Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories

1976 – Part 1.1

I started this series with the Part 1 posts of 2001, then 1996 and most recently 1986. Now we go back in time another 10 years to 1976. And after this we go back to 2001 for Part 2 and the process repeats.

Rainbow – Rising

Album number two for Richie Blackmore’s Rainbow. Actually that was the title of the debut album, so the buying public would have some idea of who was leading the group. For this album, it’s just called Rainbow.

Coming into to this album, only Blackmore and vocalist Ronnie James Dio remain from the debut. Basically, Blackmore booted out, the Elf members. Cozy Powell is on drums, replacing Gary Driscoll. Jimmy Bain is on bass, replacing Craig Gruber and Tony Carey is on keys, replacing Micky Lee Soule.

“Tarot Woman”

It starts off with an Hammond or Moog organ.

But it’s that fast alternate picked riff of four note lengths and a small pause which gets the foot tapping. And once the drums and walking bass groove kick in, its blues rock heaven. But metal as well. The way I know metal.

Blackmore’s lead break moves between pentatonic licks and harmonic minor licks.

And I remember trying to learn the organ lead break in the outro on the guitar. Its worthy, check it out.

“Run With The Wolf”

This is basically a blues song however Dio’s choice of lyrics take it into a fantasy place about a hole in the sky and something evil passing bye.

How good is that foot stomping verse riff?

And it feels like Blackmore is playing slide guitar in the lead break.

Dio is a master at ad-libbing the outro’s with his vocals.

“Starstruck”

A great blues rock song.

It’s got everything a song should have. A harmony guitar intro. A memorable Chorus riff and a foot stomping 12 bar blues verse on steroids.

And while my first exposure to Dio was “Rainbow In The Dark”, I really dig his blues strut vocal style.

“Do You Close Your Eyes”

The Pre-Chorus is excellent, musically and melodically. But the lyrics are blah around asking the question “if your partner closes their eyes while they make love to you”.

“Stargazer”

After the drum solo like intro, the guitar riff kicks in. It’s got groove and it’s fun to play.

How good are the exotic sounding keys and the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra in the Pre Chorus and Chorus?

Dio is in his element here, singing about whips and chains, towers of stone, flesh and bone and rhyming fly, with die and why.

Blackmore’s lead is excellent. His use of vibrato and effects to kick off the solo, sounds like a sitar, and when he goes into the fast alternate picked lines around the harmonic minor scale, it sounds like a guitar solo spotlight at a concert. But the whole could have sounded flat, if it wasn’t for the powerful drumming of Powell.

“A Light In The Black”

A brilliant song, featuring another classic riff from Blackmore in the verses and Dio’s powerful vocals.

How good are the vocals when Dio sings “coming home”?

I like the nod to the past with its “Burn” like lead break with the organ and guitar in harmony. And the drumming from Powell is relentless. Ian Paige worthy.

For the next album, “Long Live Rock’N’Roll”, Bain was out, replaced by Blackmore on most tracks with Bob Daisley doing a few. Tony Carey also did keys on a few tracks with David Stone doing the other half.

And if you want to know what happened between Dio and Blackmore, well here is Blackmore’s point of view over at Louder Sound.

“I was always very close to Ronnie until, to be quite honest, he met up with Wendy [Dio’s future wife and manager], then it got very strained. She was a nice enough woman, but we didn’t really click. I remember trying to sort out a song.”

I was playing an effect, trying to get the song down, and both of them walked by and one of them said: “We want to talk to you.”

Ronnie said. “I’ve just heard from Wendy that you’re on the front page of Circus and we’re not.”

“Really? I had no idea.”

The three of us had done the photo session, but the photographer did a couple of me on my own, and one of these got on the cover.

And Cozy [Powell, drummer] or Ronnie said: “If we’re gonna be your sidekicks then we’ll act accordingly.”

That really pissed me off, cos that was nothing to do with me. After that it went downhill, cos I had no respect for either of them after that. I didn’t like that.

“We’re not on the front cover with you!” Is that my fault?”

Standard

5 thoughts on “1976 – Part 1.1

  1. Nice blog – you’ve inspired me to give it a spin now. A constant presence on my dad’s turntable growing up in late 70s/early 80s and a pretty much perfect album. Dio-era Rainbow at its very best.

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