Ritchie Blackmore‘s Rainbow is the first studio album by British rock band Rainbow, released in 1975. The musicians involved include guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, singer and lyricist Ronnie James Dio, drummer Gary Driscoll, keyboardist Mickey Lee Soule, and bassist Craig Gruber. It was originally planned to be a solo album but later progressed as a band project.
The album cover is a narrow, winding path leading up to a castle built upon a Stratocaster with a rainbow in the background, referencing the band name.
The album kicks off with “Man On the Silver Mountain” one of Rainbows most well-known tracks which consists of a very heavy Blackmore riff and a great guitar solo. This track does a great job of introducing vocalist Ronnie James Dio’s capabilities. Following this is “Self Portrait” a percussion heavy piece. Though not as great as the former track ,this is still a decent song which keeps them album moving. The third song is a cover of British band Quatermass’ song titled “Black Sheep of the Family”. A song that Blackmore had prior tried to perform with Deep Purple which went by unsuccessfully. This song is quite terrible due to the lyrics and ruins the flow of the album. Following this is an atmospheric ballad titled “Catch the Rainbow” which contains some of the Best studio playing by Richie Blackmore and great lyrics by Dio. This song bears resemblance to Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing”. “Snake Charmer” is another guitar heavy song similar to “Man on the Silver Mountain”. This song is mostly a good show case of the vocal ability Ronnie James Dio. Next stop is “Temple of the King” which is similar to what Blackmore would later do with his “baroque” band Blackmore’s Night. This is a good track and has a Renaissance feel to it. “If You Don’t Live Rock n’ Roll” is a tune that would’ve been better off not on this album. The lyrics are very cheap and this feels throwaway. Next up is “Sixteenth Century Greensleeves” which is an introduction to the fantasy/medieval lyrics of Ronnie James Dio. This is an overall good song and fits well with theme of the album. Finishing off the album is a cover of the Yardbirds “Still I’m Sad” which is a good show case of the dynamic between Blackmore and drummer Driscoll. A great and experimental instrumental track.
1. “Man on the Silver Mountain” 4:42
2. “Self Portrait” 3:17
3. Black Sheep of the Family” 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 Green Sleeves” 3:31
9. “Still I’m Sad” 3:51
Genres: Hard Rock, Power Metal, Baroque Rock
Ronnie James Dio – lead vocals
Ritchie Blackmore – guitar
Mickey Lee Soule – piano, mellotron, clavinet, organ
Craig Gruber – bass
Gary Driscoll – drums
Rune Time: 36:54