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.

RainbowLive1977

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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Rainbow – Down To Earth (1979)

LPFrontCover1Down to Earth is the fourth studio album by the British hard rock band Rainbow. It is their last album to feature drummer Cozy Powell and their only album with vocalist Graham Bonnet. Released in 1979, it contains Rainbow’s first hit single “Since You Been Gone”, marking a more commercial direction of the band’s sound.

The writing of Down to Earth began at Ritchie Blackmore’s house in Connecticut in December 1978. By that time, the band leader had dismissed both bassist Bob Daisley and keyboard player David Stone soon after singer Ronnie James Dio quit the band. Blackmore had already recruited his old Deep Purple band mate Roger Glover as producer and started auditioning musicians for the vacant slots in the band, while songwriting progressed with the line-up of Blackmore, Cozy Powell and session musician Clive Chaman on bass. The backing tracks were largely written by Blackmore and Glover. By the end of 1978, Blackmore had recruited keyboardist Don Airey, under suggestion from Powell, and also considered Ian Gillan and Peter Goalby of Trapeze as replacements for Dio.

In April 1979, Jack Green of The Pretty Things was hired as new bass player for the recording sessions at Château Pelly de Cornfeld, in the countryside of Southern France, but he did not stay for long. Producer Glover ended up playing bass on the album and provided lyrics for all songs. While auditions for the new singer proceeded, Glover tracked down ex-The Marbles singer Graham Bonnet, who auditioned in France and was immediately hired.

During song composition, Bonnet made his vocal melodies though his contributions remained uncredited. His vocals were not recorded with the other tracks in France, but later at Kingdom Sound Studios in Long Island, when all other recording sessions were completed. Down to Earth is the only Rainbow album to feature Bonnet, though he was still part of the band when writing for Difficult to Cure began.

 

SinglesThe singles from this album

Also recorded for the proposed next single, but unreleased due to Bonnet’s departure, was “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”. Bonnet had previously recorded this song for his first, eponymously titled, solo album in 1977. Rainbow’s version was recorded in the studio in May 1980, during rehearsals for the Japanese leg of the Down to Earth tour. It was subsequently played live throughout that tour.
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In 1980, Blackmore’s Rainbow headlined the inaugural Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donington in England.

Songs from Down to Earth have been performed by Graham Bonnet at his solo shows, as well as at concerts performed with Don Airey (2001) and Joe Lynn Turner (2007).

In the UK there was a limited edition clear vinyl LP release.

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“Bad Girl”, an outtake from the album sessions, was used as the B-side to the “Since You Been Gone” single. Similarly, “Weiss Heim”, an instrumental recorded in Copenhagen in January 1980, was the B-side to “All Night Long”.

AllMusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine defines the album “a fine hard rock platter”, which “might not offer anything unique, but it delivers the goods.” He criticizes mostly Bonnet’s vocals, but praises “the guitar artistry and mystical sensibility of Ritchie Blackmore”, who “sounds invigorated on the album”. PopMatters’ Adrien Begrand, reviewing the 2011 Deluxe Edition, remarks how Down to Earth “is somewhat underrated compared to the towering Dio discography, but it remains a strong outing 31 years later”, even with “the new material sounding so much more stripped-down compared to the overtly epic heavy metal arrangements of Dio-era Rainbow”. The songs are “eight searing, hooky hard rockers”, remarkably rendered by Bonnet’s performance and energy. The album “is perhaps the most divisive record in Rainbow’s catalogue” according to Record Collector reviewer, because of “Blackmore’s single-minded pursuit of mainstream success” and the departure from the sound of preceding albums. He adds that this is a “strong” album with many “classic radio” staples, but the second disc of the Deluxe Edition does not add anything essential to the listening experience.

In 2005, Down to Earth was ranked number 431 in Rock Hard magazine’s book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.

In an interview with Sounds (magazine) in 1979, Blackmore said: “I have so much respect for classical musicians that when I listen to myself I think, oh, that’s nonsense. I can put down other people’s music because the fact is I put down my own music and say it’s rubbish. A lot of it is- not all of it- No Time To Lose definitely is but Eyes of the World is OK. But a good deal of it is a waste of time.” (by wikipedia)

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Personnel:
Don Airey (keyboards)
Ritchie Blackmore (guitar)
Graham Bonnet (vocals)
Roger Glover (bass)
Cozy Powell (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. All Night Long (Blackmore/Glover) 3:53
02. Eyes Of The World (Blackmore/Glover) 6.42
03. No Time To Lose (Blackmore/Glover) 3.45
04. Makin’ Love (Blackmore/Glover) 4.38
05. Since You Been Gone (Ballard) 3.25
06. Love’s No Friend (Blackmore/Glover) 4.55
07. Danger Zone (Blackmore/Glover) 4.31
08. Lost In Hollywood (Blackmore/Glover/Powell) 4.51

 

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Rainbow – Rising (Rough Mix) (1976)

FrontCoverA1When Ritchie Blackmore formed Rainbow after leaving Deep Purple in the mid-’70s, he had Ronnie James Dio as his vocalist. Dio was a member of Elf at the time and Blackmore practically had the entire Elf band in his lineup when he recorded Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow (1975).

For the follow-up album, Rainbow Rising (1976), Blackmore fired every original band member except Dio.

Reviewing Rainbow Rising on Amazon.com, Rainbow fan Robert J. Schneider commented: “This is THE definitive Rainbow record! It’s amazing; this album only has six songs on it, and totals only about 34 minutes. But Rainbow’s Rising is far more than the sum of its parts. It conjures up such mystery, imagination, and wonder that it goes way beyond its songs to create such a beautiful panorama of images for the mind to enjoy.

“The front cover couldn’t say it any better: Rainbow is powerful, progressive yet rooted in ancient lore, dark and mystical but also full of light and hope. If Rainbow’s music on “Rising” could be summed up in a picture, then this would be the visual representation of their music.”

Rainbow fans then must be gratified to know that there is a ‘Rough Mix’ of Rainbow Rising, taken from drummer Cozy Powell’s own tape. Most notably, this includes a keyboard introduction to Stargazer, which the wikipedia notes, is similar to that which Carey would play live. The mix itself is a little different from the released album. Cozy Powell died on April 5, 1998 following a car crash. He was 51.

This is what was written on the cover of the bootleg:

“Directly copied from 7 1/2 IPS magnetic recording tape on 7” spool (I.D. label “Schneider”) belonging to Cozy Powell.”

Even as a “Rough Mix,” the sound here is excellent.

With Ritchie Blackmore, Dio, and one of rock’s memorable keyboard intros (Tarot Woman), not forgetting the majestic Stargazer, Rainbow sure had a hard time living up to this. And Comin’ Home (A Light In The Black) is such a blast. (by ronniejamesdiosite.com)

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

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Tracklist:
01. Tarot Woman 6.12
02. Run With The Wolf
03. Starstruck
04. Do You Close Your Eyes
05. Stargazer
06. Comin’ Home (A Light In The Black)

All songs written by Ritchie Blackmore + Ronnie Dio

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Rainbow – Live In Munich 1977 (2006)

FrontCover1Oh Yeah. When Rainbow’s On Stage album was released in 1977, it felt like a flat representation of what the band were capable of live. With a few personnel changes, the group went out on tour in 1977 t to support a live album — the membership changes prevented them form working on a third studio album at the time. This live document is a complete live concert without any real production. It’s simply the band playing their asses off in October 1977. Here are Ritchie Blackmore, Ronnie James Dio, Cozy Powell, Bob Daisley, and David Stone, roaring through a set unencumbered. While the tracks closely resemble those on the live Rainbow album, they run in a different order (and alas, “Stargazer” is still not present; it wasn’t played on this night). The “Sixteenth Century Greensleeves” played here (clocking in at eight-and-21-seconds) shreds the On Stage version, as does the thrashing opener “Kill the King.” Both of these cuts were played faster and louder than Tourposteranything the Sex Pistols did that year. “Catch the Rainbow” catches fire about seven-and-a-half minutes in, and Blackmore just takes off prodded on by Powell, and the cut doesn’t end until ten minutes after that. The second disc is where the real treasure lies in perhaps the best rendition of “Man on the Silver Mountain,” which clocks in at a whopping fourteen-and-a-half minutes, followed by a 25-minute “Still I’m Sad,” only to be closed out with a smoking “Do You Close Your Eyes.” Blackmore’e playing, hell, the whole band’s, is just full-on stun. It’s tight, incredibly fast, and unfettered raw Rainbow. This is the deliverance on the promise of ’70s hard rock. Get this one. No matter what; just get it. (by Thom Jurek)

Indeed: One of the finest live-albums from this century !!!

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Personnel:
Ritchie Blackmore (guitar)
Bob Daisley (bass, background vocals)
Ronnie James Dio (vocals)
Cozy Powell (drums, percussion)
David Stone (keyboards)

Booklet04ATracklist:

CD 1:
01. Kill The King (Blackmore/Dio/Powell 4.38
02. Mistreated (Blackmore/Coverdale) 11.03
03. Sixteenth Century Greensleeves (Traditional) 8.21
04. Catch The Rainbow (Blackmore/Dio) 17.31
05. Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll (Blackmore/Dio) 7.33

CD 2:
06. Man On The Silver Mountain (Blackmore/Dio) 14.37
07. Still I’m Sad (McCarty/Samwell-Smith) 25.16
08. Do You Close Your Eyes (Blackmore/Dio) 9.37

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Rainbow – Difficult To Cure (1981)

FrontCover1 Rainbow ditched vocalist Graham Bonnet after Down to Earth, hiring former Fandango singer Joe Lynn Turner as their frontman. As it turns out, Turner is less hyperbolic than his predecessor, which fits the focused polish of Difficult to Cure. Where Down to Earth was a streamlined version of early Rainbow, Difficult to Cure is a shot at crossover. Problem is, the band never comes up with the right crossover songs. Russ Ballard’s “I Surrender” comes close, but much of the record is fairly undistinguished, riding on strident melodies and big riffs that are never quite memorable. It’s all given a contemporary sheen, with plenty of studio gloss that now instantly evokes the early ’80s. On that level, it’s somewhat of an entertaining artifact — anyone pining for an example of what album-oriented radio sounded like in the pre-MTV years should check this out — but it’s never more than that, since the bids at chart success are only occasionally memorable (“I Surrender,” “Magic”).

JapanesBookletArtJapanese booklet art

Perhaps Ritchie Blackmore felt stifled by the exacting nature of Difficult to Cure’s attempt at crossover — witness how “Spotlight Kid” veers from a dexterous Blackmore solo to a ridiculous keyboard run, then just verges on collapse — and that’s the reason why each side ends with a pretentious pseudo-classical instrumental that functions as nothing more than a guitar showcase. Certainly, his playing is impeccable, but both numbers are really awkward (particularly the title track, based on Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and with a weirdly synthesized pulse as a rhythmic underpinning) and just highlight the fact that Difficult to Cure would have been better if Blackmore had channeled that energy into the rest of the album. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

Rainbow1981Personnel:
Don Airey (keyboards)
Ritchie Blackmore (guitar)
Roger Glover (bass)
Bob Rondinelli (drums)
Joe Lynn Turner (vocals)

BackCover1Tracklist:
01. I Surrender (Ballard) 4.01
02. Spotlight Kid (Blackmore/Glover) 4.53
03. No Release (Blackmore/Glover/Don Airey) – 5:32
04. Magic (Brian Moran) – 4:06
05. Vielleicht Das Nachste Mal (Maybe Next Time) (Blackmore/Airey) – 3:17
06. Can’t Happen Here (Blackmore/Glover) – 4:57
07. Freedom Fighter (Blackmore/Glover/Joe Lynn Turner) – 4:21
08. Midtown Tunnel Vision (Blackmore/Glover/Turner) – 4:30
09. Difficult To Cure (Beethoven’s Ninth) (Beethoven, arr.by Blackmore/Glover/Airey) – 5:57

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RainbowDiscography

Rainbow – Live in Nürnberg 1976 (2007)

FrontCover1”On Stage” was for a long time the only official Rainbow  live album. Then, in 1990, double CD ”Live in Germany 1976”, containing records made in 4 different cities, saw the light of day. And it was the only album containing live version of ”Stargazer”. In order to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Rainbow first world tour, please fans and probably earn some money, complete records of 3 shows played in the end of September 1976 – in Köln (Cologne in English), Düsseldorf and Nürnberg (Nuremberg) – were released in 2006 – 2007. All these double CD sets have the same track lists and the same songs’ running order.

I have not heard Köln and Düsseldorf concerts, but like this Nürnberg record a lot. The sound is, at least to my ears, more detailed than on ”Live in Germany 1976” CD, the band was in a good form and musicians showed all their best that night – the power, Dio’s unique vocal delivery, Ritchie’s inventive and unpredictable guitar sounds, Tony Carey’s nice keyboard runs and solos and thundering rhythm section. Some songs (”Mistreated”, ”Stargazer” and ”Do You Close Your Eyes”) are shorter than on ”Live in Germany 1976”, and for good – solos never turn to noodling. Great and honest record of the best RAINBOW line-up. Highly recommended, especially if you don’t have other records from this tour. (by NotAProghead)

We should never forget how fucking good Rainbow was in these years !

RainbowLive

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

BackCover1Tracklist:

CD 1:
01. Introduction 1.13
02. Kill The King (Blackmore/Dio/Powell) 4.46
03. Mistreated (Blackmore/Coverdale) 12.51
04. Sixteenth Century Greensleeves (Traditional/Blackmore/Dio) 8.09
05. Catch the Rainbow (Blackmore/Dio) 13.20
06. Man On The Silver Mountain Blackmore/Dio) 13.40

CD 2:
01. Stargazer (Blackmore/Dio) 14.50
02. Still I’m Sad (Samwell-Smith/McCarthy) 16.38
03. Do You Close Your Eyes (Blackmore/Dio/Powell) 6.42

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