Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow: Rainbow

Rating: 90%

Rainbow_-_Ritchie_Blackmore's_Rainbow_(1975)_front_cover.jpgIn 1975, after Ritchie Blackmore left Deep Purple for a new project forming what would become Rainbow,  with the backing of the band Elf. The minute I heard this record way back then, I was a fan. I loved every aspect of this record from the vocals to the guitar. It’s no wonder why!

The musicianship is outstanding. You have ex-Elf band members front man Ronnie James Dio, drummer Gary Driscoll, bassist Craig Gruber, and keyboardist Micky Lee Soule. Then you have ex-guitarist of Deep Purple Ritchie Blackmore.

Musically, this album is very tasteful. The instrumentation is well balanced. Some areas of the record seem to be very complex, but that doesn’t take away from the outcome of the overall style or sound of the album. It’s pretty tight. You have some very strong vocal work. There is also a good bit guitar work on the riffs and solos.The songs are well written. This is a pretty solid debut. It’s a good blend of Heavy Metal mixed with elements of European Folk music.

Track listing:

1. “Man on the Silver Mountain” 4:42
2. “Self Portrait” 3:17
3. “Black Sheep of the Family” (Quatermass cover) 3:22
4. “Catch the Rainbow” 6:27
5. “Snake Charmer” 4:33
6. “Temple of the King” 4:45
7. “If You Don’t Like Rock ‘n’ Roll” 2:38
8. “Sixteenth Century Greensleeves” 3:31
9. “Still I’m Sad” (The Yardbirds cover)  3:51

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Some Of My Favorite Country Music Lead Guitarists

Country music guitarists don’t get the credit they often deserve. Reason why? Well, let’s just say you aren’t there to perform outlandish guitar solos like those lead guitarists do at a Rock or Heavy Metal concert. There are some several Country music great lead guitarists and this list here, are some of my favorite lead guitarists that have played in Country music over the last 50+ years.

14. Duane Denison: Duane is part of Hank 3’s Damn Band on tour. His guitar technique is more based on Punk Rock and other elements of Heavy Metal. What he offers up to Hank 3, is a heavy crisp sound during the live performances which incorporate Country, Metal, and Punk.

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Johnny Hiland

13. Johnny Hiland: Johnny is best known for his lead solos on Hank 3’s studio albums. Although, legally blind, his style of chicken picking brings a certain traditional sound to Hank 3’s overall sound.

12. LeRoy Powell: Best known as the lead guitarist with Shooter Jennings’s old band the 357’s, until they were fired by Shooter. I love his style that incorporates his influences of Eddie Van Halen, Neil Young, and Jerry Reed.

11. Vince Gill: Although, I am not a big fan, he does have my respect as being one of Country music’s best lead guitarists of all time. He has conducted a very successful solo career after leaving Pure Prairie League. He was also a member of the Cherry Bombs, a Country music super group.

10. Brad Paisley: I like Brad’s style of guitar picking. He was influenced by Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck for starters as well as other Country musicians such as Alabama.

9. Greg Martin: The lead guitarists of a band that calls themselves as Heavy Metal Bluegrass, the Kentucky Headhunters. Greg’s style of incorporating Blues with that big electric sound was far ahead of the time in Country music. He is a big influence on many younger pickers for sure. His work on “Electric Barnyard” is amazing.

8. Waylon Jennings: Waylon is on this list as he is one few Country music signers who actually did lead guitar. He has that certain style and sound incorporating Blues, Texas Swing, and Rock n’ Roll. He was also the guitarist for Buddy Holly’s band.

7. Merle Travis: Could easily been the best all time Country music guitarists. He incorporated so many musical styles that included ragtime, blues, boogie, jazz and Western swing. His style featured many rapid chord progressions, harmonics, slides and bends, and key changes. He played by a combination of finger picking and flatpicking.

6. Wayne “Animal” Turner: Wayne’s work with Hank Jr. and the Bama Band is impressive. He incorporates that southern sound into the style of Country music that he plays. His leads are among the best in Country music.

5. Carl Perkins: This guy may have created Rockabilly guitar that has influenced so many from Country music to Punk Rock. He incorporated Blues and Rock n’ Roll in order to mixed it with Country music that helped to jump start the Rockabilly craze.

4. Roy Clark: Another guitarist who helped to popularize Country and Bluegrass music. Many will recall him as being on the HeeHaw Show, but his guitar skills reach back into the 1960’s. I love the song “Roy’s Guitar Boogie.” He sure knew how to boogie and play the rag. It’s a shame that once a great guitarist, is now showing up on the top lists of guitarists that are forgotten.

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Jerry “The Guitar Man” Reed

3. Luther Perkins: He was the guitarist for Johnny Cash until his death in 1968. His guitar playing can be heard on the songs like “Walk The Line.” His style of Boogie music and Rockabilly has influenced many generations and genres of music.

2. Chet Akins: Chet has done much for Country music guitar. He knew how get around the fret board. He had a very distinctive picking style that influenced so many guitarists. Although, often credited with Country music, Chet played Folk, Jazz, Rock, Rockabilly, and Blues. He is also credited for saving Country music by inventing that Nashville Country music sound.

1. Jerry Reed: Discovered by Chet Akins, Jerry is one of few guitarists who created his own style of playing that is hard to reproduce. He knew the ins and outs of the guitar. His Claw style of finger picking and lead guitar makes him one of my favorite Country music guitarists.

The House of Blue Light: Deep Purple

Rating: 60%

220px-DeepPurpleTheHouseIn 1987, Deep Purple was back at it again. Well…I guess they were. I purchased this album here and once I put it on my record player, I was disappointed. One minute, I was thinking that I was listening to Deep Purple and the next it was like I was listening to Genesis.

Musically, it’s hard to describe. It’s Hard Rock, mixed with 1980’s Pop. It’s pretty bland in some spots. This album lacks that power and energy that Deep Purple usually has. The mixing just doesn’t seem to be all that good. This is nothing more than 1980’s music that has swallowed up a great Heavy Metal band. It happened to a lot of bands during the 1980’s. They just lost the heaviness and edge.

The musicianship also seems to be suffering. For one, Ian Gillan’s vocals are horrible. Ritchie Blackmore shows that he can still throw out some decent guitar riffs and leads, but there’s nothing really impressive or explosive. The rhythm section of keyboardist Jon Lord, bassist Roger Glover, and drummer Ian Paice just doesn’t have any backbone or might. This is not one of my favorite Deep Purple albums. 

Track listing:

1. “Bad Attitude” 4:32
2. “The Unwritten Law” 4:34
3. “Call of the Wild” 4:48
4. “Mad Dog” 4:29
5. “Black & White” 3:39
6. “Hard Lovin’ Woman” 3:25
7. “The Spanish Archer” 4:56
8. “Strangeways” 5:56
9. “Mitzi Dupree” 5:05
10. “Dead or Alive” 4:42