Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow : 1975- Album Review

Hi, Phil Aston here from the Now Spinning group on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and nowspinning.co.uk.

Facebook Group Member Gary asked me a long time ago whether I would give my thoughts on how I felt in 1975 when Blackmore released Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow after leaving Deep Purple, and the new Deep Purple album Come Taste the Band came out with Tommy Bolin at the end of that year, and what my thoughts were.

To be honest, I’ve tried to do this video before and because I’m so deeply involved in how I feel about the music from that period, it didn’t work. So what I’m going to do is split it into two so it doesn’t go on forever.

This first segment is about Ritchie Blackmore rainbow released in July, 1975. I remember this very well.

In May, 1975 Deep Purple released 24 Carat Purple. It was the end of an era, Blackmore had left, there was one unknown track on that, Black Night (live). Can you remember the days when some tracks were unavailable because of no internet and unless you bought it you couldn’t hear it.

It was exciting when the promo poster started to appear in shop windows, even in newsagents and not just record shops.

I went to Birmingham city centre with my mom and dad, I was 16 years of age, and there was a giant poster with Blackmore in this great guitar pose and it just looked absolutely incredible. The ultimate guitar hero for me, dressed all in black, looking mysterious, his hands aren’t even on the guitar but he’s striking this shape of the ultimate guitar hero and it just said Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow coming soon. And I was enthralled by it.

So in July I left school, I hadn’t started work yet. The album was £3.25 which in 1975 was a lot of money. When I started work, my first wage packet was I think £14, so it was almost a third of my wages. And then I had to give mom and dad like a fiver. So it was like all my money gone.

One of my close friends said, “Oh, apparently it’s supposed to be a mix between Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple,” I wouldn’t go that far. And in a way I was a bit disappointed as well because it wasn’t all-out riffage as I thought it might be, but I’d heard two tracks, Man on the Silver Mountain which got played on the John Peel show on a Saturday afternoon after Alan Freeman where Blackmore was interviewed and they also played Sixteenth Century Greensleeves.

These were two of the best tracks really. But I still played it over and over again and it was Still I’m Sad which showed the most promise, this track, which was from the Yardbirds, but used the same riff that Blackmore had been developing in You Fool No One on the last Deep Purple tour and his guitar playing was absolutely superb.

So this really grew into a fantastic album for me. It formed the soundtrack to the summer of ‘1975 with Physical Graffiti by Led Zeppelin, Straight Shooter by Bad Company, those were the three that I kind of played in quick succession really. When I came home from work this is what put on straight away.

Man on the Silver Mountain is a great riff, it sets the tone for the album. You know where you are when this starts, four minutes, 38 seconds of fantastic Blackmore.

Self Portrait’s more reflective but has a great guitar solo. Black Sheep of the Family was a cover version by Quatermass, an unusual track, but apparently one of the reasons why he left Purple, which I find hard to believe. Catch the Rainbow six minutes, 40 seconds of a track that owes a lot to Hendrix’ Little Wing, but it’s a great track and it would go on to be almost like 20 minutes long and longer when Rainbow hit the stage.

Snake Charmer is another hard-hitting rock song with Dio apparently singing about Blackmore himself, although at this stage I presume they were getting on rather well!

Temple of the King features Ritchie Blackmore playing acoustic guitar and is a wonderful ballad, which he did resurrect in the 90s and did some great soloing over that.

If You Don’t Like Rock ‘n’ Roll is the lowest point of the album, two minutes, 36 seconds of a track that really doesn’t belong and it’s the only one that features a standalone keyboard solo, which is more like kind of barroom piano.

Sixteenth Century Greensleeves, three minutes, 35 seconds, is a track that also became a staple of the live shows. And then Still I’m Sad, four minutes of guitar excellence.

It came out under Deep Purple overseas in the credits, only lyrics to one track, a wonderful laminated sleeve, all the live pictures are from Deep Purple’s last tour with Blackmore.

This album basically sowed the seeds for what was going to come next and what came next was Rainbow Rising.

Thank you for watching. See you soon.

Phil Aston | Now Spinning

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