Archive for the ‘Rainbow’ Category

Rainbow over Russia

October 13, 2017

Although Blackmore has made it to Russia a few times with Blackmore’s Night, they’ve never had him in rock mode, so the announcement of two Rainbow shows over there in April 2018 should go down well. Thanks to Mark Maddock and Mike Richards for the info.

Rainbow Russia shows 2018

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Who’s a naughty boy?

June 21, 2016

Ritchie Blackmore Liverpool Empire

Being interested in architectural history and such I was interested to hear that English Heritage (or whatever they’ve been renamed this week) are involved in a work which looks at the architecture of Liverpool’s music venues. I was even more surprised when one of the researchers got in touch about my infamous 1977 shots of Blackmore up in one of the Royal Empire Theatre’s boxes, trashing his Strat against the ornate plasterwork, saying they would love to feature this in the book.
The thought of seeing Blackmore in a University text book really amused me, so I rescanned the prints (you can even see the fixer stains from the darkroom in the top right!) and sent them over. Rather than ask for a fee, I settled on a review copy of the book, so will let you know what it’s like.
I only had time to fire off a couple of frames (these days you’d stick the burst mode on and run until the battery went flat!) and there is shot on the DPAS archive site, but not sure I’ve posted this one before.  As a result of this stunt, Blackmore was banned from the venue and all others owned by the chain, a ban I’m not sure has ever been lifted.
Anyway, no such worries if he wants to get a bit carried away at the NEC, I think quite a few of us would give him a hand.

2CD vs 1CD

May 26, 2016

I wasn’t overly impressed by the recent version of the Rainbow Donington material – the audio was still incomplete and the video we’d been sold before. Even so I was surprised to learn that they’d hacked out TEN MINUTES of surviving material to get it onto a single CD for the European edition, but left it intact for the Japanese edition which is a 2CD set.  It’s quite depressing that labels are still taking the piss like this.  Anyhow, Tim Summers bided his time and splashed out on a Japanese import, so can clue us in on what we might expect when Universal decide to do an even more super remastered edition for us to cough up for next year….
The Difficult To Cure to Lost In Hollywood section lasts a good four minutes longer thanks mainly to Don Airey’s solo; Ritchie’s blues is over half a minute longer, Lazy gains a few seconds, but most crucially they’ve included the Kill the King instrumental and LLRnR reprise which is another five minutes plus. And for those who like to recall the opening of the show, the Pomp & Circumstance intro is there as well.
Rainbow Donington 1980 Japan CDPackaging wise the Japanese edition just repeats the lack-lustre European art and booklet, adding only the obligatory Japanese translation to this.I’m not sure if we mentioned this before but when I met Steve Wright, the writer of the Bonnet biography, a while back he says Graham recalls going to a screening of the full Donington show with others from the band and having a two disc vinyl acetate of the full show, a copy of which was given to all the band (Graham has lost his!).  The woman who used to manage him was quite close to sourcing the full footage a few years ago, but when she moved on the thread lapsed.  There is a well founded story which says the bass was not properly hooked up for the recording of the show and Roger had to add this later in the studio.

2016 and all that

January 6, 2016

Always a good start-back office chore is a careful sweep through the in-tray, which had crept up to 450+ emails over the winter break.  And it does help bring things into focus.
Of course the music scene has rightly been mourning the death of Lemmy, one of rock’s great characters apparently according to the TV.  I suppose that’s because most of the mainstream press didn’t really understand his music or playing ability.  I still get shivers down my spine recalling that first eponymous Motorhead 12″ single on Chiswick Records which I bought close to release date back in 1977.

Lemmy and Ian Gillan

Lemmy auditioning on nose jug for the Gillan band.

Somehow I never did get the see them live in those early days (and they did tour with Purple as recently as 2007), but had been a big Hawkwind fan and met Lemmy at one of those weird all night rock events at the Queens Hall in Leeds.  I’ve no idea how but we ended up being allowed into the hospitality room for the concert performers and Lemmy conned a nice button badge off my brother’s jacket. All he can recall was being sat by the side of the stage watching the show when a naked American woman came over and sat beside him. “Oh well, I’d best get on and wobble these around a little,” she explained after a while before we realised it was Stacia.
Funnily enough I was doing some vinyl sorting last week and checked my mint copy of their second album, signed by all the band… except Lemmy himself.  Mind you he was busy telling us how much grass he’d smoked during the day so perhaps it didn’t seem quite the moment to get all fanboyish!
Lemmy was always respectful of what he called Deep Purple’s place as the originators of hard rock (and one of the first to use pyrotechnics, at the California Jam).
Closer to home, we also lost our mate Martin Lilleker who has been suffering from Alzheimer’s for several years.  Martin was one of those irreplacable and unique cogs in the local community music scene; he wrote music columns for the local press for decades, ran a label for a time, helped manage and played live a bit too.  In recent years he also documented the scene magnificently across two thick paperbacks on the history of Sheffield bands going back to the early 60s.  I helped him with a few bits for these and when I bemoaned the poor design of the first book’s cover he let me have a free hand on book two and was brave enough to go ahead with an admittedly quite eye popping montage!  It’s guys like Martin which make living in Sheffield just that little bit more enjoyable and we’ll miss him.
Looking forward it’s amazing how much enjoyment people get looking back, if the flurry of excitement about a new audience tape of Deep Purple from back in Feb 1972 at the Dagenham Roundhouse is to go by. The owner had got in touch with us in the lead-up to Christmas but seemed unable to wait to see if this could be done officially and pushed it out into the pirate networks instead. Amazing that new recordings can still emerge after forty plus years. It seems churlish to point out (as one expert did) that the cover photo is from the night before…!

Dagenham Deep Purple 1972

Deep Purple, Spontaneous Combustion, Licensed Bar AND A CAR-PARK! We used to know how to have fun in the Seventies.

Talking of history, a few people have pointed me to a copy of Wait For The Ricochet currently selling on ebay. Or rather not selling, as the owner wants £1,001.86 for it.  Since I went to have a peep (just to see if it was for real) ebay now keep asking me if I’d like “to take another look?”!  I wouldn’t mind but the cheeky sod wants £2.75 postage as well…  I added it as a watched item just to get his hopes up.
Hopefully this year we’ll get it back into print, but the priority right now is in finishing the follow-up, Fire In The Sky. And tracking down the current owner of the E-Type Jag Jon drove down to Montreux in. It’s all in the detail!
With the fun and games over the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame still ongoing, it’s good to see friends and fans of the late Cozy Powell have been able to organise things with far less aggro, and are putting up a blue plaque in the town of his birth, Cirencester. It’s very short notice, but if you’re free on January 7th then there is a public unveiling at the Corn Hall at 2.30pm with Brian May doing the honours. People like Bernie Marsden, Don Airey and Neil Murray will be there. It looks as if the long-mooted documentary on Cozy is also now in the works. The man himself would have been 70 next year.

Cozy Powell

As for ‘works’ we’re fairly confident the major labels are now about sorted when it comes to the Deep Purple classic era catalogue. The bizarre Universal LP box set (below) looks a real dog’s dinner, but I’m told better things are on the way with the return to catalogue of most of the regular albums (incredibly many have been off the shelves for some years now).  There are also plans afoot with regards to other areas of the catalogue about which more as the year unfolds.  I have had meetings with some of the people involved and it looks quite promising.

Deep Purple vinyl box 2016

Switch off your G5, reissue of the year award 2016 is surely a given!

Some of you have also got the Rainbow gigs to look forward to.  I guess we can’t really call it a reunion when only one member is coming back, but for everyone who missed out it looks as if more shows will follow in 2017. A souped up version of the first album is also due, though as the mutli-tracks are still lost there isn’t too much scope for content.
The first pics of the new Rainbow came through recently, reminding me of that excitement back in 75 when shots of the first group emerged and were being posted about by people to reproduce in fanzines etc. I shall not be hurrying to repeat the experience this time round!

Rainbow new lineup 2016

Rainbow 2016, I recognise one of them…

As for Purple themselves it’s still good to listen to play bits and pieces off Now What so hopefully the band can again produce something of interest when they start recording in the next few weeks (will the first one into the studio hide Don’s ELP collection?).
I’ve got my plate full with design work to wrap up on three books this month, so I’d best fire up InDesign and get cracking. But before I do, here’s a few anniversaries coming up in 2016 to make everyone feel that little bit older!

10th anniversary of Rapture Of The Deep

20th anniversary of Purpendicular

25th anniversary of the Slaves & Masters world tour

30th anniversary of the Seventh Star album with Glenn Hughes

35th anniversary of Whitesnake’s Don’t Break My Heart Again hit single.

40th anniversary of Deep Purple Mk 4’s final concerts.

Deep Purple Liverpool 1976

Deep Purple making a racket at Liverpool in 1976 (courtesy Alan Perry)

45th anniversary of Fireball.

50th anniversary of Art Gallery by The Artwoods.

Simon Robinson. My thanks to factoid checkers and news editors Mike Richards, Martin Ashberry, Tim Summers, Vince Chong, Mark Maddock, Matthew Kean and Ian Gillan’s surprise dinner guest – Britney Spears.

Rainbow’s first at forty

August 21, 2015
A beaten up American original copy on sale this week at Laguna Records; $9.99

A beaten up American original copy on sale this week at Laguna Records; $9.99

Hard for some of us to believe, but the first Rainbow studio album – generally referred to as Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow – is forty years old this month.  It’s an album which perhaps gets overlooked in the light of the astonishing follow up, yet nevertheless had an important place in the history of Deep Purple and of course the guitarist himself.
At the time we were all quite (!) excited at the idea of a Blackmore solo album, a chance for him to stretch out and show off, to capitalise on the incredible playing he had exhibited during the 1974 Deep Purple tour.  Rock, blues, whatever – anything seemed possible.  This level of excitement, fuelled by the breathless studio updates in Sounds, perhaps made the disappointment more intense.  The first issue of what became the DTB fanzine carried a review from one of our contributors (a big Blackmore fan) which seemed to echo these feelings, and pointing out how often Blackmore fell back on the Smoke backing for his ideas! Even David Coverdale seemed thrown, having like the rest of us expected much more, and writing it off in a contemporary interview as sub-standard Deep Purple.

The album came out in Japan in October

The album came out in Japan in October

Polydor put plenty of work into the album; there was loads of press promotion, full page adverts, incredible shop window displays and in-store posters. And it sold fairly well, yet in many ways the album struggled to satisfy the differing demands placed on it.  Apart from those of us wanting a guitar showcase, the project evolved from a one-off single, to a solo album and then a new full-blown band project.  Along the way compromises were certainly made.  We got a couple of cover versions, one or two attempts at a commercial single, and then a mix of hard rock and laid back material which showed promise.  Even the production was skewed, with Blackmore subsumed for far too much of the time and by the time it was finished, having already decided the musicians mostly had to go (with the keyboards largely buried even before the album came out).  By then there was no time or budget to go back and rework it, the album had to sink or swim.
Personally I would have relegated Black Sheep Of The Family to a single only track, and downgraded If You Don’t Like Rock & Roll (which was too much like an Elf out-take really) to the status of b-side.  Still I’m Sad needed to be reworked as a massive instrumental set closer rather than the badly mixed version we get (which on the CD gives more importance to the effing cow-bell than the guitar). Even on stage this failed to properly develop into the mid-set showcase it deserved to be, and was largely thrown away amidst the end of set madness. Overall the LP could have done with one other guitar heavy piece to bulk the album out and knock us dead. Perhaps even the idea of bringing the introspective material together on one side; imagine Catch The Rainbow and Temple Of The King extended and linked to form one amazing sequence in the way they did Stargazer / Light on the second album?  Older fans noted nods towards Soldier of Fortune on the latter and Hendrix on the former, but despite that these tracks still managed to offer something new and promising.
The heavier tracks all seem to be shortened on purpose, trying to keep them more commercial, when there was no great need.  It was only ever going to be the  fans who rushed out and bought this album on release. Longer cuts with more guitar would have worked, and if singles were needed, just trim them down for 45s afterwards. As it was most of these numbers only began to fully demonstrate their potential once done live.

The inner gatefold featured a montage of older photos

The inner gatefold featured a montage of older photos

But despite the issues and compromises, there is still plenty to make Rainbow’s debut worth checking out and on the heavier side Man On The Silver Mountain, C16 Greensleeves, Snake Charmer and Self Portrait all have something about them, and it’s fascinating to listen to these now and remember what came next when Ritchie found his feet, and a band who could take it up a level (though for me there is no doubt Elf were up to it given the right circumstances – you only have to listen to their final album Trying To Burn The Sun to see that).  Curiously the sleeve seemed to sum up the project; a great idea but poorly executed.  Imagine that design done by Frank Frazetta?
Collectors – should look for the original UK Oyster label edition, a great pressing, and only available for a couple of years.  Pension fund managers – should seek out the ultra rare Purple Records edition from New Zealand.  Those who have gone digital – well, I personally prefer the older CD issue.  The remaster from a few years ago is very clipped and too loud, but it’s about all there is, the album never made it to the Universal deluxe series. There is no doubt that the album has long been in need of a really sympathetic remix now that it no longer needs to fit the moment, though whether anyone even knows where the masters are these days seems uncertain (never mind would the man himself allow such work.)