Dougie White & La Paz – Granite

Metal Mind Productions 2012
Summary : Former Rainbow singer revisits his earlier band with impressive results

I’m one of those Rainbow fans that rates the 1995 album “Stranger In Us All” as inferior to only the Ronnie James Dio fronted albums.  A superb return to the classic Rainbow sound after years of watered down AOR thanks in no small part to the relatively unknown collaborator Ritchie Blackmore chose for that all too brief re-launching of his post Purple project. That was of course Dougie White who as well as co-writing most of the tracks demonstrated an impressive set of pipes that left you wondering where the man had come from.  Part of the answer was a band called La Paz, a Scottish based act who built up something of a following but like so many failed to land the all important deal and called it a day in ’88. White of course went on, post Rainbow, to forge a career fronting Cornerstone, Tank and Blackmore worshipper Yngwie Malmsteen’s band as well as releasing a well received solo album last year.

It would appear though that the itch that La Paz were worth an album wouldn’t die and after a reunion of sorts for Glasgow’s Rock Radio a couple of years ago the band have reunited in the studio, polished up 6 old songs and added 3 new tracks to produce a surprisingly strong release.  There isn’t anything that immediately challenges the best of that Rainbow album but conversely, for something with six songs twenty something years old nothing sounds too dated either. In fact, I can’t tell which are the old songs reworked and which are the newies!  It helps perhaps that there’s something of a renaissance for blues-based rock music at present and songs like “This Boy” and “Young And Restless” would have graced either of the recent successful Whitesnake albums for example.  There’s a tasty balled entitled “Amy” that gives the album a quieter moment whilst “Shame The Devil”, the album closer, is an excellent piece that perhaps with a bit of Blackmore magic could have made White’s Rainbow set.  It didn’t of course but it provides a great closer here and leaves you wondering how close La Paz were to getting a deal way back when.  Hopefully this time round, attention will be more forthcoming. On the evidence offered here it’ll certainly be deserved.


Bill Leslie

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