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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Rainbow

Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll

Review by Gary Hill

I remember this was the first disc I ever heard by Rainbow and it purely blew me away. I had listened to quite a bit of Deep Purple by that point in time, but didn’t really realize that Blackmore was one and the same and the bands were connected that way. To my recollection there wasn’t a weak track and I listened to this beast over and over again. Well, I have to say that time has been kind to the album and it still feels essentially flawless.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Long Live Rock N Roll
Drums lead things out, Dio says, "alright," and the guitar joins the fray. This is a killer hard rocking number. It's classic Dio and classic Blackmore. While the titular lyrics might be generic, for some reason it never feels trite or cliched. This is a great tune and an excellent introduction to the album. This is just so classy and classic.
Lady Of The Lake
The main riff on this is a rubbery piece of brilliance. Dio’s vocals are very characteristic of the type of stuff he would later do in his solo career. The chorus has an almost prog rock texture to it and Blackmore’s guitar solo has a snake charmer kind of element. All in all, another killer tune on an album that’s full of them.
L.A. Connection
With more of a straight ahead rock element to it – as in fairly mainstream – when you have these guys playing it, it can only be so basic. This is another strong cut – but there’s nothing weak here.
Gates Of Babylon
Keyboards with a mysterious, suitably Eastern tinged, sound lead this off. The band launch out into a killer Arabic textured jam. While everything on this disc is awesome, this one manages to stand even higher than the tracks that came before. It’s nearly prog rock at times and is just plain powerful. We even get some keyboard soloing here. There’s a powerhouse instrumental movement, too. A full on classical bit ends it. 
Kill The King
More like something from Deep Purple, this is just plain mean. It’s fast paced and powerful and has a smoking guitar solo of the type that really had a big hand in launching the whole technical epic metal genre. 
The Shed (Subtle)
A tasty guitar solo leads off here and then it powers out into another jam that has a lot in common with Blackmore’s earlier band.
Sensitive To Light
Although this doesn’t vary a lot from some of the other stuff here, it’s still a screamer and kicks some serious behind.
Rainbow Eyes
I normally wouldn’t recommend closing a disc with a ballad. This one is such a strong one, it manages to work. It’s got a definite old world style – much like a lot of the music Blackmore is doing these days with Blackmore’s Night. There’s a hint of Hendrix on this, too.
 
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