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Mr. R. L. Haddon "dibdude" (UK)

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And Another Thing ...: Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Part Six of Three (Hitchhikers Guide 6)
And Another Thing ...: Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Part Six of Three (Hitchhikers Guide 6)
Price: £3.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Between the book there's a story trying to get out, 10 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having read the book twice I can honestly say Eoin got a little carried away with his guide quotes which ruin a quite good story. Could do better and I hope one day he does

On Stage
On Stage
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £5.58

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing despite the trimming, 16 Mar 2011
This review is from: On Stage (Audio CD)
On Stage is one of those albums which frustrates now because as the 1976 German tour set and the various bootlegs prove there has been a little amount of cutting and splicing. We can only hope On Stage is revisited someday and the full versions of the doctored songs are released in their raw glory and in the right order (Mistreated, Man On the Silver Mountain, Still I'm Sad). Quite possible the main reason for the cutting was purely down to the time and quality limitations of vinyl because if you search out the original versions you will not be disappointed. Thankfully there is none of the overdubs that blight other alleged 'live' albums but considering what it could have been I should remove a star but I haven't because the quality od performance on offer is remarkable.

Not that the cutting takes anything away from the pleasure of hearing a band in complete control. Ritchie dominates proceedings with some amazing playing and Dio never sounded better than he did with Rainbow. This paring along with Cozy's drums looked set to propel this band to world domination.

The qualities displayed live by this band are almost spiritual. By leaving one of the best live bands on the planet to create another in Rainbow is something Mr Blackmore should be celebrated for. Listen to Scandinavian Nights, Made In Japan and Live In London followed by On Stage and be astounded how much his playing changed and developed over the six years. Sidekicks, Cozy Powell with his relentless drumming, and Dio, inpirational soaring vocals were perfect for the balance of this band. Unfortunately the colaboration would only last one more studio album after this live affair and fans of the band would be polarised by the future direction.

After the Judy Garland/Wizard of Oz intro, as a starter, Kill the King rips your head off, this song being purposely written as a show opener: it delivers exactly what they set out to do. Ritchie flys through an electrifying solo at breakneck speed yet still displays feel and melody. RLD roars the words with fire and passion.

Next up is a heavily doctored Man on the Silver Mountain from the Japanese tour minus around 4 minutes, the usual frantic Lazy intro has been discarded among other parts. Despite the culling this song rocks, Ritchie cranking out the riff with a much different feel to the studio original. The Blues sector in the middle, something Ritchie introduced on stage with MK III Purple, is brilliant, quite possibly the best version captured for us to enjoy with Carey complimenting the guitar with his keys. Dio is as ever powerful, poised and pure.

On the original vinyl Catch The Rainbow's 15 minutes or so takes up a whole side and is simply magnificent. Where the studio version saunters along with Richie's subtle guitar the live version spirals to a crescendo after another blinding solo before the ethereal ending. Modern rock is awash with drippy power ballads but none can match the majesty of Catch The Rainbow.

Taken from Cologne 1976 we have the blues call of Mistreated, transformed from the original Deep Purple version into a different realm. Ronnie makes the song his own in some style and Ritchie's liquid fingers return a solo of unequalled genius. Cut from the end is Dio and Ritchie's duelling which is a shame but the On Stage version is still amazing. Coverdale fans can argue all they want about the original being best whereas for once I have to disagree, this is Rainbow.

Another Japan tour version is Sixteenth Century Greensleeves. If the original is a classic then the live version is a magnum opus. Ritchie's jaw dropping intro making way for the familiar riff. Quite a short song in comparison to some of the fare on offer yet we still get several guitar solos and that spell binding intro.

Set closer Still I'm Sad is yet another inspired piece, the band as a whole injecting life into the old Yardbird classic in ways which astound. Sadly Cozy's 1812 drum solo is another cut, which is a shame because although drum solos are considered passé (ok they have for decades) Cozy always delivered more than just a solo.

So despite the obvious trimming there is a lot to listen to here.

Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £6.21

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated Brilliance, 16 Mar 2011
Wanting to record a song by Quatermass called Black Sheep Of the Family and being rebuffed by his Deep Purple band mates Ritchie acquired the services of a long-time Purple support act called Elf (minus guitarist) and entered the studio. Pairing with Ronnie James Dio to write a B side Ritchie felt inspired enough to write
a whole album and subsequently leave Deep Purple at the end of the Stormbringer tour.

As a document of the era this is a very good album and contains some classics. Although overshadowed by the bands future output this is not an album to be ignored, if Ritchie Blackmore is please with something, namely his guitar work on Still I'm Sad, there is something to listen to. Generally the album is mid tempo 70's rock with hints of classical, blues and rock and roll and Blackmore's guitar playing is inspired throughout.

The album opener is classic Dio inspired Rainbow, with a Blackmore riff to die for. Man on the Silver Mountain would become a staple of Rainbow sets over the years and is a powerful work out with an as usual perfect solo. Ronnie's vocal delivery is spine tingling.

Self Portrait jogs in with a Blackmore rolling riff, complemented by Dio's silky voice. The solo again is top draw Blackmore.

Next Up is the prog rock song which started the whole thing off. Completely different from the original version this song is almost 'poppy' and very catchy. Ritchie blends in some slide along with the main riffs and the vocal delivery indicates the band must have been having fun in the studio.

Another classic follows, the Judy Garland inspired Catch the Rainbow, with Little Wing style guitar theme and Dio really starting to show his full vocal range. The solo is simple, understated beauty and the outro playing out of this world. This, along with MotSM, Still I'm Sad and 16th C Greensleeves would be transformed live into completely different animals but these originals are equally as listenable because if Ritchie was preoccupied with his personal life recording Stormbringer and let go of the reigns, here on his first solo album he is truly the boss.

Snake Charmer has a Mark III Purple feel to it but is not out of place, maybe not a classic like many here but a great song effort and plenty to enjoy from the two main men.

If Ritchie had surprised on Stormbringer by wielding an acoustic in the studio, here he truly knocks you over with this song. It is one of those songs which is best listened to over and over to appreciate what they have done. Little classical runs, another lovingly picked out solo and Ronnie's enviable vocal style make this a true Rainbow classic.

If there was a weak moment on the album it is If You Don't Like Rock And Roll, not a poor song by any means but would probably sit better on an Elf album than a Rainbow collection. The assembled group are undoubtedly having fun but this one does not meet the standards set elsewhere.

Luckily all is not lost, Sixteenth Century Greensleeves is another brilliant song with amazing guitar and Henry VIII era inspired vocals. If you only hear one Rainbow song in your life this would be a good one to choose.

The album closer is an instrumental reworking of a Yardbirds hit, Still I'm Sad, and Ritchie is rightly proud of his guitar work on this piece. Less than 4 minutes long, his soloing puts all the modern widdlers to shame because here not only can you hear how inspired he is but you can feel the emotion he puts into his playing. Unfortunately not everyone liked this cover when it came out and a certain John Peel (RIP) was very critical of RB for updating this song.

I would recommend this album as much today as I would when it first came out, mainly for Ritchie's playing because he dominates this album but also because the album as a whole is a worthy addition if you like 70's rock.

Long Live Rock 'n' Roll
Long Live Rock 'n' Roll
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £5.53

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Final Fling, 15 Mar 2011
This review is from: Long Live Rock 'n' Roll (Audio CD)
Long Live Rock 'n' Roll was the end on an era for Rainbow as the now sadly departed Ronnie James Dio quit the band because he refused to tow the Blackmore line as the indomitable guitarist requested more 'love song' style lyrics. This would also mark the last time Ritchie would work with the legend Martin Birch.

The album itself features an interesting mix of songs and some of Ritchie's finest studio soloing. Although the music is trademark Rainbow in most respects the style is generally less mysterious and epic than 'Rising' but the songs themselves are equally as impressive.

The album kicks off with the title track, an interesting choice considering Kill The King was the set opener at the time, but a good starter. Cozy's machine gun drumming launches the whole affair followed by the catchy chorus swathed with Ritchie's recognisable run. An upbeat number much removed from the previous efforts.

Lady of the Lake is a beautiful evocative song with some amazing slide guitar, punchy drums and a haunting Dio vocal. The production by Marin Birth is pure brilliance resulting in one commentator thinking Ritchie's guitar was in fact keyboards.

LA Connection is one of those annoying songs which some days you love it and others you leave it. The stuttering riff intro segues into a mid-tempo song which just drags on a little. The bands three main men are all on form throughout, as they are everywhere on the album, but the two minutes of extended chorus to fade is a minute too much. Ritchie's solo is as measured and brilliant as ever but minus a minute and this song would be improved.

Never mind because Gates of Babylon is worth the wait. From David Stone's synth intro through to the single violin theme at the end this absolute gem captivates. The tempo and structure whisk you back in time to a mystical middle-eastern land (now part of Iraq!) and Dio relates the tale with his usual perfection. The guitar solo is simply one of the best, building to a mind bending crescendo. Many a time have I listened to this song more than three or more times consecutively to bask in the glory of Ritchie's strat.

Kill The King had been in the band's repertoire for two years before making into the studio proper. Cunning imagery from Dio, with lyrics based on a game of chess, face melting guitar (thanks Jack Black) and pile driving drums are the backbone of this all-time classic. No one does it better. Ritchie rips up the rule book again with a blistering solo and classically tinged bridge. Another song which would make my top ten of Rainbow songs although never as good as a live rendition this song will slay you.

So here we are, 5 songs in and you're thinking it cannot get any better but somehow it does. I once read Ronnie wrote this song about the old Shed end at Stamford Bridge, so taken was he by the power and atmosphere at 'The Bridge', hence '(Subtle)' in the song title. The song itself beats you into submission. Ritchie's opening salvo does not prepare you for the onslaught to come because the riff drums and vocals beat you unsubtly around the head in a way that LA Connection wishes it had. Punctuated by a typically perfect Ritchie solo this song leaves you as battered and bruised as it intended.

Sensitive to Light is like 'Do You Close Your Eyes' light, but not in a bad way. Short sweet and punctual, the trio continue to dominate proceedings as they do the front cover. This is a rock 'n' roll tour de force.

Album closer 'Rainbow Eyes' is a massive shift in direction and will take you by surprise. Rock this is not, but it is a beautiful piece. Mellow acoustics from Ritchie, some strings and wind from an orchestra and Dio's emotive vocal. Probably not everyone's cup of tea but it is quite simply stunning. Ritchie and wife cover this song live in his current venture which shows how dissimilar this is from all the usual Rainbow fare.

The production on this album is simply unfathomable for 1978. Ritchie's guitar is clean yet heavy; clinical yet emotive. Dio's vocals are divine and Cozy's drumming too perfect for words (Michael Schenker was so taken by Cozy's sound on LLRnR he booked the studio along with the Birch to record Assault Attack but unfortunately Cozy had left his band by then).

Overall the album is a worthy follow up to 'Rising' and a superb way to bring the Dio era of the band to a close. Musically Ritchie was to change his style many times over the subsequent 30+ years but to me this was the end of his finest era, and only sparingly would we be given a glimpse of his total magnificence in the studio over the ensuing years and albums. Rainbow, as good as they could be with Bonnet, JLT and Dougie were never this good again.

Not to say I don't listen, enjoy and rate Down To Earth, Difficult to Cure, Straight Between The Eyes, Bent Out Of Shape and the very much underrated Stranger In Us All; it is just they are musically and emotionally so different it is difficult to consider them as being produced by a band named Rainbow.

Over recent times Ritchie's to main cohorts from this era have sadly been taken from us so listen to this album with a view that you will never here its' like again.

Here's hoping the 'Deluxe' edition does this justice

Price: £17.51

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Landmark in music history, triple treat., 28 Feb 2011
This review is from: Rising (Audio CD)
If you like rock music then you should own this album, Bruce Dickinson puts this in his top five for good reason.

Rainbow Rising is one of the best heavy rock albums every made, period. I cannot count how many times I have listened to this since it was first released on vinyl in 1976.

The triumvirate of Ritchie Blackmore, Ronnie James Dio (RIP) and Cozy Powell (RIP) were ably supported by Tony Carey and Jimmy Bain in producing something truly amazing.

As the spine tingling keyboard opening on Tarot Woman segues into Ritchie's staccato riff you know something special is going on, a brilliant opening salvo punctuated by a superb Blackmore solo and Carey outro. RJD setting his stall out for the rest of the album with rich soaring vocals, trailing melodies and mystical wizardry lyrics.

Next up is Run With The Wolf, continuing in the lyrical vein of the starter, another masterpiece with more of the immaculate playing you expect from Ritchie with a slide solo in the middle and masterful ending solo complimented by RJD's ad-libs. One thing that particularly stands out in RWTW is Cozy's immaculate thunder, perfect simplicity matching the base riff yet thundering away in the right places. Like most things on this production the performances leave you wanting more because they are so immaculate.

Starstruck moves off the dark wizard theme to a subject (Ritchie's stalker) covered elsewhere, yet the darkness of the whole is matched by the songs delivery. The pace of the music is unrelenting matching the individual performances and depending on your mood this could be your highlight. Punchy and melodic.

Do You Close your eyes was the side one closer on vinyl and this is a 3 minute stunner. Despite the heaviness of the riff there is a slight 'commercial' feel to the song, a direction which would later prove to be the undoing of this line up. This is still a fire cracker of a song.

Up next is what has been called "Blackmore's Kashmir" which is not true to my ears. Stargazer is an 8½ minute (depending on which mix) epic of astounding brilliance far beyond Kashmir's eastern meander. The song never lets you go, even as the orchestral driven ending fades into the background you are hooked in. The guitar solo is one of many astounding moments in Blackmore's studio recordings and he is one of the few musicians who can say his peak crossed several decades.

As soon as Stargazer fades out A Light In The Black kicks in for another 8 or so minutes of wizardry and magical musicianship. The tale continues from the previous song at break neck speed with Carey let lose followed by some more scintillating fretwork from Ritchie. The neo-classical style is born right here.

Overall, although the original limits of vinyl restricted the length of the original, this album is worth every penny just for the six songs on offer.

As a Deluxe Edition you get 3 versions of the same album plus one song. The NY mix is a bit flatter than the LA mix but both are equally as good for the songs. The previously unreleased 'Rough Mix' has a few little extras but does not add as much value as I would have hoped. The Pirate Sound rehearsal of Stargazer shows a band that should have conquered the world on their live shows alone, although the quality is poor it does nothing to detract from the abilities of the individuals on show.

To think that the band were in talks about reforming for a last hoorah prior to Cozy's premature death and now RJD is also no longer with us makes this release all the more poignant as we will never hear these great musicians in a studio or on stage again.

Hopefully this is not the last of the extended releases and there are more live and studio gems waiting to be let loose.

And I hope Ritchie will embrace his rockier side for at least one last time in honour of the great people he played with and the ground breaking album they produced.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 1, 2011 4:38 AM BST

Mr. Universe
Mr. Universe
Price: £8.40

4.0 out of 5 stars An Old Flame, 25 Feb 2011
This review is from: Mr. Universe (Audio CD)
I can remember picking this up in the local record shop (remember them?) and thinking "is this more of the jazz rock or something else?" I didn't buy it straight away but the owner proffered up Vengeance on a 45. Within a few bars I bought Mr Universe and the single as Smoke lurked on the B side.

Now I have finally got around to getting a replacement on CD and the album is as vibrant and fresh as it ever was.

Second Sight lures you in gently before Secret Of The Dance smashes your skull in, a fast pace rocker which I have to admit took me completely by surprise in 1979. She Tears Me Down follows and this is a great mid tempo with a sultry piano solo thrown in to the mix with Torme's howling fender strat.

Roller is another fast rocker with prominent Torme guitar and Towns, fairly rollicking along until the repeat ending. And then we have one of the album stand out moments, the title track is an absolute mind bender punctuated by a magical keyboard riff, some runaway drumming and more howling from Torme's strat. This is a classic track worthy of anyone's top ten favourite songs.

Swiftly followed by crackler in Vengeance the album has by now slayed any doubters as to the direction this band is going in, pure rock.

Puget Sound is a bit off the wall compared to the rest but somehow fits in with its USA road trip inspired lyrics and country-rock style slide and a sledgehammer chorus. Chugging along after is Dead of Night, driven by McCoy's plodding baseline. Great stuff. Message In A Bottle is the last fast past head banger leaving you breathless.

The original album finishes with the original "Japanese Album" version of Fighting Man. If Gillan felt Torme's style wouldn't suit this song I don't know but this is a fantastic final song (as was) on the album which leaves the listener stunned at the quality.

But on this re-release there is something else to beat your aural senses, a live-in-the-studio unique rampage through Smoke On The Water. A great version although not as good as the MKII Purple renditions a worthy successor and atmospheric.

Down To Earth
Down To Earth
Offered by thebookcommunity
Price: £56.50

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ah Sweet Memories, 7 Feb 2011
This review is from: Down To Earth (Audio CD)
Down to Earth is not every rock fans cup of tea. Following on from the Dio era greatness of the self titled first, Rising and LLR&R was never going to be easy and with a complete change of style and vocals the shift to the poppier side may have been too much for some.

I vividly remember collecting a copy of Since You've Been Gone on the day of release, playing it once and waiting a week before risking listening to this pop song again. Only then did I get what was going on. There had been a shift from the mystical style of previous to a new mode aimed to crack the American market and I had to decide if it was for me. I went with it, swung by an amazing gig at Leicester Grandby Halls. The new era of Rainbow rocked.

Of the original album tracks All Night Long, Eyes Of The World, Love's No Friend, Since You've Been Gone are stand out. The rest are still good. The B sides of Bad Girls and Weiss Heim are polls apart. Bad Girls is an ok filler, rightly left off the album but Weiss Heim is a masterpiece. Blackmore's heart-wrenching guitar coloured by the delightful keys of Don Airey. Stunning.

As for CD2, I am enjoying this the more I listen to it. Ignore the alleged "Cozy Powell Remix" of All Night Long" this is probably worth taking a star off on it's own. Heavily tweaked to up Powell's thunder in the mix it does not sound genuine and is typical of Univeral's policy for expanded releases. Shame on you, not the best way to tip a hat to the late Cozy Powell. The rest are very interesting listens showing tracks early in their development and showcasing Blackmore's rhythm playing as well as highlighting how a song can change before final pressing.

Buy this if you are a fan of Rainbow, take no notice of how spangly dangly the db's are in the mix and enjoy the album for what it is. A vastly underrated album from a truly great band.

Hopefully there is a live tape of a knockout concert somewhere from this version of the band, I've heard a few boots with potential so there must be something out there.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 25, 2011 8:33 PM GMT

SBK 08: World Superbike Championship (Xbox 360)
SBK 08: World Superbike Championship (Xbox 360)

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Always been the best gaming series and remains so, 5 Aug 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Historically the SBK game series started on the PC in 98 and ended in 2001 before resurrection last year with 07 PS variants. Graphically the tracks are gps mapped to perfection so any complaints around this aspect should be ignored. The SBK series has been lovingly nurtured as a simulator unlike the arcadey MOTOGP series which has always been a poor cousin to the SBK games, unlike in real life and the original Microprose GP500 game.

The great thing is you can start with as much assistance as you need and work your way up to the full on simulator style. Unfortunately there isn't a handlebar/foot switch controller option on the market to really do this game the justice it deserves.

Listen ye not to the naysayers, this is the best

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