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RAINBOW'S MASTERPIECE IS TREATED TO A MIDDLING DELUXE EDITION.
on 28 February 2011
Unquestionably Rainbow's best album. RISING from 1976 was the peak which - at least for this listener - Ritchie Blackmore's band would never quite reach again. With Ronnie Dio on vocals and the thunderous drumming of Cozy Powell, Rainbow created a hard-rocking beast of an LP containing six tracks of focused quality. 'Tarot Woman', 'Run With The Wolf' and, of course, 'Stargazer' are worth their weight in gold, and I don't know about you, but when Dio exclaims "I see a rainbow rising..!" towards the end of 'Stargazer', for me it is one of those genuinely spine-tingling moments in rock music, along with, say, the tranquil opening chords of 'Stairway To Heaven'. So, this is clearly a fantastic album. But does it deserve Universal's Deluxe Edition treatment?
Well, the new remaster here is considerably beefy, with bags of bottom end to the sound (just listen to the bass-drumming on 'A Light In The Black'), so in that respect it is a considerable improvement upon the 1999 re-release. However, in terms of extras the set is rather lacking. The inclusion of the RISING album's alternative 'Los Angeles Mix' is in the end not all that different from the 'New York Mix' that was eventually released on vinyl, although on 'Stargazer' especially I detected a little more prominence to Jimmy Bain's bass guitar, while Ronnie Dio's voice throughout the L.A. mix seems a little more forward. But on the whole, you'll probably find yourself sticking with the familiar mix we all know and love. As for the "rough mixes" on disc two, well, I 've never been all that enamoured with hearing these sorts of things, so once again, you too may find yourself listening to them once or twice and forgetting about them.
As for the booklet, it is once again a nicely presented affair, although the photograph of Rainbow that was featured on the inside of the original gatefold sleeve of RISING has not been reproduced as part of the new artwork (it only appears here in the photo of a picture sleeve to a single of 'Run With The Wolf', and I'm not counting that), while the sleevenotes give no indication as to why the album was treated to different mixes prior to release, particularly as there seems to be so little difference between them!
I think it would have been nice to have seen maybe a live DVD included, rather than what amounts to basically three versions of the same album. Admittedly, Rainbow did not have a lot of material to work with for RISING, while the album was recorded relatively quickly, which would explain why no previously unreleased songs exist from the sessions. However, there is the feeling of a barrel being scraped with this Deluxe Edition.
Overall, having bought a lot of these Deluxe Editions of classic albums over the last few years, I have found this one for Rainbow's RISING rather uninteresting. The new remaster is excellent, for it highlights what a powerhouse record RISING always was. But, considering the paucity of extras on offer, a nicely packaged single disc would have probably sufficed.