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Court minstrels of yesteryear with electric guitars

Rainbow Rising cover art

Geir Myklebust posts on his blog a Rainbow Rising review by Geoff Barton that first appeared in the issue of Sounds from May 22, 1976:

“WITH RAINBOW’S music I intend to carry on and expand upon the essence of Deep purple — aggressiveness — and at the same time add a kind of medieval feel to it all.”
Thus spake Ritchie Blackmore in a SOUNDS interview dated August 2, 1975 — the last time, to my knowledge, the one-time Deep purple guitarist visited Britain. Of course, it’s been even longer since he actually played here and while this is disappointing I can’t help but feel, in a twisted, abstract sort of way, that this lengthy absence from his home country hasn’t altogether worked to his favour.
Bearing in mind the recent, much-discussed poor British displays of the Tommy Bolin incarnation of Deep Purple, Ritchie Blackmore is now, to most people, a hazy, indistinct, albeit fond, memory. A good deal of mystique surrounds not only the man but his band as well.
For, at the moment, Rainbow is an uncertain, undiscovered property, not being the band that appeared on last year’s amorphous debut album. Gary Driscoll, Mickey Lee Soule and Craig Gruber have long since left the fold, only Blackmore and vocalist, lyricist Ronnie James Dio now remain. The rest of the group is, to British audiences at least, new and untried.
The Rainbow has, however, been carefully crafted, put together with no small amount of precision by Blackmore and Dio. The outfit now comprises, besides the aforementioned duo, Scottish bass player Jimmy Bain, late of Harlot; Tony Carey, Keyboard player, California-born, ex- of a band called Blessings; and old-timer Cozy Powell on drums, whose past credentials vary from the ‘Ruff And Ready’ Jeff Beck Group to a teenscream ‘Dance With The Devil’ solo career.

Continue reading in My Things – Music history for those who are able to read.

23 Comments to “Court minstrels of yesteryear with electric guitars”:

  1. 1
    Uwe Hornung says:

    The above should probably read together with this here:


    And – for some balance – this here!


    Back in 1975/1976 there were basically three Brit rock journos around that cared a rat’s ass about what Ritchie was doing while Punk was taking hold: Geoff Barton (Sounds), Bob Edmands (New Musical Express) and Tony Stewart (ditto). All three were sympathetic to the ‘Purple Family’, i.e. Rainbow, Ian Gillan Band, Gillan, PAL, David Coverdale/Whitesnake, which is not to say that – thankfully so – they gushed about everything those bands did.

    Tony Stewart did a great article on Gillan’s departure from/Coverdale’s entry with DP and what Blackers thought about it all (and how instrumental he was for both), recommended and illuminating reading:



    As for Rainbow Rising, I won’t spoil the celebrations and let those of you who love that album bask in the glow of Barton’s accolades for it. I didn’t think it was the hottest thing since sliced bread back then (I preferred and prefer the debut and the subsequent LLRnR to it) and nothing has changed my view over the decades (it has aged badly in my ears). In fact, I find the production even more lacking today than I did back then, the album just doesn’t sound ’round’, more like a rough mix to me. But I respect how many people here think it’s among Ritchie’s most iconic works.

    The sleeve, of course, was a cracker.

  2. 2
    Georgivs says:

    The production is a bit rough, indeed, on ‘Rising’. I first owned it on the magnetic tape back in the ’80s and it always struck me unpleasantly how thin it sounded, especially relative to how heavy it had been meant to be. These days, though, it’s a whole different story. I have it on my phone with an advanced sound player. It cleans up the sound of anything you play without you even trying. And if you fiddle a little with the settings, you can sort of recreate the sound of how it probably should have been designed. My recent experience of blasting ‘Rising’ through the speakers was very satisfying, to say the least

    On a totally different note, I’ve been surprised to learn that Tony is half Cherokee. Now if someone reproaches the ’70s hard rock of being white music, not diverse enough, you can always give your interlocutor that best Nigel Tufnel stare and make your counter point on diversity.

  3. 3
    MacGregor says:

    Thanks for the Tony Stewart article. It was obvious MK 2 had run it’s course at that time & Gillan was not going to stay for ANY reason. Fair enough as something has to give & that is a common scenario with so many bands. It only lasts for so long, one album, two, three or four or however many. Glover was unfairly treated but obviously as he came with Gillan & if DP were looking for a duel (dual) vocalist front line he was going to be told. Just the way that it was delivered that wasn’t good. That alas is also a common thread in band ‘management’ issues it seems. Uwe did very well here to ‘leave’ Rainbow Rising alone as such, well done. I was getting ready big time, he he he. Maybe that baying mob was still on his mind, pitchforks on fire & all. Ouch! Cheers.

  4. 4
    Gregster says:

    @1…Good article Uwe, thanks for sharing !

    As for the thread article, it’s fine too, & there’s no-doubt that en-masse, this album is “the one” that most folks look-back-at, & wished that the band delivered more of this, as it gave Rainbow a solid identity. It also set the template “proper” imo of what many metal bands would / could attune to with their own ambitions / recordings. It has atmosphere, that European flavour, forceful percussion & diving bass, solid guitar backed by classic keyboard sounds, & RJD cementing his place. It’s a prog-album imo, & I like progressive rock.

    What I don’t like about this record, is that it’s too short. For myself, its over way-too-soon.

    The debut is my fave also, as it’s more of a pop-album, with radio-friendly tunes, often smothered in a funky delivery. And its cover-art I like better than Rising, though it’s quite good too. * ( Although the perfect-fit-cover, the rainbow was used for quite a few years with DP also as their stage-rig, so…).

    Peace !

  5. 5
    Wiktor says:

    Well, let me give you Uwe and all the rest here my simple view of Rainbow Rising:
    “Its the g-d damned best album Rainbow ever made!!!”
    I bought it when it came out and me and my friends said after listening to it.. “Wow!.. Wow!!..Wow!!!
    four years later we had a “Rainbow evening” we sat there having a drink or two..well maybe three.. to quote an old Alice Cooper song.. and we said; Have the Gillan band or Coverdales Whitesnake made anything that comes near Rising or something even better perhaps? We looked at each other and we all said; No!! And we raised our glases and said “Cheers to that!!”
    If I want great outstanding production I listen to Pink Floyd. But all and all..this is just my humble opinion.

  6. 6
    mike whiteley says:

    I got the album for Christmas, 1976.
    Tony Carey’s spooky intro to Tarot Woman honestly scared my 15 year old ears !! What an opening track !! I loved the march of Run with the Wolf, the rocking riff and groovy triplets of Starstruck, and the bounce of Do You Close Your Eyes.

    Side 2 ?? Dear God !! Simply put, the power and majesty of Stargazer endures to this day.An epic,cinematic triumph. A Light in the Black was a manic, thumping, marvellous chunk of metal..
    Start to end, Rising is wonderful record. Rainbow never made a better one, to my ears.

  7. 7
    James Steven Gemmell says:

    Side 2 is an absolute classic. Side 1 gets a little boring after the opening tune on RBR. The first album was pretty good throughout, but didn’t have Ritchie’s blistering guitar solos or Cozy Powell’s great drumming. The live On Stage album was great, IMO. It’s too bad Ian Gillan and Roger Glover are intent on taking their grudge against Ritchie to the grave.

  8. 8
    MacGregor says:

    Nice to see so many positive Rainbow Rising comments. @ 6 – you are correct there with the Tarot Woman opening keyboard, a wonderful eerie & dramatic building intro to a drama filled album. And as soon as we start to hear those first guitar riff’s quietly & slowly building the anticipation is grand indeed. That is very important if wanting to make a statement from the very beginning & what a statement it is. Now if someone could give this album a proper (without messing it up) remix it may be a good thing, as we have discussed here before. Having said that, some remixes don’t work out & the original release is better in the end. We may have to make do with what we have & that has sustained us for almost half a century, if so let it be. Cheers.

  9. 9
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Tony Carey’s Native American roots were actually frequently mentioned in the 70ies and 80ies, then it all of the sudden stopped – maybe he did a revelatory DNA test that cast doubt about it, but judging by his facial features and physique, he always looked, to use the old term, very ‘Indian’ to me, prominent cheekbones at all. When he lived and worked in Frankfurt, he was referred to as “der Indianer” by people who just knew him as a producer, singer and songwriter and had no idea about his Rainbow background. This was around the time when “Why Me?” was a rock disco dance floor hit.


    For the record, while I have my qualms about Rising as a whole, Tarot Woman was and is an incredible number (which infuriatingly they never played live) and Carey’s slinky synth lines played a major part in that. He hasn’t lost it either:


    Re Ritchie’s and Roger’s relationship: Ritchie has never – unjustly and unfairly so – respected Roger as either a bassist or a songwriter, his stance towards Roger was always strictly utilitarian. If he needed him (as to commercialize Rainbow’s sound), he needed him, if not … good-bye. He mocked songs Roger wrote (such as Speed King) as minimalist. He had a habit of growing impatient with Roger if the latter wasn’t fast enough in picking up what Ritchie played to him. Roger is on record for saying that his bass playing improved immeasurably during Steve Morse’s tenure because Steve would actually sit down with him patiently to show him parts bit by bit.

    Knowing Roger, he’d probably forgive Ritchie once again, but last I heard the latter has severed all contacts with him blaming him unjustly for the release of SOTW with an alternative solo (Blackers disliked) in connection with the Machine Head remix.

  10. 10
    Nick says:

    For me its still an album i like to play from start to finish every once in a while as i think its a true rock classic.

  11. 11
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Wiktor, in my humble view both Whitesnake‘s Ready An’ Willing/ Come An‘ Get It and Gillan‘s Glory Road/Double Trouble (studio album) bettered anything Rainbow did. Whitesnake had this enormous warm sound with a grooving rhythm section, Gillan was quirky and taking musical chances. Rainbow sounded neither warm nor quirky to me, it attempted grandiosity all the time, but achieving it was hit & miss.

    But if asked what I thought the most noteworthy Purple Family albums were in the winter years of Purple‘s non-existence, then my choices would be:

    Tommy Bolin – Private Eyes (for allround musicality)

    Jon Lord – Sarabande (ditto)

    Paice Ashton Lord – Malice in Wonderland (ditto + for making Paicey sound so great)

    Ian Gillan Band – Clear Air Turbulence + Scarabus (for making an unlikely combination work and creating something idiosyncratic in the process)

    Hughes Thrall (for making an extremely catchy AOR album that was never bland and had an edge)

    Black Sabbath – Born Again (again for combining the unlikely and making it work).

    No Rainbow there, but also no Whitesnake or Gillan, because all three were somehow lesser versions of Deep Purple to me, there was always something missing. I rather preferred it when ex-DP members went outside the box and left any comparison to Purple behind. Rainbow was for me Ritchie fortifying the box, it was deeply insular and conservative music.

  12. 12
    max says:

    @5 It is hard to compare Rising to anything Coverdale (or Gillan) did. But I think albums like Ready an’ Willing or Come an’ Get it did stand the test of time better than Rising did and sound way better. They stand next to albums from bands like Free or Bad Company and the songs – well some of them – have a timeless quality. And the musicians involved sure can keep up with the Rising line up.

  13. 13
    George in Ohio says:

    Uwe @9, your comment regarding Ritchie and Roger is indeed intriguing, and I pretty much agree with you. I think Ritchie has a “fault” that a lot of extremely musically gifted people have, and that is a lack of patience (and perhaps respect) with people who aren’t as gifted as they are. Roger, to my ears, is a terrific bassist (much, much underrated) who was perfect for Purple, and I will agree that his playing is noticeably better in later years after playing with Steve Morse. However, Roger, being a bassist, wasn’t particularly positioned to challenge/push Ritchie on stage. That was OK, since Roger’s other contributions (song writing, producing, and keeping everything tied down when all hell was braking loose on the Purple stage) are absolutely essential to DP. But I’m guessing that Ritchie never felt prodded by Roger to excel to a higher degree, and that’s more on Ritchie that Roger, IMO. Jon, on the other hand, could and did challenge Ritchie to play at a higher level all the time, and I’m guessing Ritchie respected Jon’s virtuosity to a degree he didn’t with Roger. Rather unfair, in my opinion, since Roger was/is so critical to Purple, but just my reading of the situation. And interestingly, based on my admittedly small sample size of Youtube videos of live DP concerts, the guitar/organ duels between Jon and Steve to me are far more satisfying musically than Jon/Ritchie’s forays. Maybe I haven’t seen the correct videos, but in the ones I’ve seen, you could sense a collaborative prodding to excellence with Jon and Steve, whereas Ritchie/Jon’s duets are a tad more confrontational. My two cents, anyway.

  14. 14
    MacGregor says:

    All I can say is that I have NEVER EVER compared any post Deep Purple band with DP. Not one of those bands were trying to be something like DP, none of them. Why would they? Were any of them, dare I use the saying ‘a poor mans Deep Purple’? It is bizarre for me to even contemplate such a notion. Each to their own I guess. Cheers.

  15. 15
    Uwe Hornung says:

    You’re right, George, Ritchie has said in interviews that he “hates to teach”, for the benefit of his kids I hope that has changed by now. That is quite a different stance to Steve Morse who heard Roger play some melodic lines while tuning up his bass in the studio, asked him to repeat it, added some chords to it and voilà …


    Roger is pivotal to DP’s sound though he probably doesn’t see it that way himself. He’s unobtrusive by nature, but that doesn’t mean he has nothing to say. He rhythmically, melodically and harmonically weaves through the music all the time, busy as a bee, yet with a very good ear to what is going on around him.

    But Ritchie had little appreciation for that, he qualified music and musicians in terms of drama and attention-grabbing-ability (that only changed over time with Blackmore’s Night really) – Roger is inherently drama-less, his bass playing is almost pastoral in the Purple landscape, he delivers a steady pulse that goes together well with Paicey’s swing, yet he’s NOT a mindless root note chugger, his bass playing is ornamental in a subdued manner.

    Blackmore OTOH was always looking for/dreaming about that star bassist with an attitude: the Jack Bruce, Andy Fraser, Glenn Hughes and John Glascock types, flashy lead bassists really (but God forbid should they be too jazzy!), yet with Rainbow he would have restricted them all to simplistic root note playing so as to not get in the way of the playing of the guitar deity. Whenever he was confronted with more virtuoso bassists such as Mark Clarke, Bob Daisley, Clive Chaman or that guy who played with Blackmore’s Night initially, Mick Cervino,

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLDpl2bIjbM&t=42s ,

    they sure didn’t last long.

    Truly ironic. Basically, he wanted someone who played bass like Ritchie plays bass, slightly edgy, powerful and pushy plus with the occasional lightning-fast run thrown in to baffle everyone. Thinking about it, I believe he would have loved someone like Billy Sheehan in Rainbow.

  16. 16
    Gregster says:


    Agreed, “Private Eyes” is a superb album, highly recommended.

    Also, Disc Japan recently e-mailed indicating a live release of the Ian Gillan era with Black Sabbath…


    Peace !

  17. 17
    Dr. Bob says:

    @4 – I agree with you. The only flaw for me with Rising is that it is too short. I feel the same way about the Allman Bros. debut album. So when I listen to them, I also have to listen to them twice.

  18. 18
    Georgivs says:

    @9 Utilitarian attitude maybe, but Ritchie realized how much he depended on Roger to get the work done. Maybe not so much during the first Mk II stint, but definitely in the Rainbow days and during the DP reunion years. Let’s not forget, that Roger co-wrote most of the stuff they released, came up with the bass lines and produced it, while Ritchie generally disliked being in the studio and would only show up there to write a riff or a melody, have a hasty take at recording it and leave. He knew his own weaknesses too well and so appreciated Roger.

  19. 19
    MacGregor says:

    @ 17- interesting Allman Brothers comment. I listened for the first time recently to some of the first two albums & especially the live album online with Duane in the band. I was pleasantly surprised at how improvised & ‘jazz’ & ‘progressive’ they were then. Whipping Post live is grand indeed. That changed significantly after Duane’s unfortunate passing in 1971. I cannot get into anything they did after that, not as interesting & too easy going & commercial sounding for my ears, too country I suppose, Ramblin Man etc. Cheers.

  20. 20
    Uwe Hornung says:

    The Allman Bros when in improvisational mode and DP always had something in common to my ears – unlikely as it might appear at first.

  21. 21
    Gregster says:

    @18…Very-well-said !

    @17,19 & 20…There’s common link that goes further imo about the bands mentioned, & you can stretch that out to include the “king” of them all, the Grateful Dead…

    The Dead’s studio releases are awesome time-capsules, but it’s the live material where I’m trying to make the glue-stick with the others mentioned. “Live Dead” from 1969 should be in everyone’s collection.

    That said, the success found by the Eagles possibly was the light-beacon that “The Allman Bros.” chose to follow after Duane’s death ( RIP ).

    A severely underrated gem from that era too, has to go to “Derek & the Dominoes” with Layla. Superb effort imo, & timeless in its style, that has plenty of hints of the others listed within its soundscape. “Bell-bottom-blues” anyone ?

    Peace !

  22. 22
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Gregster, Dickey Betts had a strong penchant for Bluegrass and C&W, once Duane was gone (and with Gregg Allman descending into the netherworld of addiction), his influence on the band became much more felt and heard. His Ramblin’ Man


    became a hit in the summer of 1973 (and was recorded in late 1972), by that time the Eagles had already caught some attention, yes, but were still a far cry away from their later mega-success or the status of, say, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young had in 1972/73.

  23. 23
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Unforgivable … Gregster and I made mention of that former Deep Purple opening act which Jon Lord loved so much without expressing our condolences for a recent passing:

    RIP Randy.


    I know, bassists with high voices are not universally popular here at the Highway Star, but – to cite another one – “what’s wrong with that, I’d like to know?!”


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