Tuesday, May 18, 2010



Though he had been fronting bands since his teen years (in the late 1950s), Ronnie James Dio did so in relative obscurity until 1975. He had caught the ear of Deep Purple's Ritchie Blackmore while singing for a group called Elf. Due largely to his prodigious vocal talent, the band was invited to tour with Purple. He caught a further break when Blackmore, pissed with the direction that DP Mach III was moving in, recruited Ronnie and his Elf-mates to make an album.

This is where the Dio legend begins.

Hurriedly recorded, the debut disc has its moments, though suffers from being somewhat underwritten. Containing the very fine "Man On The Silver Mountain" and stellar cuts like "Catch the Rainbow", this is by no means a bad record. The highlights make it worthwhile, though it is not consistently brilliant. What really counts is RJD's peerless voice, which lifts everything he touches. There would be no conventional "you know I love ya baby" couplets tossed out as an afterthought, as he worked to craft lyrics that suggest fantastic realms, occupied by otherworldly characters. This would become his signature, garnering as much attention as his operatic delivery.

Clocking in at just over a half hour in total, padded by two covers, it only provides a glimpse of the potential that the Blackmore/Dio partnership had to offer. Their follow up would be far superior.


drewzepmeister said...

A very good album from Rainbow indeed! My preference goes to their second album Rising, where I was blown away by tunes like "A Light in Black" and "Stargazer".

Sean Coleman said...

That one is up next :) My favorite Rainbow LP, too