Rainbow – Down To Earth (1979) – Review

RockmusicRaider Review - Rainbow - Down To Earth - Album CoverBlasphemy, oh sweet blasphemy. After Rainbow‘s resounding successes Rising and Long Live Rock’n’Roll, the master decided to take a different route. Down to Earth took a much more commercial tack that sent the mainstream haters into flight mode. In other words, Dio defected and landed in the bosom of Black Sabbath as a first step. One huge ego thrust into another bunch of huge egos, wow. But – quite predictably –  not for long, ’cause he then got out of dodge relatively quickly to settle in his own gig. So, things were pretty simple back then. Right?

Well, not quite. The album should actually have a blood-red color, so sanguine were the ‘killings’ amongst the band. Ritchie Blackmore already got rid of Jimmy Bain (RiP) in 1977, kind of right after Rising finished touring. I read some rather snotty remarks from Mr. Blackmore about Bain not cutting it and whatnot. Well, he hired him in the first place, so I don’t quite get it. Also some words undermining his and other musicians’ work, just because he can. This kind of talk still gets my blood boiling after so many years. Blackmore sounded like an early version of present-day Trump. Not quite coherent and shooting off at the mouth for no good reason. And – besides – Bain went on to feature on many of Dio‘s future albums, so the quality of his bass work was probably pretty decent. 

The replacement bass player Bob Daisley and David Stone (keyboards) were already on their parting legs shortly after Dio‘s demise. Blackmore then hired Roger Glover (ex Deep Purple at that time) as producer and impromptu bass player. Glover lasted until 1984 with the band and then joined Deep Purple again once this band reformed. So, the whole of Rainbow‘s history is intimately connected to Blackmore‘s alma mater, like it or not.  [...]  Got hooked? Raid on...!

Rainbow – Rising (1976) – Review

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RockmusicRaider Review - Rainbow - Rising - Album CoverIt is funny how hindsight vision 20/20 is clear and precise. Back in time Rainbow and their second full length record Rising did – at first – not garner a lot of heightened attention. It really did not – apart from a tight circle of rock nerds perhaps. The sound was good, damn straight, but not stellar. ‘Yet Another Decent Hard Rock Record’ as we would say today.

It is also true that Rainbow was ever present and blasting out of a multitude of loudspeakers. But so was Status Quo and many others. Yet still, Rising kind of had the nerve to stick itself to your neurons. And somehow followed you around big time until you gave in and got a copy. So, how come that we have this contradiction in terms? A slow start to what turned out to be a jewel in the history of rock in the eyes of many? [...]  Got hooked? Raid on...!

Black Sabbath – Heaven And Hell (1980) – Review

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Black Sabbath Heaven and Hell Album CoverAt just some 40 minutes of air-time and a meager 8 tracks, with a new front man the band just hired off The Rainbow bar on the Sunset Strip in L.A., a record really needed to be good. The classic and 9th studio album Heaven and Hell from Black Sabbath will qualify – to an extent. And yes, to an extent only. ‘Tis not all great and shiny disco lights. Not all tracks will really open heaven’s gates on this disk. But be this as it may, there definitely is improvement on this album, and this on several fronts at once. But more to that later.

Ronnie James Padavone aka Dio was hired to pull this supposedly foundering ship called Black Sabbath off its moorings and into the deep sea where it belonged. Whisperings abound that one Sharon Arden actually introduced the new guy to Tony Iommy. The very same lady that should get some fame as Ozzy’s wife and manager later on. And isn’t it ironic that Dio had his hiring interview in a bar of the same name than his last band Rainbow? And with this crew he celebrated remarkable successes like Rising or Long Live Rock’n’Roll. [...]  Got hooked? Raid on...!