RAINBOW — Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow (review)

RAINBOW — Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow album cover Album · 1975 · Hard Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
SouthSideoftheSky
Trying to catch that rainbow!

This album is not as innovative and adventurous as its excellent follow up, Rainbow Rising. However, this debut album is more varied than that next album. Rainbow had a softer and sometimes more acoustic, folky side that is sadly absent on the otherwise brilliant Rainbow Rising album. And it is clearly the ballads that stand out on this debut; the bluesy Catch The Rainbow and the folky Temple Of The King are among the best songs on this album and of the band. On the latter song, Ritchie plays acoustic guitars and Ronnie James Dio's vocals are simply sublime. This song has a mystical, medieval kind of feel to it.

Because these two first Rainbow albums focus on different sides of the band, I like to think of these two albums as essential companions; you need them both in order to fully catch Rainbow, so to speak. So, don't think that you have all the Rainbow you need if you only have Rainbow Rising. There are some important songs here too; Man On The Silver Mountain, Catch The Rainbow, Sixteenth Century Greensleeves and Still I'm Sad could all be considered Rock classics and they became live favourites for the band. Still I'm Sad is a cover song that is performed instrumentally on this album (but the band later did a vocal version of it).

The low points here are Snake Charmer and, especially, If You Don't Like Rock 'n' Roll. These are basic Rock 'N' Roll songs that bring this album down a bit. I cannot help thinking that they could have made a true masterpiece of an album if they had only taken the best tracks from the present album and put it together with the best tracks from Rainbow Rising, creating a single cohesive and varied album. This 'dream' album of mine would combine the classic songs Man On the Silver Mountain, Catch The Rainbow, Sixteenth Century Greensleeves and the wonderful Temple Of The King from this album with the fantastic (and very progressive) tracks Tarot Woman, Stargazer and Light In The Black from the Rainbow Rising album. This imaginative album, had it been a reality, would certainly have gotten the full five star rating from me!

However, as they now stand, Rainbow Rising is an almost five star album and Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow is an almost four star album.

Rising is clearly the best place to start, but I remain convinced that you need both albums to really 'catch' Rainbow
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