Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow – Stranger In Us All

I will always love this album because one time, Scott said the cover art looks like Ritchie’s just out there, off standing at the bottom of his garden… Oh, and the music’s pretty great too, so that’s another reason…. Mike sent me this one. Let’s go!

Wolf To The Moon is a sweet track with excellent guitar work (of course). I like how clear it is. Is that a silly thing to say? It just sounds good. Released in 1995, it sounds like it would perfectly fit in in 1985. And, too boot, there’s something almost regal about it… oh man, there I go again… Cold Hearted Woman is a bluesy rocker with a slinky guitar line. Songs like these are timeless.

Hunting Humans (Insatiable) menacingly stomps along, though it’s a little repetitive. The chorus isn’t a great pay-off either, maybe not the best track here. Stand And Fight is a fun barroom rock song, bluesy and full of energy. Harmonica, even! I like the guitar solo here, it’s simultaneously dirty and slick. Nice! Now, one downside… all you’d have to add is pedal steel and a real twang to these vocals and you’d have one of those New Country approximations of rock and roll that thse people are so fond of making. I can’t unhear it, but I’m trying hard not to think about it.

Ariel has a huge, roomy sound. I am assuming that this is not an ode to the Little Mermaid… c’mon, I’m a stay-at-home Dad with a 2.5 year old daughter. It had to be said. Anyway. This tune goes for menacing again and manages it, except at the chorus bit, where it’s pretty moreso than mean. Also, and I don’t know if this is coincidence or not, but I like the vocals at 4:20. Ahem. They really suit the tune better.

Too Late For Tears is straight-up and faster (I liked it!), because a slower song always needs to followed by a lively rocker. It’s one of the unwritten but generally accepted rules of Making A Rock Album 101. [Disclaimer: Such a thing does not exist, to my knowledge. A]. Black Masquerade has a theatrical feel to it as it rocks along even faster than Too Late… You know, I could actually hear Maiden taking a rip through this one.

Silence, as it turns out, is not a track of silence. Bit of false advertising, that. What it is, though, is yet another cool rock song with a great buzzy guitar line. You know, this record actually getting better as it goes along. He’s getting more adventurous on vocals, and the songs have more energy. Nice! Hall Of The Mountain King is indeed the Greig thing, with lyrics by Blackmore’s wife, and it rocks along quite nicely. And finally, Still I’m Sad is a cover of the old Yardbirds tune, with a pretty guitar instrumental intro that becomes another full-on rock track at full speed. I hear Maiden again, which is not a bad thing. It’s quite nice to have such an energetic, lovely rock and roll track go for 5 minutes to end an album!

But wait!

See, Mike has this habit of buying the bonus tracks off iTunes or wherever he gets them, then putting them on a CD-R. He then puts the original album and the CD-R in a double CD case to keep it all together. And this copy he gave me is one such example. The CD-R contains the entire album again, plus one bonus track that’s been tacked onto the end…

Emotional Crime is a great barroom blues rocker, with an excellent guitar solo. Lucky Japan, for getting this track domestically!

In sum, I really liked this record. A lot. It’s very, very solid. Thanks heaps, Mike!

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Posted on April 1, 2014, in posts by aaron and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Good review man! Still I’m Sad is actually closer to a cover of an old Rainbow song that was a cover of a Yardbirds song. They originally did it instrumentally on the very first album.

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    • Thanks! I often feel way out of my depth with these things. I mean, I’m way further ahead on Rainbow now (thanks to you, this is the third album of theirs I have), but people in the know would probably read this and ask “where in hell did they find THIS guy, and why is he trying to write about Rainbow?” So, as always, I just try to go from my gut. I’m glad you’re not sitting there laughing your ass off at me, anyway!

      So they re-recorded the Still I’m Sad with the new singer. Got it. And, of course, I totally forgot to mention that it’s the album closer of On Stage, so I would already have known they were prone to playing it, if I’d been paying attention… Thanks for the info!

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      • I totally forgot it was on On Stage actually! Even though I have the deluxe of it, it’s so long and ponderous that I rarely play it.

        ALSO: This singer, Doogie White, was one of the finalists for the vocalist slot in Iron Maiden. It was him or Blaze Bayley and they chose Blaze. Doogie later ended up with Yngwie Malmsteen after this I think? I haven’t followed his career beyond Rainbow.

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  2. He sings for the MSG band now Mike….
    Cool review and some history involved here,remember seeing it thru a few adds but never ever heard it.
    I do love Rainbows Straight Between The Eyes….total AOR fodder but hey man I’m a sucka for it !!!

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