Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sunshine, Lollipops & Rainbows ...and Dio

Hey it's still summertime right?

So there's no reason to turn down the Sunshine, Lollipops & Rainbows abounding out here on the edge of the interwebs is there?

I think that those three nouns will be our topics today...

So sunshine... that's easy...most people are familiar with it. I myself even see it on occasion.

Here's a few "sunny" tunes that explore this fascinating subject, or "Sol" music if you will

Jimi Hendrix - Sunshine Of Your Love

Super Furry Animals - Hello Sunshine

and here's one of those remix things, but done by a guy named sunshine...so I gues it still counts.

Fall Out Boy - Dance Dance ( Tommie Sunshine Mix)

While yer listening to those, let's read up on solar cooking ok?

Now note: that's an 11 page tome on the subject you can click through, all without leaving this site, if ya like...

As for me, i think sun dried tomato pesto is about the closest I'm getting to solar cooking this month...

and then we'll
get on to the lollipop portion of our day...

Note" in every leperchaun tale, The rainbow, always at the end...doh! no cheating...

Now ...Lollipops!!

Most folks only know Leslie as the girl who cried at her party because she wanted to, but that's not all there was to her...

She had her good days too, and dug Lollipops ...

Leslie Gore - Sunshine, Lollipops & Rainbows

The only other Lollipop tune I knows...well here it is

Mika - Lollipop

Speaking of lollipops...here's one that weighs 5 lbs and costs $35 bucks.

That's New York for ya I guess...

and see, you were patient... and ya know what you get?

the Rainbow!!!

more specifically Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow!

There's no question amongst heshers of a certain age that Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow was amongst the prime purveyors of bombastic rock in the 1970's into the early 80's.

With tiny elfen warrior Ronnie James Dio yelping up a storm out front, Cozy Powell pounding on the drums and Blackmore's guitar blistering away, it was a stoner's dream come true, and likely a nightmare for pissed off parents. I also imagine the sonic scenario could likely scare quite a few little sisters into David & Sean Cassidy if they heard this dreadful pagan thumping & wailing coming through the walls while they played Barbie Dolls.

The band emerged out of Deep Purple when Blackmore quit after a long rocky run, and legend has it was hanging with fellow disgruntled rocker Dio. They named their band not so much for mystical multicolored daytime hippie skies, but for the dive bar on Sunset next to the Roxy in LA frequented by lounging heavy metal musicians & their groupies.

The original lineup was

Ronnie James Dio (vocals)
Ritchie Blackmore (guitar)
Mickey Lee Soule (keyboards)
Jimmy Bain (bass)
Cozy Powell (drums)

In a minute we'll delve into their live album On Stage, but prior to this time period, they had put out their debut album called Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow in 1975. This was a more mellow affair compared to the ravaging excesses of their live show. Much more melodically inclined than the live sets, it stands as a sleeper to this day. But here's a track from that, before they decided to bump the bombast level up a serious notch for the cheap seats...

Rainbow - Catch The Rainbow

Now.. that's not exactly my cup of spittle either...

So inn the interest of properly anointing you young uns into the glory of Rainbow...I've carefully chosen some key tracks from a couple live albums they have available from their so-called "classic period" from 1975-1978 before Dio left to replace Ozzy in Black Sabbath.

First I'll highlight side one of the album "On Stage", recorded in 1976 in Japan.

It was a classic 70's gatefold double live LP, and has been ported onto one economical CD these days with some editing. It's available for less than $9 here

as it opens with the medieval themed "Kill The King", which features a sample from the Wizard of Oz at the beginning. So there ya have it... Dio & Blackmore were sampling long before any of those foolish electronica acts relied on it for their entire output. The boys use just the right amount of Dorothy before they just start shredding away, Dio basically showing why he's been one of the great voices in rock for decades. Blackmore in the meantime has built a mean musical machine, and this track shows a fierce well rehearsed combo, forging a liquid metal path for acts like Iron Maiden, Twisted Sister and countless others to slide into...

Rainbow - Kill The King

The next track is Man On The Silver Mountain, but in the album sequence, it's left as a 3 part medley of sorts, followed by a 4 minute blues jam and portion of another song called Starstruck. The whole darn file of track deux here is about 10 minutes / 15 megs and is basically a mini concert unto itself. I myself would be satisfied with these hits separated, but if the mighty Dio & Blackmore both want you to experience all three songs at once, who am I to argue?

Rainbow - Man On The Silver Mountain / Blues / Starstruck

The album was pretty much the same set the band would play at most engagements, with occasional shifts in order of songs. The set list for their first stateside show at The Beacon Theater in New York in Nov 1975 shows that during the December 1976 tour this album was recorded at in Japan wasn't all that much different from sets played a year earlier.

This was a band that liked to flaunt a bit o that "Majesty of Rock" that Spinal Tap aspired to, and you can pretty much be assured that Dio & Blackmore were twice as serious about this Dungeons & Dragons-esque stuff as posers like Nigel Tufnel & David St. Hubbins.

The audience there was obviously digging it, clapping along, but here from the 21st century vantage point, if you have a shortened attention span like myself, you might understand why punk rockers were ready to tear down some of these pompous rock conventions. Anyhow.. it certainly provides a time capsule of rock, and I doubt anyone will be replaying a Shins, or The Battles live tape in 2027 and raving about it quite like Rainbow fans do.

I myself being somewhat less under the spell, can become dizzy and amused reading the fawning reviews of diehard fans, but in the interest of explaining Dio's mysterious powers & Blackmore's fantastic six stringed spells I'll let the peanut gallery from across the web chime in & give you the hardcore 5 star run down ...

Underappreciated Live Gem - 5 stars!! - Submitted by kevino (Hunt Valley, MD, USA)

"On Stage" is absolutely one of the best live rock albums ever. What a shame so few people have heard it. Ritchie Blackmore's alternately blistering and melodic guitar solos, Ronnie James Dio's powerhouse vocals, and Cozy Powell's two-fisted, thunderous drumming combine to produce a set of killer performances. The album features Blackmore in his own band, with a free reign to arrange his way, and solo at will. His playing here is fiery and expressive. Epic fretboard explorations in "Catch The Rainbow" and Mistreated", sweet, delicate blues in the "Man On The Silver Mountain" medley, a beautiful intro to “Sixteenth Century Green sleeves” (as well as two great solos), and just plain shredding in "Kill The King" and "Still I'm Sad" (which features one of the most exciting, air guitar-inspiring solos ever recorded) - this is Ritchie at his best. This recording, made five years before the Black Sabbath album “Heaven And Hell” did it for a wider audience, also shows that Ronnie Dio is inarguably one of the finest rock singers ever. Clear, powerful vocals shine throughout. Cozy Powell, just the quintessential rock and roll drummer, drives these songs with a cannonade of percussive fury. Tony Carey’s unique organ and synthesizer sounds flesh the music out nicely. Check out his cool cadenza in “Still I’m sad”. This is very special music, of a type not heard before or after the vintage era of Rainbow (with Dio, 1975 - 1979). “On Stage” captures some great live evidence of this. Highly, highly recommended.

eMusic has uploaded a more recently released Rainbow collection of the same era that was recorded in Munich in 1977.

This album can also be bought as a DVD and has newely remastered sound, and a similar setlist for diehards to dwell on the subtleties. The DVD is only about $12 from this link and fans are raving about it.

All I know is it's not a short attention span release, considering that there's a 17 minute version of Catch The Rainbow and 14 minute epic treatment of Man On The Silver Mountain.

But here's a series of 5 star fan reviews from the eMusic & CD Universe websites:

CLASSIC! iTimbo1 from PA

Great show, with Dio in tow and the band playing in full force. Blackmore is at the peak of his powers.

AMAZING~~~ Sebastian from Hollywood, CA

WOW! Ritchie BlackmoreS guitar work is just amazing on this LP as are Ronnie James Dio's vocal work. The recording sound is excellent... Catch The Rainbow is just a totally amazing version. For ANY Dio fan this is a MUST have. ENJOY

5 stars!! Never knew a film existed of this Rainbow Lineup! - George (New York)
Amazing! Just Amazing! When it comes to vintage concerts on DVD, I use the Led Zeppelin DVD as a standard. As far as I am concerned this Rainbow DVD comes in at a very very close second! The video and sound is just top notch! I wonder how long this concert film had been sitting in the vaults because it should have been issued ages ago! The extras featuring a commentary slideshow, a new informative interview with Bob Daisley, and 3 videos from the Long Live Rock and Roll album are a great addition to this set. My DVD not only came with a booklet of informative liner notes and commentary, but with a miniature replication of an original tour program from that 1977 tour! Overall, the whole package is a MUST HAVE for all fans Rainbow, Dio, Deep Purple and even Black Sabbath-era Dio. I hope there is more to come from the vaults. No disappointments here at all!

5 stars - The DIO Years!! - by Steve c. (Tuson,AZ.)
Don't buy the CD! Buy the DVD and get the best of both worlds.This is the best I've heard RONNIE JAMES DIO sing on any of his live Cd's including BLACK SABBATH LIVE EVIL. But that's only my opinion a must for RAINBOW fans.

5 stars RAINBOWS RISING!! - Submitted by steve t. (BAKERSFIELD,CA.)
I've lost count how many times i watched this dvd since i bought it.This is one for us getting old RAINBOW FANS to show and tell the younger ones that this was a band!

Click below to download from eMusic the MP3s of
Rainbow in Munich !

or click here to purchase a brand new copy of the DVD on sale
for about $12.

Anyhow, check out the 30 second samples at eMusic if yer interested and grab yerself a trial membership...

A free trial gets ya 25 free DRM free Mp3 songs and ya can quit without paying, but if yer like me, you'll stick around for a cheap membership that starts at about $10 a month. It's a much better deal than anything I tunes offers, and each month you'll feast on several albums worth of legal tuneage .

Next time kids we might look into life after Dio... The 80's etc, including the darn near dreaded, yet fiscally frugal Joe Lynn Turner years.

But I doubt it, cause I've got a other stuff to do today, tomorrow & forever.

You might have to dig into that on yer own...

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