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Rainbow - 'Rising' (Deluxe Edition) http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/10/93/8c/1258_rainbowrisingdeluxeedition_1305656693.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     May 17, 2011    
 
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A half-hearted attempt at achieving the 'Deluxe' tag.

If you're any kind of lover of rock music then the album 'Rising' will need no introduction. Its status as CLASSIC cannot be denied and is totally justified. Since its release 35 years ago it has become one of the most influential, reverential and untouchable pieces of work amongst more contemporary musicians that it is possible to name. Despite containing only 6 songs, with a total running time of just over 33 minutes, it became a benchmark against which all future Rainbow releases were measured (unfairly in my opinion) and is regarded as the pinnacle, in terms of performance, for each of its 5 protagonists. I freely admit that back in 1976 the only LP I was interested in was 'Arrival' by Abba, my musical love affair with Ritchie Blackmore only starting a couple of years later with the 'Long Live Rock and Roll' album, but I wore out my original copy of Rising (I had both vinyl and tape copies so I could play it everywhere) and this is the third time I've purchased the album on CD. 

On ordering this set my excitement levels were really high, but after receiving what turned out to be a lacklustre 'Down To Earth' deluxe edition a couple of months ago, I have to confess that these levels dipped considerably without even hearing the end product. With only Ronnie James Dio remaining from the line-up that recorded what was essentially a Ritchie Blackmore solo album ('Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow'), including some leftover ideas from the Purple days, the contributions of the 'new' members would go some way, alongside a stronger writing ethic, towards creating something more akin to the temperamental guitarist's original vision. The songs have an epic and ambitious scope that would define the distinctive stylings of both Blackmore and Dio (especially) for many years to come. Blackmore's love of classical music combined with his infusible hard rock background is evident in some of the songs lengthier musical passages as well as the extensive use of strings and orchestrations. 

Dio's lyrical fantasies start to take form and his vocal prowess transforms unquestionably imaginative subject matter into something more believable. The enduring development of these wizards, rainbows & dragons themes would become synonymous with the Californian throughout the rest of his career. The addition of Cozy Powell on drums was something of a masterstroke. Already a seasoned recording veteran following stints with Jeff Beck and his own hit single in the form of 'Dance With The Devil', Powell's thunderous power provided a natural bedrock for the songs to take shape. 'Tarot Woman', 'Light In The Black' and 'Stargazer' are the album stand-outs but 'Run With The Wolf', 'Starstruck' (a song about Blackmore's stalker) and 'Do You Close Your Eyes' have an endearing quality that makes 'Rising' complete. Having said that I still believe these latter 3 tracks would have suited the previous record more. 'Stargazer' is one of the top hard rock tracks of all time but I believe that 'Tarot Woman' and 'Light In The Black', featuring Ritchie's jaw dropping guitar solo, both give it a good run for its money. They all impact on so many levels despite the fact that Blackmore and Dio generally take the performance honours and I can only imagine how they would have come across in a live environment.

This 'Deluxe' version is in essence 3 versions of 'Rising' in one package. There was no other material produced from the recording sessions and subsequently excluded so it seems a little light in terms of extras. With that in mind one has to question whether it's worth purchasing an album that has already been re-mastered and re-issued once before, in 1999. Disc 1 contains the original New York mix of 'Rising', which is the one eventually released and we are so familiar with. The differences in the L.A. mix will be mainly apparent to the anoraks out there as they are very slight. Dio's vocals seem a little (and I mean a little) more prominent and Jimmy Bain's bass is certainly pushed higher to give greater oomph to the bottom end. 

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Disc 2, on reflection, is decidedly throwaway. We have the rough mix of each track (Tony Carey's keyboard track contains the most noticeable difference during both 'Tarot Woman' and 'Stargazer' which now has an extra intro) as well as a rehearsal take of 'Stargazer' which sounds like a very poor bootleg. This may seem an interesting addition but after just one spin I'm disappointed to report a lack of any sort of enthusiasm and it's nothing I'll be rushing to play again. It's a missed opportunity to augment disc 2 with some live material, even if already released, or maybe interview snippets. The booklet is hardly informative and with both Powell and Dio sadly no longer with us, and no input at all from the 'man in black', we are left with a few historical anecdotes, courtesy of Tony Carey, to fill out the pages of basic notes. Reasons for the different mixes and the break-up of this (definitive??) line-up would have been insightful and with endless amounts of archived video footage constantly being discovered why is there no DVD content? It's the omission of seemingly small things like this that make it a half-hearted attempt at achieving the 'Deluxe' tag.

The Blackmore/Dio/Powell/Carey/Bain version of Rainbow would go on to be involved in the 'On Stage' release but that would be the line-up's swan song and soon after both Carey & Bain would be replaced for the 'Long Live Rock and Roll' record by David Stone and Bob Daisley respectively. For the next 7 or 8 years or so Blackmore would continue to utilise the Rainbow name with greater commercial success but for many this LP would be the bands defining moment. 'Rising' is a hard rock milestone and no mistake but what a missed opportunity. This release could have been so much better and in a few months I've a feeling you'll be able to pick this 2 disc set up for a fiver or so.

Dave Bott

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Comments (1)add comment

Shawn said:

...
Regardless of how long ago this was written, I find it very insightful and the exact review I was looking for between the 3 versions (la, ny, rough) thank you for your honest and concise opinion
 
May 29, 2017
Votes: +1

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