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RAINBOW “DOWN TO EARTH” – 1979 ALBUM REVISITED

Posted in 1970's classic rock albums, 1970's classic rock bands, 1970's classic rock songs, 1970's classic rock vocalists, 1970's hard rock bands, 1970's classic rock music, 1970's hard rock, 1970's heavy metal, 1970's rock music, 1980's hard rock bands, 1980's heavy metal bands, Album Review, classic hard rock bands, classic hard rock music, classic rock bands, classic rock cover songs, classic rock music, classic rock music 1979, classic rock songs, cool album covers, guitar legends, hard rock music, heavy metal bands, heavy metal history, heavy metal music, heavy metal on vinyl, metal odyssey, Music, old school hard rock, old school heavy metal, rock guitarists, rock music, vintage hard rock albums with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 8, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

Here is a Rainbow album that I can never get enough of. Down To Earth, released on July 28, 1979. This Rainbow lineup is nothing short of legendary, unreal musicians they were together. I actually saved this vinyl copy of Down To Earth since the mid 1980’s, never having the thought of letting it go. Graham Bonnet on vocals is tops… for me. This album just illuminates Hard Rock meets Heavy Metal legitimacy, in my Metal opinion. To this day, I will crank up, (extremely loud), the two songs: All Night Long and Since You Been Gone. I endorse the other six songs on this album as well… songs like these are what makes a complete and memorable album. I often times, find it hard to believe that Down To Earth was released back in 1979, saying these songs are dated will never cross my Metal mind.

I have always embraced each lead singer that fronted Rainbow over the years. Each new lead vocalist lent a different sound and feel, while the hardness of Rainbow never seemed to wane for me. Ronnie James Dio, Graham Bonnet, Joe Lynn Turner and Doogie White made each respective Rainbow lineup unique. Sure, you can say that there have been four different Rainbow bands… the more Rainbow music that was made, the better, in my Metal opinion! I could never embrace the gossip or rumors that surrounded each Rainbow lineup, all I ever cared about were the albums that were created. Down To Earth seems to be an album that gets skipped over, when discussions/articles of great Hard Rock releases of the ’70’s are brought forth. Maybe my blabbing about this Rainbow Down To Earth album will inspire someone to give it a listen again or for the first time, it is extremely well worth it.

Listening to this Rainbow album puts me in a darn good mood. Heck, any Rainbow album puts me in a good mood and sets me straight. I wish that Ritchie Blackmore kept the Rainbow brand moving forward. Regardless, I’ll embrace and enjoy the Rainbow albums that did become reality… especially Down To Earth.

The Rainbow lineup for Down To Earth… and what a lineup:

Ritchie Blackmore – guitar

Graham Bonnet – lead vocalist

Roger Glover – bass guitarist

Cozy Powell – drums

Don Airey – keyboards

The track list for Down To Earth… these are songs, no fillers:

All Night Long

Eyes of the World

No Time to Lose

Makin’ Love

Since You Been Gone

Love’s No Friend

Danger Zone

Lost in Hollywood

* Since You Been Gone was written and recorded by Russ Ballard, originally appearing on his 1976 album Winning. Russ Ballard wrote one pretty cool song, in my Metal opinion.


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Michael Schenker Group – “Never Trust A Stranger” A Rock Ballad From 1981 I Revere

Posted in 1980's classic rock bands, 1980's classic rock guitarists, 1980's classic rock vocalists, 1980's hard rock albums, 1980's rock albums, 1980's rock music, 1980's rock musicians, 1980's hard rock bands, 1980's hard rock songs, 1980's heavy metal bands, Album Review, classic hard rock ballads, classic hard rock music, classic heavy metal, classic rock albums, classic rock music, classic rock songs, cool album covers, essential classic rock albums, essential hard rock albums, feel good stories, guitar legends, hard rock music, hard rock vocalists, heavy metal guitarists, heavy metal music, heavy metal on vinyl, melodic hard rock songs, metal odyssey, Music, old school hard rock, old school heavy metal, rock & roll, rock album review, rock and roll, rock guitarists, rock music, rock vocalists, vintage hard rock albums, vintage hard rock bands, vintage rock albums with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

MetalOdysseyI can remember the moment like it was yesterday. The moment in time of buying my first Michael Schenker Group album, at Caldor department store, back in 1982. It was the second studio album from Michael Schenker Group, it is often referred to as MSG ll, yet no where on my original album that I bought does it have the marking of “ll” on it. I guess the mystery of “ll” shall stay in my Metal mystery files for now. You can see, as proof, on the image below this post, that the front cover does not have “ll” on it. This image depicts the original album cover, the copy that I still own to this day. I have kept this Michael Schenker Group album in pristine condition for 28 years, this is an album that I extremely admire and highly recommend. The eight songs on this album are best described as Hard Rock, I find it difficult to label this album as straight forward Heavy Metal. There is one exception, Attack of the Mad Axeman is the one song from this album that I would label as an early 1980’s Heavy Metal song, in my Metal opinion.

Over the years, I acquired a cassette tape version of this album too, never upgrading to CD. Don’t ask why, I just never came up with the necessary loot to upgrade everything I ever owned on album and/or cassette, on a consistent basis. Factor in that I have to stay current and buy new CD’s of my favorite bands and deep pockets I do not have! Over this past Halloween weekend I was perusing the archive of songs that can be purchased on itunes and one Michael Schenker Group song caught my eye… Never Trust A Stranger. I bought this amazing Rock ballad from this second Michael Schenker Group album, without a micro second of hesitation. Goodbye 99 cents… hello MSG Rock Ballad I have revered for the better part of my entire Metal life.

You may ask: dude, why didn’t you just throw danger to the Metal wind and buy the entire Michael Schenker Group album from itunes if you don’t have it on CD? The answer is simple… I am holding out to buy this CD at retail or used, (eventually), due to my being old school and wanting the darn liner notes. (I can be a stubborn old Metalhead). Owning a digital copy of Never Trust A Stranger was a necessity that I needed to make good on for myself – finally. I always blab that I am not the biggest ballad fan the world has ever known, this will always hold true. However, there are those ballads, that just carry me off into those la la land moments of self gratifying, mental journeys of glee. On Never Trust A Stranger, the vocal harmony of Gary Barden is incredible stuff for me, with Michael Schenker playing some of the most emotionally inspired guitar licks you could ever imagine. The lyrics of this song are semi-sappy, still in 2009 they do that resonating thing to my mind and I have been a sucker for this song, since being a sophomore in high school in 1982. Gee Metal whiz.

Steven Stills lends his backing vocals on Never Trust A Stranger. Yes, that Steven Stills… from Crosby, Stills and Nash, (and sometimes Young). Once again, don’t ask: dude, how did Michael Schenker get Steven Stills to do backing vocals on Never Trust A Stranger? Hey, I simply do not have the answer. (I think years ago I did know the answer… yet it got erased from all the Thrash and Death Metal stuff I have listened to for decades). If anyone does have any info in regards to Steven Stills being on this song, feel free to comment about it please. So, in a Metal nutshell, Never Trust A Stranger is my second most favorite (Rock) ballad ever. I posted in the past that Home Sweet Home by Motley Crue is my favorite Heavy Metal ballad ever, I can’t go back on my word on that one.

Well, here is the original album cover of Michael Schenker Group, (notice there is NO “ll” anywhere on the cover). I was so enthralled by the guitar play of Michael Schenker and everything else about this album back in high school in 1982, that I made a silk screen copy of the album cover. Metalheads galore had mini posters and t-shirts with MSG and his flying V guitar on it, courtesy of me and my graphic arts class. I recruited lots of MSG fans back then, hopefully this blabbing will recruit more today.

Michael Schenker Group 2nd album - large pic

Rainbow “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll” long lives indeed!

Posted in 1970's hard rock, 1970's heavy metal, 1970's Rock, Album Review, classic rock, cool album covers, dio, essential hard rock albums, essential heavy metal albums, Hard Rock, hard rock album review, hard rock guitarists, hard rock songs, Heavy Metal, heavy metal album review, heavy metal albums, heavy metal guitarists, heavy metal music, Heavy Metal Reviews, heavy metal vocalists, Metal, metal music, Metal Reviews, Music, rainbow heavy metal band, Rock, rock music, rock music vocals, ronnie james dio, vintage rock albums with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2009 by Metal Odyssey

There never seems to be a day that goes by, where I do not peruse my Heavy Metal collection of albums and/or CD’s. One album in my collection, that recently caught my attention and reminded me of genuine Heavy Metal greatness is Rainbow “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll”. When I first bought this album, I did so when Ronnie James Dio was the lead vocalist for Black Sabbath, sometime between 1980 and 1982. I needed to, at that time, catch up and become familiar with any or all of Ronnie James Dio’s music and bands. This album, without any doubt in my Metal mind, is a keeper for life.

Released in 1978, this album upon my first complete listen, had me in awe. It still has that same affect on me, more than 25 years later. It just seems that the true elite of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal will shine on forever, keeping the flame of Heavy Music burning for decades on end. That is exactly what “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll does for me, it keeps it’s Heavy Rock sheen glistening, no matter how many times I listen to it. It is my opinion that this album deserves to be in any all time great lists. The two songs “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll” and “L.A. Connection” alone are reason enough to add this album to your collection of Heavy Music. These two tunes pound away at a pace that is classic 1970’s Heavy Metal, yet the unmistakable sound is vintage Rainbow. Here is an album, that boasts strong and heavy music for it’s time, with intelligent lyrics and arguably one of the premiere lead guitarists and lead vocalists in all of Heavy Rock, back in 1978.

Fast forward to Ronnie James Dio joining forces with Black Sabbath, then decades later Heaven & Hell, we are all living in the present with the unstoppable Metal tandem of Tony Iommi and Dio. What is such a thrill to revisit, each time I listen to this album, is there was at one time, an incredible Heavy Metal duo of Ritchie Blackmore and Dio. Listening to Dio sing at this pertinent stage of his career, is hearing an emboldened vocalist, rich with sincere emotion and hunger that elevates the totality of this albums music. Ritchie Blackmore on guitar gives the songs on “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll” their creative and at times medieval signature sound. “Gates of Babylon” is a fine example on this album, of what I mean, in mentioning a medieval guitar sound. What words can I truly use to compliment the guitar playing and skill of the legendary Ritchie Blackmore on this album? Let’s leave it that Ritchie Blackmore is guitar elite. The pair of Dio and Blackmore together in Rainbow may have been short lived, however, just as the title of this album states “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll” – this album without question long lives.

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