Rainbow - Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
I have no doubt that Richie Blackmore was a talented guitarist, but he could be a real wanker when he set his mind to it. That sort of arrogance was the problem he encountered with Deep Purple. Not enough band members got down on their knees and screamed "we are not worthy" at him whenever he entered the room, said something, jammed on his guitar, took a piss or whatever. No one was ever good enough for Richie Blackmore.
So, after years of wanting to make his own album, the great Ritchie-Blackmore-aren't-I-wonderful-because-I'm-in-charge album, when he cut loose, what did he do? He did this. What a disappointment? The main problem is the production, which was true 'elephant's ear' production (flat and grey). None of the tracks stand out as the way they have been produced reduces them all to a low common denominator. Not that these were bad songs in themselves. Just listen to some of the tracks on this which featured on the live album On Stage - "Sixteenth Century Greensleeves", "Still I'm Sad" and above all "Catch the Rainbow" and you can see what could have been done. Instead, the studio versions do nothing but disappoint.
Those aforementioned songs are also the best of what is a truly bad bunch. Most of the remaining numbers are some sort of poor standard rock fare which does nothing either to showcase Blackmore's talent or introduce any innovation into rock music. And in 1975 rock was in desperate need of some innovation as it was about to face a huge challenge to its pre-eminence from the punks. In any event the remainder of the tracks on the album are all, without exception, utterly unmemorable.
So, what do we have then as a debut album? Overall it is poorly produced and awfully, arranged. It lacks any spark of emotion and completely fails to display the abilities of the individual band members or to showcase their abilities collectively as a group. At least those three songs mentioned were, at heart, good songs. The rest were just plain awful. It makes you wonder why Blackmore bothered.
If you ask me this could have been so much better. Credit to the man, he probably realised this and that is why he persevered with it. Blackmore was undoubtedly talented; Ronnie James Dio needed Blackmore to bring out the best in him, so why didn't it work? Perhaps because Blackmore's ego got in the way (as usual). Did he really think that all he had to do was turn up, strum the tunes and fuck off? If so, he seriously over-estimated his ability - or underestimated what it takes to make a great record. He would not repeat that mistake with the second album.
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