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4.8 out of 5 stars57
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 30 April 2003
This is an absolute must for all of you out there who like your rock "old school" style. The first album from Blackmore post Purple, recorded with a little known bunch of Californians who went under the name of Elf, this album set the pattern for the classic Rainbow sound.
With a lovely British R&B feel to it, Blacmore's fretwork is among the best he has ever produced on his ever present white Strat. Catch the Rainbow is an exercise in subtlety whilst the frantic cover of The Yardbirds Still I'm Sad is guaranteed to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
Team this up with Ronnie Dio's faux operatics and penchant for all things medieval sounding, and you could be in an audio version of a classic fantasy tale.
It may sound a little dated now, but that is no excuse not to own a slice of good old honest rock 'n' roll.
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on 30 April 2003
This is an absolute must for all of you out there who like your rock "old school" style. The first album from Blackmore post Purple, recorded with a little known bunch of Californians who went under the name of Elf, this album set the pattern for the classic Rainbow sound.
With a lovely British R&B feel to it, Blacmore's fretwork is among the best he has ever produced on his ever present white Strat. Catch the Rainbow is an exercise in subtlety whilst the frantic cover of The Yardbirds Still I'm Sad is guaranteed to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
Team this up with Ronnie Dio's faux operatics and penchant for all things medieval sounding, and you could be in an audio version of a classic fantasy tale.
It may sound a little dated now, but that is no excuse not to own a slice of good old honest rock 'n' roll.
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on 2 May 2012
I love Dio era Rainbow, and this album - his first with Ritchie Blackmore - is a treat! There are shades of Deep Purple about it to begin with (guitarist Blackmore's previous band), and that's no bad thing, but as the album progresses, things make a departure and you start to get a flavour of what's to come on future Dio/Blackmore Rainbow collaborations (there were only 3 studio albums in total). Opener 'Man On The Silver Mountain' is a DP type rocker - check those keyboards! - with fantastic vocal and guitar; 'Self Portrait' - a personal favourite - is a real strange mid-paced number with more Dio influence coming to the fore; 'Black Sheep Of The Family' rolls along with great harmonies - it's rockin'; 'Catch The Rainbow' is a beautifully sung melodic piece with a guitar intro a bit reminiscent of Hendrix (I thought); 'Snake Charmer' is a brilliant '70s funk rocker - listen to that wawah guitar! (another personal favourite); 'Temple Of The King' is simply awesome and majestic in every way, again, featuring superb lyrics and vocals and wonderful, catchy guitar parts layered with a bit of spanish style fingerpickin' in places - hear this tune once and you'll be humming it to yourself for a long time after! (possibly my favourite of the lot); 'If You Don't Like Rock N Roll' is something of a straight down the line meat and potatoes bar room rock workout with some nice flourishes - great stuff!; 'Sixteenth Cetury Greensleeves' I found very interesting and original, and with repeated plays only gets more interesting - a belter! The last song is a fast-paced instrumental cover of The Yardbirds 'Still I'm Sad'. I have to admit that while it's an interesting interpretation of the original, it's a bit superfluous and simply not as good. I felt the cowbell(?), clinking throughout, made it sound a bit pants really. May have been bettered with some Dio input? Who knows?; a curiosity nonetheless. The rest of the group (Dio's soon to be ex-bandmates 'Elf' - minus the guitarist already replaced, of course, by Blackmore) provide excellent backing. The musicianship, lyrics and powerful vocals - as one would expect from these fellas - are all utterly superb, and I'd certainly recommend this smokin' hot riff-peppered release, along with the other 2 Dio/Blackmore Rainbow albums, to anyone who loves classic rock. Groovy cover art too!
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VINE VOICEon 22 May 2008
Fleeing Deep Purple after the anaemic 'Stormbringer' enabled Ritchie Blackmore to mould a version of the band which was nearer to his own musical persona. 'Man On The Silver Mountain' opens this album like a blueprint for what was to follow, a Gothic take on hard rock. Even so, this is a fairly diverse album, featuring the soft, beautiful 'Catch The Rainbow' and 'The Temple Of The King,' which has a slightly oriental slant. Rock, though, is still the main order of the day. There is one curious inclusion, a cover of The Yardbirds hit, 'Still I'm Sad.' Where the original was a slow, cavernously echoing song made portentous by a Gregorian-style chant, Rainbow's version is a fast instrumental, recognisable only by Blackmore's jazzed-up take on the melody.

As for the rest of the band, though Elf, as they were, do a fine job, only vocalist Ronnie James Dio remained for the 'Rising' album, suggesting that Blackmore was only interested in him. Certainly, Cozy Powell coming in on drums would give their music more steel than it already had. Rainbow's debut isn't perfect but contains so much great rock that it rates as a classic.
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on 16 August 2010
The debut album from Rainbow is every bit as good as the next 2 albums which for reasons unknown to me are always pronounced by critics to be much better than this one. Not the case. Dio's voice is on top form, with some slower numbers that highlight the beautiful tone and timbre of his voice not commonly heard on his Black Sabbath and Dio albums. Personal favourites include 'Catch the Rainbow' (better than 'Rainbow Eyes' from LLR), 'The Temple of the King' and of course 'Man on the Silver Mountain'. A must own for any lover of classic 70s rock and I can't for the life of me understand why this album is not hailed as classic of the genre. Everyone I know who loves rock loves this album. Can't think of a better first 3 albums from any rock band except maybe for Queen's first 3 albums. When I was a kid in the 80s (I'm 42 now) I favoured the Graham Bonnet and Joe Lynn Turner versions of Rainbow because I liked over-produced American-sounding rock. Can't believe I did because now the Dio albums still sound fresh whilst the later stuff sounds formulaic (though still good in its own right). Buy it!
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on 16 March 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.
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What do you get when a superstar guitar player joins forces with a majestic vocalist with a penchant for dungeons,dragons and all things medieval? Blackmores Rainbow! thats what.

This is disc is always overlooked when discussing Ronnie and Ritchies greatest moments and its a shame as it contains as many classics as 'Rising' and 'Long Live Rock N Roll'

Opening with the riff driven 'Man On The Silver Mountain' you immediately realise that Blackmores on form,fantastic solo,superb vocals from Dio and ably supported by the band ELF (sans guitarist of course) a sure fire winner to start with, a couple of lesser known tracks follow the best being 'Black Sheep of the Family' which pretty much can be seen as a template for many a latter day DIO track,before the albums ist highlight 'Catch The Rainbow',simply superb bluesy track with lyrics of bygone days of old,a mesmeric moment.Side 2 of the original album opened with 'Snake Charmer' another interesting workout before 'Temple Of The King' , yet another fantastic piece of music,,superb guitar playing,shimmering vocals,this track never ceases to bring a smile.The album closes out with the throwaway 'If You Dont Like Rock n Roll',showing Blackmore could still turn out Purple style rock when required while 16th Century Greensleeves and the stunning instrumental 'Still Im Sad' were evidence that Rainbow were already leaving Purple behind.A fantastic album in every sense.
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on 6 December 2003
The first of the Rainbow albums and it is a good start to the bands career. This album is full of tracks with wonderful fantasy/Dungeons and Dragons lyrics.
Ronnie James Dio sounds excellent on this album and is reaching the height of his creative powers (which he finally reached in 1980-1984).
Ritchie Blackmore is also on top form. His guitars just make you want to listen to the album over and over again.
The strongest track on the album in 'Man On The Silver Mountain' and the fantasy style is peerless. None who have used a fanstasy rock style can even compare to this album (with the possible exception of Black Sabbath in the 80s)
'Sixteenth Century Greensleeves' is my personal favourite with an awesome Metal riff and great vocals.
This album is a must for anyone who likes good old fashioned metal performed by two of the biggest legends in metal. Full of great riffs and excellent vocals this album is a must for anyone who likes rock music, not just metal.
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on 22 August 2010
Looks like another excellent year for classic rock vinyl releases with the majority of the Rainbow collection now available. This is one of the few original Rainbow vinyl releases from the 70s I no longer have in my collection. Unfortunately it was played to destruction on release back in 1975 on then my state of the art `Low-Fi:' `Pye Black Box' record player. I have been listening to this album on CD from the 1999 re-mastered version, which in my view is excellent quality and worth having if vinyl is not your preferred music format. Although for me I missed the vinyl version so it was excellent news to find that it was being released again via the `Back On Black Rock Classic' series. Not having an original copy to compare against any vinyl re-issue or re-master I consider an advantage, as typically I have found so often they sound sonically compressed when compared back to back vs the 70s original.

It took a few weeks to arrive after ordering as I understand there was a delay on the release date but it was certainly worth the wait. Pressed on purple, ca 180g vinyl (this copy weighs 186g), containing the original nine tracks. I am still not convinced about the advantages claimed with heavy weight vinyl as they are never perfectly flat. I always use a record clamp whatever the weight is to ensure maximum record contact with the player's platter. The quality of the recording in my experience is more important than purely the vinyl weight and often there is no correlation. It is interesting to see it says 100% pure vinyl on the back cover, which is surprising, as it must contain a small amount of pigment to be coloured purple. No doubt they mean it contains no recycled PVC. The original double gatefold cover is very masterfully restored with a substantially supported hinge keeping the package firmly together. Unfortunately, again as so often with current vinyl releases, poor quality, thin paper inner-sleeves are used to hold heavy weight vinyl records.

The sound quality of the album is excellent; a clear, clean and detailed spectrum of sound is spread across the speakers. I have been playing the record from purchase without a clean on my VPI cleaning machine. I normally use the standard IPA/Water mix to remove the residual silicone release agent on the record so no doubt it will sound even better after this first clean.

Although this was the first time Richie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio had recorded together, the quality and consistently of the songs on this album are very high. The atmosphere on the album reflects this new exciting partnership, which unfortunately would only last two further studio albums. This album contains many famous stage classics that would span the history of the many future line-up changes of the band: `Man On The Silver Mountain (what a riff, expanded with solos on stage)', Catch the Rainbow (brilliant vocals, detail is excellent on this vinyl album), `Sixteen Century Greensleeves' and Still I'm Sad (actually I prefer the later vocal edition to this pure instrumental version)'. Also it contains one of my favourite Rainbow songs `The Temple of the King'. On this vinyl edition this is an outstanding track sonically. The vocals are so rich and detailed, the guitar sounds so clear and the bass/percussion drives the song along, absolute perfection.

In conclusion, a magnificent vinyl release which is highly recommended.
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on 4 September 2004
This is the best of the Dio-fronted Rainbow albums, allthough none of the others are anything less than musical masterpieces.
But this is just perfection on a disc. Every song is fantastic, but real blinders are "Snake Charmer", "Self Portrait" and especially "Temple of the King", where Dios magnificent voice really shines. The sound has hints of Purple and Zeppelin but still manages to be unique. Why this album hasn't outsold "Thriller" by a million to one is beyond me!
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