English Castle Magic
by Martin Popoff

Roy Davies did already some time ago a review of this book. And a fine review it was (see below), but it didn't gave too much away although it made the book sound as very promising and exciting. Martin Popoff was so kind to send me also a review copy.

I also won't give away too much but there is indeed very much good stuff in this book! Is it worth to buy? YES! It definitely is!! The book takes the Rainbow history in an album by album, song by song form. Every song has it's own story and many ex-Rainbow members let there light shine over them and give away many not known stories behind the songs. And there's more, Martin has done several interviews with many of the Rainbow musicians and they speak very frank about many subjects. How did they think about fellow members of the band? How did they think about The Man in Black? What is Ritchie's opinion about certain members? What were Ritchie's best pranks? You can all read it in this book!!

Sayings like "they called me the gunslinger" or Ritchie about a certain member "he's such a happy-go-lucky guy, he used to pick his nose a lot". Do you know about who they are talkin'? Members who tell they did drugs and even that it was the reason they had to leave the band. Members about each other. Members who were fired and returned back to the band. Here you read confessions you never heard before.

It's all about Rainbow, hardly anything else except for why Ritchie agreed to let Ian Gillan come back in Deep Purple in 1993. Very, very interesting.

I only can say; if you're a Rainbow fan, just go and buy this book. You won't be disappointed. It contains so many new facts. Just unbelievable! Apart from the pic on the frontcover (by Jørgen Angel), there are no photos in this book. Martin has interviewed Ronnie James Dio, Joe Lynn Turner, Graham Bonnet, Roger Glover, Tony Carey, Bobby Rondinelli, Bob Daisley, Jimmy Bain, Doogie White, and of course Ritchie himself (as the backcover of the book says).

Rating: ***** (5 out of 5)

Rainbow Fanclan Webmaster

You can order this book directly from Martin Popoff or Metal Blade

English Castle Magic

Here's a Purple-related one on a slighty different tack that concentrates on the life and times of Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. Based largely around some seventy of the author's often extensive interviews with the myriad members of the band, the emphasis of the tome is slanted toward the genesis and gestation of the various tracks that made up each one of Rainbow's albums, from the debut of 1975 to the 'Stranger in Us All' era of the mid nineties.

The account assumes some knowledge of Blackmore's prior career (as his time in Purple is barely touched on) but then the book is very firmly targeted at those with more than a passing knowledge of The Man In Black. Written in a breezy, unfussy tone with pace, it's by no means meant as a definitive version of Rainbow the band, but there's plenty here for the Rainbow fan who wants to know more about the machinations, conflicts and influences that moulded the compositional highs (and lows) of the band's impressive body of work.

One trait that distinguishes Rainbow from others is the often partisan nature of each era's fans -and detractors, from the neo-classical start to the AOR of the mid eithies. Yet irrespective of which era you enjoyed most, the respective chapters here consider each album track in turn with an admirable editorial even-handedness, allowing the main players themselves to comment and pass judgement on their efforts. Though Martin Popoff occasionally and understandably lets his own views known, there is no air of either dismissive criticism or sycophantic idolising.

Many of the interviews have never been published before, and even for a rabid Rainbow fan like me some items of information were refreshingly new; for how many times have you wondered why 'The Shed (Subtle)' is so called?

A book perfect for dipping into on those late evenings lay on the couch with your earphones on, working your way through your Rainbow collection. A interesting and highly recommended read then from a new perspective, and well up to the standard of Popoff's other similar works on other legendary bands.

Review by Roy Davies

You can order this book directly from Martin Popoff or Metal Blade