Archive for the ‘Ronnie James Dio’ Category

Butterfly Ball

March 19, 2018

Another CD edition of Roger Glover’s Butterfly Ball is due, a 3CD set no less. Depending on how you catalogue them this is about the sixth or seventh. It has the original album, demos (which were on an earlier release but there may be some new ones), and the US radio interview, which came out on Connoisseur years in 1999 (the 25th Anniversary Collectors Edition Digitally Remastered Enhanced CD as the label insisted the cover say!). Disc 3 on this new one? Sadly not the live audio of the show, but a facsimile CD of the old EP. Still if you don’t have the album then it saves a hunt, and while the overall concept seems a bit strange these days there are some good tracks on there, and Ronnie Dio was outstanding. Thanks to Tom Dixon and others.

Butterfly Ball Connoisseur.jpg

 

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Eddie Hardin

July 27, 2015

Eddie HardinKeyboard player and singer Eddie Hardin has died suddenly at the age of just 66.  Eddie’s connections with the Deep Purple scene spanned some 45 years, and he worked with members of the group directly across much of that time.  After a spell as a teenager replacing Steve Winwood in the Spencer Davis Group with Ray Fenwick (not an easy task) they did some interesting if often overlooked work in the late Sixties for Vertigo. After a couple of album, Eddie went off to form what seems an unlikely drum / keyboard duo, Hardin – York, with drummer Pete York in 1969. They became one of the most successful bands in Germany during the early 1970s and also supported Deep Purple on a couple of tours (check out the poster for a big 1970 German festival below), both joining Jon Lord and Ian Paice at occasional jam nights in London (while Pete joined forces with Ian on drum duels at some live Hardin – York shows).
Eddie got bored repeating himself musically, and despite playing stadiums in Europe, back in the UK Hardin – York couldn’t get arrested. So after a couple of years he went off to do his own thing and Roger Glover worked with Eddie on a couple of his post-Hardin – York solo albums and the pair were heavily involved in the original Wizard’s Convention studio project in 1976, along with Jon, David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes. Eddie became a big contributor to Roger’s Butterfly Ball project too, co-writing Love Is All and performing on the album (mainly keyboards but also vocals on one track), then playing keyboards at the one-off Albert Hall concert where I first saw him live.
It was a nice touch to see Eddie invited to be part of the fabulous Deep Purple Concerto evenings at the Royal Albert Hall in 1999 when he and Roger did Love Is All, along with Ronnie Dio and Mickey Lee Soule.

Deep Purple Peace Pop World poster March 1970
I got to know Eddie in the early Nineties when our label RPM worked closely with him on the first in-depth reissues of some of his back-catalogue including the Hardin York material, the Spencer Davis Group albums and other odds and ends which he kept turning up, amazed that anyone was interested really!  Indeed to a certain extent that seemed to be how he viewed his career at times, happy to have the success when it came but with an easy come easy go approach to the music business in general.  A typical example was a pile of postcards showing a palatial stately house which I spotted on one visit, and wondered why he had them.  It turned out he’d bought the place with some unexpectedly large royalty cheques in the 70s, then had the cards made to send to friends. All too quickly he realised that he couldn’t afford to run or staff the place, and it had to go! Eddie did have his autobiography ALAB published a few years ago, and the house features on the front.
Apart from the stuff you probably know about (and people of a certain age mustn’t forget the theme tune to Magpie which Eddie co-wrote), do check out the early Hardin – York material, especially if you enjoy strong and inventive Hammond playing.  It was a time when rock music experimented in all sorts of ways and Eddie was in the thick of it.  And why on earth Catch You On The Rebop (on which Eddie again shares a writing credit) wasn’t a massive hit for Spencer Davis in 1973 must remain one of life’s great mysteries.

Record Store Day 2012

April 20, 2012

long live rock n roll rainbow picture disc

Record Store Day seems to have come round again super quick. But here’s one release which I’d missed, a rather snazzy 12″ picture disc album version of Long Live Rock n Roll. Picture discs eh? It’s like 1978 all over again! I’m pretty sure this is the first ever pic disc album from the band’s catalogue, though there were a couple of singles back in the day and a clear vinyl edition of Down To Earth. It’s been produced under license by Niji, Ronnie Dio’s label. From what I can gather there are 2,500 being pressed but it does seem more of a US Record Store Day item so not sure if any will reach Europe. I spoke to the label’s UK distributor and while it was showing on their system, they were unable to get any stock. Record Store Day is April 21, so probably too late to book a flight over and queue up. We’ve already mentioned EMI’s contribution in the shape of a 7″ version of Smoke On The Water. But as the miseries couldn’t even be bothered to send me a snap of the sleeve to show this year I’ll be trying my luck up at Record Collector’s shop in Broomhill on Saturday. Gets me out of painting the bathroom door frame…!

Record Day 2011

Dio Photo Book

August 27, 2010

ronnie dio new photo bookHere’s a pre-production image of a new photo book devoted to Ronnie James Dio. The book has been approved by Wendy and each sale will generate a donation to the charity Stand Up And Shout. The book concentrates on the Dio era via the archives of one photographer and will sell for around £40(though there may be a special edition in a case). The cover photo is great and if the rest of the content is as good it will be a great reminder of the man.

Publication is due during late December 2010 and is available from the publisher and through DTB Mailorder (you can place a pre-order now). We have been promised our stock any day.

Rainbow in colour

May 24, 2010

We’ve often supplied images for the Swedish magazine Red Hot Rocks as their editor Ritchie Adams is a big DP fan. He’s working on a special tribute to Ronnie Dio at the moment, so we’ve helped him out with a couple of original Elf promotional pictures from their time on Purple Records (he gets the pics gratis, we get a free advert for the mail-order store). But I also found this lovely colour shot of Rainbow, taken at the Hammersmith Odeon back in September 1976, with Ronnie and Ritchie both circled by the spotlights, and Cozy straddling the drum riser (Jimmy Bain is lurking in the shadows – though you can see him reflected in the silver metal).

I seem to recall smuggling in a 135mm telephoto lens – the aperture was not so good for concert pictures, but with a fast film you could often get something reasonable. We had seats in different places for each of the shows. What I’d forgotten was just how well lit and colourful their stage was, even before you became hypnotised by the rainbow above (not seen on this shot). I’ll have a rummage through the slides and see what else is lurking there for Issue 60 of DTB.

It seems as if the current Deep Purple did a short instrumental snatch of Man On The Silver Mountain by way of remembering Ronnie, during the show in Seoul just before Smoke On The Water.

Ronald Padavona

May 17, 2010

Seriously ill as he was for the last few months of his life, Ronnie Dio’s death (early on the morning of May 16th 2010) wasn’t quite the shock it might otherwise have been. Yet the sadness is not diminished, nor the feeling that part of our musical upbringing has departed with him. Thinking back to the mid-70s, the recollection of my first exposure to the Dio fronted epics that comprised side two of Rainbow Rising, whilst we listened on a transistor radio in a cramped student bedsit one Saturday afternoon, is still very powerful. The feeling that at last, following a slightly faltering first album, Blackmore had crafted his vision of a new rock music struck me then. And what made it work so very well was in no small measure thanks to Dio’s grasp of what was needed to spark the tracks into becoming something much more than your average hard rock album.

There will be plenty of potted biographies rehashed out there on an occasion like this, and it’s perhaps a shame in some ways that Ronnie’s work will be recognised and respected within the insular world of heavy metal, when he demonstrated a number of times an ability to outperform many of his contemporaries in a number of vocal styles.

I first glimpsed Ronnie Dio live back in 1974, though confess that getting to see Elf was largely forgotten in the excitement of Deep Purple’s return to the UK (which with hindsight was a shame, as some of these Elf recordings are well worth revisiting). So it was not until Rainbow reached these shores in 1976 that we got to understand exactly what had so excited Blackmore about Dio’s voice that he felt confident enough to walk from Deep Purple and throw his lot in with this diminutive and relatively unknown American singer. For no matter what Blackmore threw at him, Ronnie could deliver it back and then some. We always put his massive voice down to those early years playing trumpet, which gave him such sustain.

Ronnie’s tenure within the band lasted what seems now such a short period, yet that first touring line-up clearly laid the groundwork for everything that followed. Whenever a Robinson and a Galway chat, talk always gets round eventually to the merits of the band in 76/77 and a puzzlement over why it all went off at a tangent. Cozy Powell was later to call it quits, and though never one for dwelling too much on the past, he later often seemed to imply a huge frustration with Blackmore for throwing away the possibilities that the Blackmore / Powell / Dio axis had as he saw it offered.

As for Dio, he just got on with it. Having more or less defined the fantasy rock lyric (which he’d been trying out even on the later Elf recordings) he put his own outfit together and carried right on.

My own rock listening never really extended much beyond a narrow circle of bands and musicians, but if the band Dio didn’t work for me very often, that was my loss – for they certainly carved out a strong following if (like a lot of rock groups, including Rainbow in the early days) rarely making much of an impact on the wider public consciousness.

We met Ronnie a few times during the Rainbow days, and he was unfailingly courteous every time – signing material (including a rare Elf poster I’d got on that 74 tour), showing off an amazing embroidered waistcoat, chatting, and always interested in hearing what people had to say.

Our last exposure to the man live was during the Albert Hall shows in 1999 when Ronnie was invited along as a special guest to sing Sitting In A Dream, in part by way of an apology from Roger Glover for not being able to have Ronnie do the song in the very same building over twenty years before (for the Butterfly Ball show – the album version is without doubt one of my very favourite Dio recordings). Ronnie got a rousing and touching reception from the crowd, Gillan seemed to thoroughly enjoy working with him and it was a treat to have him there.

More recently Dio’s career certainly seemed to go up a notch with the band Heaven & Hell, and the DVD of the band’s early live shows demonstrated that vocally he still had enormous power and ability. 

We’ll all have our particular moments from past tours to remember and cherish; some with Rainbow, others from his days with Sabbath or Dio. For me I think it will be the memories of Ronnie and Ritchie smiling and laughing together as each tried to gainsay the other on the vocal / guitar responses they threw in to songs like Catch The Rainbow which will stay with me the longest. And not forgetting that sheer moment of rock magic on the band’s second album when he steams in with the “I see a rainbow rising” line – this still sends tingles down my spine whenever I play it (and even, as I write this, just thinking about it).

UPDATE – there’s a Ronnie Dio special tribute in the current issue of Kerrang (last week of May 2010).

UPDATE 2 – There is a lengthy interview with Ronnie Dio in a new book called ROCK ‘N’ ROLL MERCENARIES – INTERVIEWS WITH ROCK STARS: VOLUME I, covering his solo career and Heaven & Hell. You can get more details at the author’s sitewww.neildaniels.com

UPDATE 3 – Michael Eriksson has scanned the Ronnie Dio Classic Rock cover issue, which has some great photographs and writing about Ronnie in (June 2010).

classic rock Dio issue