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Elf

Trying to Burn the Sun

Review by G. W. Hill
This new reissue is quite cool. Don't expect to hear the kind of stuff Dio did in his solo career. At times this resembles the stuff that Rainbow (which came about when Ritchie Blackmore recruited four of five members of Elf to form his new band) did just a bit. There are nods to Dio's 50s roots, though. He was in several 50s music bands from the mid 50s into the early 60s. This is mostly 70s rock and roll, though.
Track by Track Review
Black Swampy Water

Piano starts things off here. From there we get a cool rocking jam that's a lot of fun. Dio's vocals are unmistakable. This really does feel a lot like the sound that would later become the Rainbow trademark mixed with some Black Oak Arkansas.

Prentice Wood
This one lands very much in the 70s rock and roll groove sound. It's a killer tune with a lot of energy and cool. Mid-track we're taken into some psychedelia, at first mellower and then more rocking. That gives a return to the main song.
When She Smiles
Starting off mellower, the early parts of this aren't that far removed from the stuff Dio was doing in the 50s and early 60s. It gets into more of a 70s blues rock sound from there. This was a single, but I'm just not really enthralled with it.
Good Time Music
This is just what it says, "good time music." It's more of a 70s rocker informed by 50s music. It's cool, but not really a standout.
Liberty Road
More pure 70s rock is on the menu here. This is high energy and quite tasty stuff.
Shotgun Boogie
The boogie piano is not the only retro aspect of this piece. This is another that's very much tied to Dio's 50s roots. It's a high energy cut that's a lot of fun, though. The guitar soloing, though is more contemporary to the period in which this was released.
Wonderworld
Piano based sounds are the key to the early parts of this. It's a tasty balladic number. It grows out to more of a 70s rocking vibe from there. The strings add something to this, and the cut lands near to progressive rock in some ways.
Streetwalker
A mellow old school rocker at the start, this powers out after a bit into some great hard rock. This is another that in some ways calls to mind the sounds Dio would later do with Rainbow. There is a drop back to just percussion and voice on this thing. There's some seriously bluesy rock and roll later in the tune.

 

 
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