboard break. So the words are dumb. Could we possibly be looking for meaning on a Rainbow record? What are you, a fag? Well, okay then. What are you, a Black person? Cool. What are you, a Rock Critic? Fuck the shit outta you, we're Rockin' In an Early 80's Manner here, and don't need meaning within a 30 block area of this record. Look at that cover! Do you think maybe there's some redeeming life philosophy to be had here? No way, Jose Fuentes!

And you don't need it as long as you have Ritchie Blackmore rejuvenated like you do here. He's en fuego all through this record. One thing I like about Ritchie is he's always willing to do something a little sloppy (some feedback, some pick scratching, some clumsy runs) and that slight slop lends a lot of excitement to his playing. Jimmy Page had something similar. A lot of their later colleagues were such perfectionists the sound became sterile. Let's thank Ritchie for keeping it raw and for the way he always improvises his solos! Way to go, Ritchie!

Of course, this album isn't all that wonderful. There's still a lot of Foreigner-esque obviousness, but whenever the going gets a little bland there's some firey guitar solo, or catchy chorus, or cool noise to help you through. I say this album is a fair amount of fun. The best moments are far better than anything since Long Live Rock 'n' Roll, and I even like the power ballad extraordinaire 'Tearin' Out My Heart' (it's powerful! or something...). It even has a Rainbow epic ('Eyes of Fire'), just like the old days! Of course, Joe Lynn Turner is no Ronnie James Dio, but we can't have everything, can we?

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Bent Out of Shape - Polydor 1983

Those Rainbow guys sure couldn't buy themselves a decent album cover after like 1978, now could they? And what an awful cover on this 80's, like Hall and Oates put it out. And I don't know about Darryl Hall, but John Oates can SURE PUT IT OUT! Yeah, baby! That fag moustache is so you, you useless sideman you!

At least this one still rocks pretty handy dandy. Rip that cd booklet right outta there and wad that offending piece of parchment up because this record rocks but it also Sucks! With a capitalized bunch of pixels forming a bigger-than-usual S. Sure, it's still sucking in an obvious over-produced Big 80's sorta way, but we're mature enough to look past that, now aren't we? What's with that synth whoosh that opens 'Fire Dance'? Sure sounds like the opening of the track '1984' off 1984 by Van Halen, which according to my 18 year old calendar, came out after this record. Hey! Maybe that whoosh was just part of the Casio keyboard demo program or something. And 'Desparate Hearts', 'Can't Let You Go', and 'Street of Dreams' are simply awful...god how corny can you be? And,sadly, 'Snowman' crosses over into the world of drum machines and senseless atmosphere a tad far for my eardrums. I can say that the guitar saves that one, though, but just barely. Only because it's Ritchie.

I haven't really identified anything good about the album yet, have I? Well, since I actually do enjoy parts of this record a bit, let me list them in a completely random way. The opener 'Stranded' has a cool sloppy opening and a neat simple riff when they say 'Stranded' over and over. Plus one hell of a great sloppy solo. Of course, the singer rhymes 'change' with 'rearrange', which always puts me in a homicidal mood, but what can I do? The rhyming options really are quite few for a singer as limited as Mr. Turner. 'Fool For the Night' is also really dumb, but I like that one as well in a bland kind of way. Ritchie puts in some nice barely-heard guitar noises in the background. And 'Fire Dance' is at least fast and energetic, but Turner is trying too hard and that bell sound effect is ridiculous.

Okay, I give up on being specific and will now resort to doing what I do best, which is making sweeping generalizations. Here we go: The album is almost cringeworthy in so many places it ruins the overall effect. Its very 80's, maybe not in a poppy Difficult to Cure way, but still quite far away from the pinnacle of sound they reached in the late 70's. There is a lot of energy here, and they seem to be trying, but it just don't fly real pretty, understand? Cliches and corn just don't cut it.

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Finyl Vinyl - Polydor 1984

I think this Lynyrd Skynyrd-titled double album is useless. It's got a bunch of live recordings with the Joe Lynn Turner band, and dammit to heck if Ritchie's guitar ain't loud enough on 'em. And about 10 million miles south of the quality of, say, Live in Germany. What can you say? It's a live album of the later years, fer gawd's sake! The album's not embarrassing, but it's not exactly required listening either. They don't even stretch out on the tracks very much at all (besides 11+ orchestrated synth, mostly boring minutes of 'Difficult to Cure'). That was too rebellious in the early 80's, I think.  'Can't Happen Here' doesn't suck and 'Since You've Been Gone' is okay if you could somehow delete the awful vocals by the ol' dude Graham Bonnett. Hey! That 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' part is cool! A bunch of stuff appears to be overdubbed on this record, but Not the Vocals! Surprise! You really need to buy one of the other live albums first.

But wait! There are some rare tracks, like the disco-ey 'Jealous Lover', and 'Bad Girl', which sounds like a Deep Purple outtake. And the Dio-sung live songs ('Silver Mountain' and 'LLR&R') are both aces! And the unreleased Ritchie ballad which closes the album, 'Wiess Heim', is really really pretty. So, while its a ripoff, its a ripoff with some smile value included, just like a McDonald's Crappy Meal.


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Robert Denby     Your Rating: B-
Any Short Comments?: This has the best 'Man On The Silver Mountain' that I know of. Unfortunately however, The bass drumming is a notch too loud and can be annoying when turning up the volume in order to hear Ritchie's great playing. Dio is great here too. It's tempo is the speed I always wanted this song to be, and makes the original studio version
impossible to listen to anymore due to its slowness.
Though I hate Turner's voice, and the rest of the song is corny as hell, I love Blackmore's playing on 'I Surrender', especially in the last few minutes of the song. I just wish Turner would have shut up more. The B- grade is only because of those two songs. I've never cared to listen to any of the rest of the album since the first time I played it. That pop shit they were playing in the 80's almost sickens me.

Stranger In Us All - RCA 1995

After quitting the cramped confines of Deep Purple for the 138,266th time (they have the guts to second guess your dictatorship of the band, Ritchie! Those frigging ungrateful leeches!), Ritchie made a return to his solo group. Well, it wasn't exactly like he had a group just waiting around for him, because of course in 1984 he'd FIRED THEM ALL! Ha! So, well, in that case he gathered up another group of chumps, including a singer named Doogie White(no shit), and cut himself a new record under the old name of Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. King Richard rules supreme over all things Rainbow once again, brothers and sisters!

And he wants them to sound cheesy, dammit! Like all those years since 1983 never happened and he's finally making the long-awaited stylistic followup to Bent Out of Shape no one was waiting for. Lemme restate that, for it's not entirely accurate: He makes an album that is the follow up to Bent Out of Shape in spirit, if not necessarily in content. I don't know if anybody, not even the Black Knight, would have the Pure Balls to put out something in the grunge-aftermath year of 1995 containing the synths and cheesy production of Shape. But you can have the wailing vocals, and the generic heavy riffing, and some rudimentary drumming, just as long as it's all recorded in a crystal clear snare-drum-is-too-loud manner. But you're for sure not revisiting the heights of Rising here, and you are Damn Sure he isn't trying anything too new, either. He plays it safe and cheesy. At least he got Doogie Howser, who is a better singer than ol' Turner was. But not by much. He may simply be less irritating. And his guitar playing, as always, is exemplary. He hasn't lost much off his old chops. He may not be able to fly like 20 years before, but he is still mighty inspired from time to time.

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Joe Kelly   Your Rating:        C

Any Short Comments?:     I liked this album. Not as great as the Dio stuff, but far superior to anything Joe and Graham coulda pulled off ! ATTENTION RITCHIE: Your wife is fine as hell !

I love her ! When you die, can I have her ? I'll take good care of Candice, and feed her three times a day !

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