RAINBOW • FINYL VINYL (Mercury)
Somewhere over the Rainbow, Breaking all the rules in Church
Show-biz scuttlebutt has it that if Claudio, the mechanic, had been available to service the cars of Cozy Powell and Ritchie Blackmore, Rainbow would still be together. Trouble is, Blackmore is your basic landed baron and never bothered to get a driver's license, so Claudio's talents -shown to such advantage in the formation of the new Van Halen- would have gone to waste.
Blackmore, of course, has never needed Claudio, being perfectly capable of putting his own bands together. Though he packed it in with Rainbow once the Deep Purple reunion reached the drawing board, there was enough leftover tape to fill Finyl Vinyl, a musical home movie of mostly live recordings that covers the Rainbow years from 1978 to 1984.
Home movies have both drawbacks and advantages: The lighting isn't very good, the framing and continuity can be off, but the genuineness of the event is a thing you can't catch on any sound stage. While most of the live singing (and nearly all of the sound quality) is below the level of the original studio records that contained these songs, there are enough special moments to make Finyl Vinyl seem a case of buried treasure recovered.
Blackmore's fleet-fingered guitar work changes from night to night, of course, so many of the solos and fills will sound fresh to anyone who didn't attend a slew of Rainbow shows.
But there's more. "Difficult to Cure," the instrumental taken from Beethoven's Ninth, has an orchestra behind it in this live version captured during Rainbow's final dates in Tokyo. Blackmore and keysman David Rosenthal take a baroque romp through the middle when they re-create a bit from a Bach prelude. There's also a special orchestral section drawn from Beethoven's symphony and played here with suitable Samurai fury.
A pair of studio tracks (out of a total of three) that are relatively unfamiliar form the icing on Finyl Vinyl. "Bad Girl" is sung by Graham Bonnet; it's a '79 side from the Down to Earth sessions that went unreleased till now. "Weiss Heim" (the German name for Blackmore's white house on Long Island) was a B-side that never saw longplaying form in the U.S. till now. The ultimate Blackmore composition, moody and entrancing, "Weiss Heim" probably deserves a Grammy for best rock instrumental on a 1986 LP. In addition to Blackmore's hypnotic guitar and producer Roger Glover's stately bass, the tune boasts a piano solo by Don Airey that's based on Bach's Prelude #1 in C Major - a lovely way to end the last album from a group that, regrettably, is no longer with us.
At least, not until Deep Purple breaks up again after three more records.
Richard Hogan, Circus 31 May 1986
RAINBOW • FINYL VINYL
The first ten seconds of this double album are absolutely marvellous. They take my breath away like nothing has since the girl in a black shiny mac and orange socks at Kilburn tube station this lunchtime. They are sheer poetry: enchanting, evasive, perhaps slightly mystical. They consist of Judy Garland speaking in 'Over The Rainbow'.
Oh, you knew. After that it's the predictable widdly widdly guitars, bonk bonk bass, wolla wolla vocals and tut tut tut drums. There are live bits from the Budokan in 1984, including an appallingly rushed and mismanaged 'I Surrender'. There are other live bits from America, and a couple of well dodgy studio recordings from 1979 and '81, like the inventively named 'Bad Girl'.
Multifarious fab hunks and dwarves like Joe Lynn Turner, Graham Bonnet and Ronnie James Dio shout at you a lot. Russ Ballard's other great composition (no, not 'So You Win Again' or even 'New York Groove') 'Since You Been Gone' emanates from Donington, a place where men are men and earthworms are scared shitless. Some of the guitar bits go on for simply ages and you need to move your fingers really quickly to do them.
What else can I say but she steals my love away and she licks her lips as she takes me for a ride and all that?
Not art. ** 1/2
Chris Roberts, Sounds 1986
RAINBOW • FINYL VINYL
I guess we shouldn't be too surprised really. Blackmore splits Rainbow, reforms Deep Purple and, in true Purplist traditions, we get "Finyl Vinyl" an assortment collection of 11 live cuts and three old studio B-sides to officially conclude Rainbow's output on record. And so we have the final and closing chapter. Amen.
And strangely fitting it is too - while much of what we have here is rather unbalanced, (two tracks from the Dio days, two from the commercially acceptable Bonnet era, and eight featuring the embarrassing inadequacies of Joe Lynn Turner) the album unintentionally provides, all the answers to the band's eventual demise.
I always considered Blackmore's masterplan for the Eighties - hauling the band into the quicksand territory of AOR with the recruitment of various American personnel over the years would eventually fail. And should you have missed the point at the time, "Finyl Vinyl" relates the story again. True, the recent material which makes up most of this album takes on a rougher stance but most still finds itself sorely lacking in any real power.
Kirk Blows, Record Mirror 1986