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Rainbow - Down To Earth CD (album) cover




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2.67 | 156 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars There's power under the Bonnet

With Ronnie James Dio having moved on to explore new pastures, Rainbow returned in 1979 with a new lead vocalist (Graham Bonnet), a new keyboards player (Don Airey), and a new(ish) bassist (Ritchie's former band mate Roger Glover).

After the relatively disappointing "Long live rock and roll", Ritchie Blackmore took the opportunity to lead the band in a subtle(?) change of direction, the result being a sort of cross between the accessible pop rock of Asia, and the heavy driving rhythms of Deep Purple. While some see this as a step backwards, for me this is one of the band's most accomplished albums.

The changes were instantly successful in commercial terms, the lead track on each side of the LP, "All night long" and "Since you've been gone" racing up the singles charts. The latter was a rare cover by the band, of a song written by Argent's Russ Ballard. Of the two, "All night long" is for me the classier track. The song has a wonderful melody inviting a superb vocal performance by Bonnet.

To dismiss this album as a sell out though would be a severe injustice. Admittedly prog influences are hard to find, but this is high quality, accessible heavy rock from start to finish. What prog there is can be found on tracks such as "Eyes of the world", a magnificently powerful piece with a symphonic intro and a majestic delivery, and on "Lost in Hollywood". The latter is essentially straight from the Deep Purple catalogue, it would have sounded perfect on "Perfect strangers", but it does contain a subtle core instrumental section.

Elsewhere, "Love's no friend" borrows something from Blackmore's great "Mistreated", while "Danger zone" is very much in the "All night long" frame.

For me, this is a fine album. The music is exciting, it is powerful, and of course it is performed impeccably. OK, so it does not tick all the progressive boxes, but it comes with my recommendation nonetheless.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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