RAINBOW – Reissues

On Stage (2CD)
Long Live Rock’n’Roll (2CD)


Universal continue their excellent, if long overdue appraisal of the Rainbow catalogue, with the former Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore producing some of the best and most classic hard rock to come out of Britain.

On Stage, originally released in 1977, features longs from several German and Japanese shows spliced together. Consequently it’s not the most representative of Rainbow live, and to be honest, while it contains some fantastic music, it lacks the spark and energy of Made In Japan, or of the fare more representative Live In Germany.

Still, after the intro, you have one of the best things Rainbow recorded. Ever. The opening Kill The King is blistering, and a far superior arrangement than that on the subsequent studio album. With Tony Carey’s rich keyboards high in the mix (not just here, but throughout the album), it frees up Blackmore and both the guitar work and keys interplay and overlay well.

Next up is Man On The Silver Mountain and Catch The Rainbow, which is where the spark goes and the band seem to drift. While they are good tracks and there are some good moments, there’s also the noodling, the unnecessary vocal work out (Ronnie James Dio an excellent vocalist and on form here, but it’s just not needed) and drifting.

Both last well over 10 minutes, as does Deep Purple’s Mistreated. Much stronger and heavier (intro aside) is the excellent Sixteenth Century Greensleeves from Rainbow’s debut. Another highlight is the closing 11 minute Still I’m Sad, with vocals (the original Rainbow cover was instrumental). It rocks, it smooth, there’s some excellent keyboard guitar interplay and a keyboard solo too. As for Cozy Powell’s drumming – power and passion, just superb.

There are 8 bonus tracks from Osaka, December 1976, which are more than welcome. Kill The King rocks again, Tony Carey’s keyboards still high, and then there’s the excellent Do You Close Your Eyes – running at 10 minutes. The original album was criminally light on material from Rainbow Rising, so it’s great to have it in the bonuses.  ****

Long Live Rock’n’Roll, originally released in 1978, was uptempo and saw a change of personal, with both bassist Bain and pianist Carey fired during the recording process, the latter rehired and fired again. The final album is light on keyboards, although they are there, with some of Carey’s lines on Kill The King overdubbed by more Blackmore guitar.  The little keyboards that are there are much more intricate, as was David Stone’s style. Much of the bass on the album was played by Blackmore too.

Many will know the classic title track, and Lady Of The Lake is a chunky number, and LA Connection was written about Carey leaving the band during recording.  The first highlight is Gates Of Babylon, with a long building keyboard intro from Stone. This song is just pure classic hard rock, a genuine epic with Blackmore, Powell and Dio at their best.

Kill The King is another brilliant number where Cozy’s drumming stands, and is where the remastering really stands out – you can actually hear the intricate keyboards that are way down in the mix, not like the lush leads and classic lines on the live version.

The bonus tracks include some rough mixes – which are welcome. In places the bass lines are noticeably higher. There are also two rehearsal  tracks and some live tracks from the Don Kirschner show.  *****

Both well worth getting, an essential part of the collection.

Joe Geesin

David Randall plays a selection of new and classic rock in his weekly show first broadcast 14 June 2020 including reference to the Feature series “2020 Vision”.

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Featured Albums w/c 6 July (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 MANDOKI SOULMATES Living In The Gap (Red Rock Production/Cleopatra)
12:00-13:00 MAGNUS KARLSSON’S FREE FALL – We Are The Night (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 BEN REEL The Nashville Calling (B.Reel Records)

Power Plays w/c 6 July (Mon-Fri)

ZENITH MOON Gypsy (Golden Robot Records)
RARITY Leave It Alone (New Damage Records)
THE RISING I Want You (indie)
MANDOKI SOULMATES Young Rebels (Red Rock Production/Cleopatra)
LA GUNS Well Oiled Machine (Golden Robot Records)

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