Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow [ORIGINAL RECORDING REMASTERED]
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on April 26, 2001
Rainbow was formed in 1975 by lead guitar legend Ritchie Blackmore immediately after leaving Deep Purple. He met and struck up a friendship with Ronnie James Dio, who was fronting the bluesy hard rock band Elf. Ritchie was so impressed with Ronnie and the band that he formed Rainbow out of Elf. In other words, when they first began, Rainbow was basically Elf (minus their own lead guitarist, of course) plus Ritchie Blackmore.
Although Elf was basically a bar-room boogie band, both Ritchie and Ronnie envisioned Rainbow to be more of a progressive metal outfit with lyrics concentrating on mystical, medieval, and occult themes. This is why Rainbow's first record has both of these styles represented on it.
It begins with what might be the greatest Rainbow song ever (certainly one of their greatest anyway, as well as one of THE best songs from 1975), a 4 1/2-minute song called "Man On The Silver Mountain." This is the original song that defined Rainbow's music: it starts with a good basic electric guitar riff, then the bass, drums and keyboards join in for support, and when Ronnie James Dio starts to sing, it quickly begins to take shape as the progressive heavy metal song it is. And it has one amazing guitar solo by Ritchie Blackmore!
"Self Portrait" is also a dynamic prog-metal tune, but "Black Sheep Of The Family" is a straight-ahead, slightly bluesy hard rock tune with some great slide guitar work by Blackmore, and is obviously one of the Elf-penned contributions to this record. It is also quite infectious; once you hear it, you can't get it out of your mind for hours.
"Catch The Rainbow," at six and a half minutes long, is the only long song on this album, and is also the most progressive-sounding. It's the one that really paved the way for their next album "Rising," as it sounds more similar to the songs on that record than anything on this one. It's a nice, introspective tune. "Snake Charmer" is almost the opposite; it is a short, loud, brash song that contains a lot of Dio-screaming on it. "The Temple Of The King" gets Rainbow back into fine progressive form, with lyrics conjuring up the medieval. The, they do a sudden roots-rock-about-face with the VERY Elf-sounding, piano-and-bass-driven, ultra-infectious "If You Don't Like Rock 'N' Roll," which some reviewers have dismissed on here, but I think it provides a neat departure for Rainbow on this album. Besides, it shows all of us where Ronnie James Dio really came from (no, not Hell): He came from rock's early days. That's right, he formed his very first band all the way back in 1958, called Ronnie and The Rumblers, so you can tell that he still had some of that influence left in him by the time this album was made. I think it's pretty cool. :)
The CD winds down with "Sixteenth-Century Greensleeves" and "Still I'm Sad." The former is probably the most medieval-sounding track on here, about a revolt against a tyrant, with some evil-sounding singing by Dio. The latter is simply one of the greatest heavy metal instumentals ever, with fast time-changes on bass and drums, and absolutely amazing guitar fretwork by The Man In Black.
If you know only a couple of their later hit songs, then give early Rainbow a try, especially if you already like Deep Purple. Some of these songs are very Deep Purple-ish. If you also like Ronnie James Dio's 80's stuff, then this CD is for you! And...If you don't like rock 'n' roll, THEN YOU'RE TOO LATE NOW! :)
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on November 18, 1999
This is one of the most amazing guitar oriented albums of all time. Every guitar solo is an absolute masterpiece. Each solo is a song within itself, brilliantly done with incredible feeling and restraint. None of this pointless rambling up and down, and all over scales, that we hear so much of today. So melodic and so well done. Dio is amazing as well! I even like the bass playing by Craig Gruber. This album is one of those few albums that have a real "feel" that carries through every tune. I remember back in 1975 and how it never left my turntable for an entire summer. This is Blackmore's best effort in the heavy genre. Try "Rainbow Rising" as well. If your a real fan of his playing check out the acoustic "Shadow of the Moon". The album is quite unique and again projects a certian kind of "feel"consistent with those albums that will be remembered.
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on September 12, 1999
It was pretty obvious that Deep Purple was getting tired and a little over ripe by '75, so Ritchie Blackmore decided he needed a new vechcle to showcase his soloing and riffing talents. What better vocalist to compliment him than one dimunitive Ronnie James Dio. Though Ronnie was little-known at the time, in fact only known as lead honky-tonker of rollicking band Elf, Ritchie could hear the startling talent that was sure to blossom into something mighty fine. Anyway, this album pretty much sounds like Elf's previous "Trying to Burn the Sun" with Ritchie on leads and a little mysticism. The sound here is considerably more down to earth than the grand sound they would acheive (with a new band) on "Rising." I really like this album for the old world warmth is displays. The tempos are often slow to mid, and the solos usually more delicate and restrained. Songs like "Man on the SIlver Mountain," "Temple of the KIng" and "Sixteenth Century Greensleves" are as good as Rainbow ever put out. Though "Snake Charmer" and "Black Sheep..." are a couple of missteps. Dig those cowbells on "Still I'm Sad."
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on May 11, 2007
Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore had his work cut out for him trying to put together a project that would do justice to the work he had done in Deep Purple. Miraculously he managed it with Rainbow, recruiting singer Ronnie James Dio from Elf, a band that had been opening for Purple for several years. With Dio as a songwriting partner and using the other members of Elf (except for the guitarist) as session musicians he recorded Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. Released in 1975, this powerful debut is at least as good as anything Deep Purple ever recorded and a springboard for even greater things to come.

First the performances. Maestro Ritchie Blackmore whips out his patented guitar histrionics while displaying a level of subtlety and finesse only hinted at in his previous work. Ronnie James Dio proves immediately that he is one of the two or three finest rock vocalists ever, letting loose in a captivating and powerful way. Dio's former Elf bandmates deliver here as well. Drummer Gary Driscoll and bassist Craig Gruber make for a funky and grooving rhythm section, and pianist Micky Lee Soule comports himself well, although he seems a bit restricted by the guitar-oriented sound Blackmore was trying to acheive with Rainbow. The album is reasonably well recorded, but not spectacularly so. This is suprising considering that it's the legendary Martin Birch in the producer's chair. One assumes that deadlines and budgetary restrictions compromised his efforts somewhat.

The songwriting team of Blackmore and Dio is immediately a winner, producing some of the finest rock music in the history of the genre. Dio's melodic sense and sword-and-sorcery lyricism works very well with Blackmore's trademark classically-inspired heavy riffage. Some of the songs here are amongst either man's best, with highlights including "Man On The Silver Mountain" (a staple of Dio concerts to this day), "Catch The Rainbow" (a gorgeous ballad), "16th Century Greensleeves" (melodic yet brutal), and the introspective "Self-Portrait". Most of the other tunes are also very good, and there's a very cool instrumental cover of the Yarbirds classic "Still I'm Sad". It should be pointed out that Rainbow was still trying to feel out their direction, and there are are obvious leftover elements of both Elf and Deep Purple that make this Rainbow's most interesting and varied release.

So with all these good things to say, why only four stars? Two reasons. Firstly there's a couple of stinkers here. "If You Don't Like Rock'n'Roll" can only be described as generic filler, and the cover of "Black Sheep Of The Family" isn't any better (it wasn't a great song to begin with). Secondly the band isn't very well suited to the material; the obvious jazz and blues influences of the previous members of Elf don't always work in this context. Fortunately these men would soon be replaced by the world-class lineup that appeared on the follow-up release "Rising".

Don't let these reservations throw you. I reserve five-star ratings for albums that are perfect or very close to it, and if I give something four stars that means I like it a lot.

The bottom line: Dio, Blackmore, and "Man On The Silver Mountain". This is an album no rock fan should be without.
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on May 17, 2003
The "stinker" is "If You Don't Like Rock 'N' Roll," but the other cuts on the album make up for it... this album still deserves five stars.
That aside, this is a classic fantasy metal album (maybe even the first...?) that rocks me to my core. Kicking it off is "Man On The Silver Mountain," which is one of the best songs on the album. It is built off of a signature Ritchie Blackmore guitar riff, and Dio's melody is awesome... it is immediately apparent that this record will be a great rock statement. Dio's melodic, but ferocious roar and dungeons-and-dragons lyrics perfectly match Blackmore's baroque musical stylings. The next song, "Self Portrait," is one of my favorite Rainbow songs. It is a slow, bluesy number with an incredible, soulful guitar solo from Blackmore. "Catch the Rainbow" is the closest this album comes to an epic, at about six-and-a-half minutes. It has obvious influence from Pink Floyd, and this is a good thing! It is a very mellow, psychedelic song. "The Temple of the King" is probably the most mystical song on the album, with really weird but awesome lyrics from Ronnie James Dio.
My favorite song is the instrumental "Still I'm Sad," which is a cover of the Yardbirds. I've never heard the Yardbirds' version, but it can't possibly come close to this, because this version blows me away. It is so dreamy and ethereal, but hard-rocking at the same time. Blackmore's soloing is incredible... maybe even his best on the album.
Blackmore's playing and Dio's singing are consistently awesome throughout the song, and they save songs like "Snake Charmer" and the Quatermass cover "Black Sheep of the Family," which, based on songwriting alone, would fail in the hands of almost any other band. The other 3 musicians (bass, drums, keys) are fine, but certainly not exceptional. Blackmore and Dio are the real stars of the show.
People say this album has a stupid album cover... I completely disagree! I think it is one of the coolest album covers of all time! It tells you a little about what the music will be like... the castle represents the baroque, medieval themes, and the guitar shape represents the awesome hard rock that the music is based on. Rainbow's self-titled album, while not up to the standards of their next two studio efforts "Rising" and "Long Live Rock 'N' Roll," is still one of the best metal releases of the 70's.
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on March 21, 2001
If you're a stranger to Blackmore and Rainbow, this would be the first album for you to get. Not only because it's their first record after Ritchie Blackmore departed from his legendary Deep Purple roots, but also because this disc provides a very wide overview of what the band was and would be about.
Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow did not create a mass hysteria, neither did it bring about any shocking revelations... However, the music that this newly formed quintet offered to the rock fans was extremely tight, professional and at that time very fresh and new. The audience was slowly getting tired of blues rock, and a new set of bands stepped forward to replace the godfathers like Purple, Zeppelin and Uriah Heep... Rainbow in itself definitely became one of the leaders of this movement, which also includes Whitesnake, Judas Priest, AC/DC, etc.,
The album contains such classics as "The Man on the Silver Mountain", which the band loved to play at concerts in different variations, also "Catch the Rainbow", "Temple of the king", both viewing the medieval likes of the band, especially combined with the powerful voice of Ronnie James Dio and Ritchie's skillful play. The final track, "Still I'm sad" is one of the instrumental favorites. Twenty plus years later Blackmore would re-record this track for his newly re-formed "Rainbow". Enjoy this album, it's definitely one of the "must-own"s
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on March 25, 2014
This was the alternative to mainstream back in the day , I like once in a while to hear a story with my music and not many did it better than R.J.D. Let's not forget a top 5 all time guitar playing wizard himself . Much more to say but I'd like to say if you like it in time you'll own all of them.
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on February 27, 2015
I had never listened to Rainbow before I purchased this CD. I am on a quest to get every album that the late Ronnie James Dio sang on. I feel like I have discovered a whole different side of DIO. Richie Blackmore has a reputation of being very hard to work with, but I have to admit the combination of his guitar riffs and Dio's voice is remarkable. However, there is a touch of boogie to some of the songs. Think of Rainbow as a touch of Elf's boogie (Dio's former band) and the full blown mystical metal of a DIO album. If you are a Dio fan you will appreciate all of his work with Blackmore in Rainbow.
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on December 3, 2004
Nobody really seems to get it re the debut Rainbow album; hence, a lot of reviews tend to find its strengths to be flaws. This is the one where Blackmore basically replaced the guitarist in Elf and took over the songwriting and direction of the band - the more popular lineup, with Cozy and Jimmy Bain, was still a year away. Thus, unlike every other Rainbow album afterwards, RBR is almost a Mexican standoff between Ritchie's gothic guitar pyrotechnics and Elf's chunky, funky Southern rock sound, and while a number of reviewers mystifyingly wish this album would sound more generically 'metal', this peculiar blend of styles is what gives this album its unique and very satisfying flavor. Keyboardist Mickey Lee Soule (who's been Deep Purple's keyboard tech in recent years) essentially blends into the rhythm section of Gruber & Driscoll, but his pallette of funky and soulful sounds (dig that harpsichord work!) add class and color to the songs and help provide Blackmore with maybe his ideal backing band: he is on serious fire throughout this disc, laying down one impeccable, tastefully hellacious solo after another....I can't ever remember him sounding this good on a studio album, before or since. The understated restraint of these musicians is a huge plus, not a minus: when a track works on this record, it works as a song with its own identity as opposed to a faceless back-catalog stuffer (the way so much of the Turner-era material was - "Drinking with the Devil"...eccchhh). I can't picture "Catch the Rainbow" or "Temple of the King" retaining the almost-magical qualities they have, here, had they been recorded with any other musicians than these boys. Even "Still I'm Sad" is something special, from the guitar-and-cowbell intro to the haunting, distant vocal wails on the fadeout - and, once again, Ritchie is right there with a brilliant and dramatic solo. On tour, it would be trundled out and metalled-up with a typically-overpowering Dio vocal, yet this smaller-scaled instrumental version of the tune is the one that gets into your head and stays there.

Hey, if you want the same old same-old, the shelves are full of it, including other Rainbow albums - knock yourself out. But if you want a hard-rock album with a little idiosyncracy, a little uniqueness all its own, grab this one.
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on December 7, 2010
I wish I had my old vinyl to run a comparison test. I seem to remember some really majestic singing on this album. This album has been "remastered" which more often than not appears to be a euphamism for made-substantially-worse-than-the-original. The instrumentals overpower the vocals on Man on the Silver Mountain and Black Sheep of the Family. If You Don't Like Rock-n-Roll may as well be an instrumental arrangement.

On the bright side, the sound is really brilliant so there is hope for the next remastering, perhaps someone with an appreciation for great rock can make this the 5 that it should be.

Here is a little hint for whoever runs these projects... If I wanted to listen to music that thumps, I would just open my window and listen to the sociopaths driving down the street.

Here is a question for Amazon... Why do the samples sound better than the CD? Whover produces the samples should be doing the entire album.
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