Since his departure from Deep Purple, Ritchie has been getting together his band, which he hopes after this first album will be simply called Rainbow. Apart from Ritchie, one of the main forces in the line - up is Ronnie James Dio, ex-Elf vocalist, who also takes writing honours with Blackmore on all numbers except two (Still I'm Glad - Yardbirds and Black Sheep - Quatermass).

Whilst there are thousands of Blackmore fans, I'm afraid I can't add myself to the list. The tracks tended to sound rather too similar - loud, frantic and pounding - Catch The Rainbow being the first rather welcome down tempo number. The other main pace changer is If You Don't Like Rock 'n' Roll, which is just that, a steaming rocker, but with those exceptions the album never really struck any sympathetic chords. SB

SB, unknown UK magazine 1975


When a musician (in this case Ritchie Blackmore) decides to leave a band (in this case, Deep Purple), presumably because of musical differences, you`d expect him to adopt an approach dissimilar from that of his former band. But not our Ritchie.

This is the same kind of metal rock, the lineup is similar (Ronnie James Dio, vocals; Gary Driscoll, drums; Craig Gruber, bass; and Mickey Lee Souls, assorted keyboards) and even the packaging sniffs of a Purple influence. The only significant difference I can discern between the two are that (1) Rainbow are not as accomplished musicians as Purple, and (2) their breadth of vision isn`t as great. In fact this album is duller than a March morning.

The majority of the cuts are the same old riff stews; admittedly they do it capably enough, but that hardly seems sufficient. Out of the nine tracks, there are only two which are worth complimentary remarks. Those are the gentle melodic "Catch The Rainbow", and the acoustically based "Temple Of The King".

The rest are just cliched structures, such as the pounding "Man On The Silver Mountain" and "Sixteenth Century Greensleeves" where Blackmore and Dio reclaim a Uriah Heep riff which they`d borrowed from Purple originally. And even the inclusion of The Hat`s instrumental re-working of the Yardbird`s "Still I`m Sad" does nothing for me at all. Besides their lack of imagination in the composing department, with seven originals from the pens of The Hat and Ronnie James, the band lacks any real feeling. With the exception of Dio.

Now he is a good singer who has a lot of passion, good phrasing and pitch (particularly on "Temple") and puts a considerable amount of effort into the songs. Whereas The Mad Axeman and Gruber merely illustrate their technical manoeuverability, Souls (despite the name) is recording in the studio next door and you rarely hear him, and Driscoll is what you`d describe as solid. But it is a group album. The Hat keeps a low profile, filling out songs and taking the occasional lead, sounding, particularly on "Rainbow" and "Temple", like Peter Green, but there are no real instances of inspired madness. So in conclusion, all I can say is that they`re an imitation of Purple, and not a particularly good one at that.

Tony Stewart, New Musical Express - 30 August 1975

Thanks for the transcription to: Geir Myklebust - geirmykl.wordpress.com


It would appear, on the basis of his new band's debut album, that Ritchie Blackmore has gone to a lot of unnecessary trouble just to let everyone know (as if we didn't already) that 1) he can play his instrument and 2) there's a "t" in his first name.

Rainbow is a completely (and most likely intentionally) anonymous group: drummer Gary Driscoll, bass player Craig Gruber and keyboardist Mickey Lee Soule are adequate and subservient throughout. The only non-Blackmore solo is some undermixed piano tickling on "If You Don't Like Rock'n'Roll" and singer Ronnie James Dio has the standard hard rock lead vocal down pat, with little individual style but plenty of lung power.

As for Blackmore himself, there's an inordinate amount of subtlety in his soloing here (there's little to do but step out, and he choose not to), and with the exception of a rather highly charged instrumental reworking of the Yardbirds' "Still I'm Sad," he seems listless and bored in relation to past performances, specially Machine Head, which looks more and more like an achievement of accident rather than design.

Billy Altman, Rolling Stone USA 1975


Blackmore presumably left Deep Purple not just because he hated John Lord's guts but cause he knew when they were cooking it was his doing.

So the first track here sounds like Purple at machine Head intensity, and why not - 'twas the best they ever had. But this metal monster don't know don't know what it means to go mobile based on the rest of the album, which sounds like Uriah Heep outtakes for the most part.

The band is lousy and Blackmore did nothing to whip them into shape. Instead he seems to have laid back into their sound - he may be good but he cant carry this bunch of gobblers. Looks like this fireball won't live to fool again.

John Swenson, Crawdaddy USA - November 1975


Ritchie Blackmore was one of the founders of the heavy-metal British group Deep Purple. Ronnie Dio founded a band called the Electric Elves, and played minor-league nightspots in upstate New York. How the two met must be some story. But the fact is that they are now together writing, singing and playing as Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow.

The band, which includes three Elves besides Dio, is influenced mostly by Blackmore, as the name implies. In fact, those who have been waiting for the type of driving guitar that fueled Deep Purple's "Machine Head" LP will be delighted. A hype sheet sent with the record says Blackmore has decided "to seek a new musical direction." This is pure buncombe, as anyone listening once to the album will attest.

But misdirected hype doesn't necessarily accompany a bad album. "Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow" is full of the same energy and nitro-burning fury that drove Deep Purple, and Dio's vocal work is as satisfying as Blackmore's guitar. Unlike some collaborations done just for the sake of bringing "names" together the merging of Blackmore and Elf is basically a good idea.

Elf needed some focus. The band put out a weak LP on MGM Records last year a record that was especially disappointing to those like myself who had spent many nights dancing to Ronnie Dio and 'The Prophets, Elf's former incarnation. Likewise, Blackmore needs a solid backup group. Elf is just that, with the added bonus of Dio's strong vocals.

On the new LP, "Self Portrait", "Sixteenth Greensleeves" and "Still I'm Sad" (the Yardbirds' song) are most typical. All feature steamy guitar and throaty vocal work. "The Temple of the King" features acoustic guitar and a slightly softer tone. "If You Don't Like Rock 'n' Roll" is heavy in the piano-boogie department, with a rolling '50s ambience that fits the words well.

Oddly, "Catch the Rainbow," the LP's longest cut and one which, by the title, you'd think would be the most representative isn't, It is a slow, contemplative song, with considerable feeling but little flash. Perhaps this is what Blackmore means by "a new musical direction." Only those who dislike Deep Purple or the whole flashy-guitar scene should avoid the album; they will find no pot of gold at the end of Blackmore's Rainbow.

Henry McNulty, The Hartford Courant - 31 August 1975


After seven rich years with the heavy metal sound of Deep Purple, lead guitarist Richie Blackmore has split to cater to his own musical tastes. Blackmore has formed a new band, Rainbow, and called it his own. This new band and the material it has chosen to record sound mostly like Deep Purple and Deep Purple material. The exception would he that Rainbow gives Blackmore slightly less competition from the keyboards.

Blackmore's guitar produced a trademark sound for Purple. But with the voice of Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio, who sounds like two of Purple's vocalists, could the total effect be very different? The Rainbow debut LP is lust a bit more exciting than Deep Purple's last few because of the enthusiasm that marks the performance. And anything that's even a little bit better than Purple won't be bad at all.

Dana Sue Jackson, Detroit Free Press - 23 November 1975


The man who broke away from his successful colleagues in order to be alone successful - and to go his own way - does not quite convince with his solo debut. The own way is still "deep" in Purple Land and leads provisionally to no radiant peak. Not to mention that the strongest impression on the LP is not from Richie's guitar, but is supplied by the vocalist Ronnie Dio. Die-hard Purple fans will certainly be happy. But maybe they too have expected more from Richie. Especially from Richie.

Pop, German Magazine - 25 September 1975


The presupposition that Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow would be a vehicle for the guitarist's solo stardom has, with the release of this disk, been proven false. Blackmore's alignment with the nucleus of Elf has produced one of the most cohesive group efforts to come out in quite a while. All members are given a blow within the context of rock and spacey blues while Blackmore's solo outings are a monument to taste and restraint. Group is the magic word here for, as a group, Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow will most certainly thrive.

Cash Box USA - August 16, 1975


There seems to be a natural pattern followed by many rock artists. Youstart as a single. If you've any talent, you acquire a number of mediocre backup musicians. You're discovered by accomplished musicians, meld into a respected band.. achieve stardom. Unfortunately, the cycle doesn't always stop here. With overinflated ego, the artist breaks away, regrouping with performers willing to sell the hero's wares.

Many an artist has done this successfully,.. Eric Clapton, the Beatles (individuatly), Joe Walsh. Many more, Rick Wakeman, Country Joe MacDonald, Burton Cummings, Eric Carman, found they weren't the fabulous talents their vanity lead them to believe. And neither is Richie Blackmore.

Blackmore, former lead guitar for Deep Purple, left that band in its relative heyday to form Richie Blackmore's Rainbow. Blackmore's Rainbow, their first album, leaves the listener somewhat less than spellbound. The execution of the material is very acceptable, as is its composition. It's just that this album has been composed a thousand times and played by a thousand artists. It's typical, standardized. Just what you'd expect as an outgrowth of Deep Purple.

Even more unfortunate, many cuts on this LP sound remarkably like Uriah Heep , from the weezy vocals to the constant 'da.. da da da, da.. da da da' background. And the lyrics are weaker than 3-2 beer ("I'm the black sheep of the fam-i-lee," so what?)

This is not to say the "Rainbow" doesn't show signs of hope. There are two excellent cuts on this disc. 'I'm the Man on the Silver Mountain' js an imaginative hard rocker with a tune that's hard to forget. 'Catch the Rainbow' demonstrates how the band can sound with good material.

Blackmore's lead guitar work sounds suspiciously like Jimi Hendrix', which means it's great. As are the vocals and the backup string section. If your're the type who is willing to wade through an entire LP to enjoy a few excellent cuts, you'll enjoy this album. If you're expecting to hear DEEP PURPLE, impressive guitar work, or imaginative material, you're wasting your money.

Ron Brochu, Statesman (University of Minnesota, Duluth) - December 2, 1976