Rainbow – On Stage (1977)

OriginalFrontCover1Captured from various performances on the 1976 Rainbow world tour, ‘Rainbow On Stage’ showcases the power and improvisation displayed by Rainbow’s Mk.II line up. Not content with merely replicating the original recorded work, Blackmore would extend many numbers into lengthy guitar showcases lasting up to 20 minutes on some occasions.

The album was mixed and edited by Martin Birch, once again given sole duties at the production helm. The overall sound is impressive for a live show, although it later transpired that several performances had been edited together to create better versions of some songs. This was fairly standard practice for live albums, however, as it was unlikely that a single show would ever be good enough as a stand alone performance to be released as an album (e.g. Deep Purple’s ‘Made In Japan’ was compiled from three separate shows). Other well known sections of the Rainbow live set were cut altogether, such as Cozy Powell’s ‘1812 Overture’ drum solo and recent tracks off the ‘Rainbow Rising’ LP, namely ‘Do You Close Your Eyes’ and ‘Stargazer’. Some of these decisions were made in order to get the tracks to fit on a double LP, some because the performances weren’t quite good enough; ‘Stargazer’ was a tough one to replicate live without the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra filling out the sound as on the ‘Rising’ album…! The running order was also chopped around to fit across 4 sides of vinyl, and again, many purists felt disappointed at the final representation of a Rainbow gig.

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Taking that aside, the sound and individual performance of each song in its own right, is exemplary of the energy and quality of 1976 Rainbow at its peak.

‘Kill The King’ explodes as an opening track as the strains of the famous ‘Wizard Of Oz’ soundtrack introduction fade away. This song had been specifically written to open live shows and would not be committed to vinyl as an album track until 1978. Then a storming version of ‘Man On The Silver Mountain’, with much more power and vigour than the original studio cut, segueing into a familiar ‘Blues’ that Blackmore had introduced into Deep Purple Mk. III live shows 2 years earlier, a brief snippet of ‘Starstruck’ follows, which doesn’t quite seem to hit the mark or demonstrate the prowess displayed on ‘Rainbow Rising’, leading back into the closing finale of side 1 with Dio proclaiming “You’re all…the men…” and the closing ‘Man On The Silver Mountain’ riffs.

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Side 2 opens in a restrained manner with Blackmore displaying his classical prowess and performing a reasonable section of Bach’s ‘Das Wohltemperierte Klavier’ to introduce ‘Catch The Rainbow’. A storming vocal performance from Dio and sublime phased guitar from Blackmore with a lengthy solo to extend the track to a single side of vinyl.

The iconic Deep Purple ‘Mistreated’ number opens side 3 with a dynamic, echo-laden introduction. Dio seems to add an extra dimension to the vocal and again, Blackmore extends this into a personal showcase. Impressive.

Finally, onto side 4, and two more re-energised classics from the debut Rainbow album. Blackmore deftly intro’s with the original ‘Greensleeves’ tune before launching into a much more powerful and pacy version of ‘Sixteenth Century Greensleeves’. ‘Still I’m Sad’ is likewise, and with the stunning vocals from Dio again, one wonders why the now seemingly rather tame instrumental version was ever considered for the original album. An awesome display, but this track does seem disjointed where the drum solo has been edited out.

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According to the excellent book ‘Rainbow Rising’ by Roy Davies, his lengthy research has worked out where the tracks were used from each show:

Kill The King – opening first minute or so from Tokyo (evening show 16th December 1976) and the rest of the song from Munich (29th September 1976)

Man On The Silver Mountain section – from the afternoon and evening shows in Tokyo (16th December 1976)

Catch The Rainbow – mostly unedited from Hiroshima show (14th December 1976)

Mistreated – edited version from Cologne (25th September 1976)

Sixteenth Century Greensleeves – unedited version from Tokyo (evening show 16th December 1976)

Still I’m Sad – edited version from Munich (29th September 1976)

Blackmore had become frustrated at the lack of improvisational ability of Tony Carey during the tour, claiming he just played the same stuff over and over again, so Carey would become the next casualty of the Rainbow personnel changes, along with Jimmy Bain who Blackmore stated “couldn’t handle the complicated stuff…” (ritchieblackmoresrainbow.wordpress.com)

In other words: One of the finest hard & heavy live albums all time !

Recorded: September – December 1976, Germany, Tokyo

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Personnel:
Jimmy Bain (bass)
Ritchie Blackmore (guitar)
Tony Carey (keyboards)
Ronnie James Dio (vocals)
Cozy Powell (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. Intro: Over The Rainbow (Arlen/Harburg)/Kill The King (Blackmore/Dio/Powell) 5.32
02. Man On The Silver Mountain (Blackmore/Dio)/Blues (Blackmore)/Starstruck (Blackmore/Dio) 11.13
03. Catch The Rainbow (Blackmore/Dio) 15.36
04. Mistreated (Blackmore/Coverdale) 13.03
05. Sixteenth Century Greensleeves (Traditional/Blackmore/Dio)
06. Still I’m Sad (McCarthy/Smith) 11.01

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Manfred Mann – The Five Faces Of (1964)

FrontCover1The Five Faces of Manfred Mann is the first studio album by British beat/R&B group Manfred Mann. It was first released in the United Kingdom on 11 September 1964 by His Master’s Voice. In late October/early November, the album was released in Canada by Capitol Records. The Canadian track listing was almost the same as the UK version, except it included the hit “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” instead of “I’ve Got My Mojo Working”. The record has been called “one of the great blues-based British invasion albums; it’s a hot, rocking record that benefits from some virtuoso playing as well”.

The American version of the album (their second U.S. release following The Manfred Mann Album) was released in February 1965 by Ascot Records (a subsidiary of United Artists) with a very different track listing.

The songs on the original version of the Five Faces of Manfred Mann are R&B, including the band’s cover versions of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Smokestack Lightning”, Muddy Waters’ “Got My Mojo Working”, and Bo Diddley’s “Bring It to Jerome”, as well as a few of the group’s own jazzy compositions. Particularly noticeable in the instrumental sections are Manfred Mann’s keyboard work, Mike Vickers flute and saxophone work, and Mike Hugg’s vibes. The album includes the Cannonball Adderley song “Sack O’ Woe” from the R&B-influenced school of early 60s jazz .

The American release is more pop-oriented with the inclusion of the hits “Sha-La-La”, “Hubble Bubble Toil and Trouble” and “Come Tomorrow”; as well as Jones’ compositions and the American folk song “John Hardy”. It also includes a smaller selection of the band’s R&B and jazz influences. (by wikipedia)

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The debut album by Manfred Mann holds up even better 40 years on than it did in 1964. It’s also one of the longest LPs of its era, clocking in at 39 minutes, and there’s not a wasted note or a song extended too far among its 14 tracks. The Manfreds never had the reputation that the Rolling Stones enjoyed, which is a shame, because The Five Faces of Manfred Mann is one of the great blues-based British invasion albums; it’s a hot, rocking record that benefits from some virtuoso playing as well, and some of the best singing of its era, courtesy of Paul Jones, who blew most of his rivals out of the competition with his magnificently impassioned, soulful performance on “Untie Me,” and his simmering, lusty renditions of “Smokestack Lightning” and “Bring It to Jerome.” The stereo mix of the album, which never surfaced officially in England until this 1997 EMI anniversary reissue (remastered in 24-bit digital sound), holds up very nicely, with sharp separation between the channels yet — apart from a few moments on “Untie Me” — few moments of artificiality. (by Bruce Eder)

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Personnel:
Mike Hugg (drums, vibraphone)
Paul Jones (vocals, harmonica, maracas)
Manfred Mann (keyboards)
Tom McGuinness (bass)
Mike Vickers (guitar, flute, saxophone)

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Tracklist:
01. Smokestack Lightning (Burnett) 3.33
02. Don’t Ask Me What I Say (Jones) 3.02
03. Sack O’ Woe (Adderley) 2.10
04. What You Gonna Do? (Jones/Mann) 2.39
05. Hoochie Coochie (Dixon) 3.20
06. I’m Your Kingpin (Mann/Jones) 2.49
07. Down the Road Apiece (Raye) 2.27
08. Got My Mojo Working (Preston Foster; credited to Muddy Waters) 3.13
09. It’s Gonna Work Out Fine (Seneca/Lee) 2.37
10. Mr. Anello (Hugg/Jones/Mann/McGuinness/Vickers) 2.09
11. Untie Me (South) 3.39
12. Bring It To Jerome (Green) 3.27
13. Without You (Jones) 2.22
14. You’ve Got To Take It”(Jones) 2.17
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15. Smokestack Lightning (alternate version) (Burnett) 2.54
16. What You Gonna Do? (mono version) (Jones/Mann) 2.39
17. Sack O’ Woe (instrumental version) (Adderley) 2.09
18. Mr. Anello(instrumental version) (Hugg/Jones/Mann/McGuinness/Vickers) 2.09

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