Ritchie Blackmore’s RAINBOW – Stranger In Us All [Expanded Edition Digipak +3] (2017)
The recent Ritchie Blackmore’s RAINBOW return – and new album in the making – has created such a buzz in the Melodic Hard Rock community that Cherry Red Records / Hear No Evil decided to reissue with bonus tracks one of the most underrated (and unheard) albums from the band: “Stranger In Us All (Expanded Edition)”.
Rainbow originally formed in 1975 when Ritchie Blackmore left Deep Purple to join forces with the band Elf featuring Ronnie James Dio, to record debut album, “Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow”.
Named after Ritchie’s favourite hangout, the Rainbow Bar & Grill on Sunset Blvd, he steered Rainbow through seven studio LPs plus a double live, with albums fronted by Joe Lynn Turner, Graham Bonnet and the aforementioned Ronnie James Dio, and at times featured such respected rock luminaries as drummer Cozy Powell, bassist / producer Roger Glover and keyboard player Don Airey.
Rainbow split in 1984 when Ritchie joined Deep Purple’s MK2 reunion, and a further tumultuous decade. Ritchie quit Purple once more following a 1993 Helsinki gig, this time for good.
Shortly after, it was announced that the guitarist was reforming Rainbow. Rumours abounded regarding who might feature in the line-up, but the new record would feature a band of relative unknowns.
The resulting record, “Stranger In Us All”, was issued under the name Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow in August 1995, with a band featuring Paul Morris on keyboards, Greg Smith on bass, John O’Reilly on drums and Blackmore’s Night’s Candice Night on background vocals.
Fronted by Doogie White, the singer was an inspired choice; a huge fan of Ritchie’s career in both Purple and Rainbow, Doogie formed a strong writing partnership with the guitarist.
Revisiting The Yardbirds’ ‘Still I’m Sad’, which had been recorded for Rainbow’s debut 20 years earlier, Ritchie’s classical flights of fancy were able to truly fly on his arrangement of Edvard Grieg’s ‘Hall Of The Mountain King’.
‘Wolf To the Moon’, ‘Hunting Humans (Insatiable)’ and ‘Ariel’ were all worthy additions to the Rainbow catalogue.
When it came to playing live, songs from both Rainbow and Purple were revisited, and we are lucky enough to have as bonus track a unique live recording from a 1995 Swedish concert of ‘The Temple Of The King’, a song that originally appeared on the band’s first record, in 1975.
Also featured are a “radio edit” of the single ‘Ariel’, plus the song ‘Emotional Crime’ that has previously only been released in Japan.
“Stranger In Us All (Expanded Edition)” is a welcomed re-release of an album criminally ignored when originally released (dark ages for this genre), a strong record with solid performances by Ritchie & Co., especially Doogie White delivering a fervent work.
Housed in a high quality Digipak case, the extensive liner notes also feature a personal account from singer Doogie White, plus plenty of artwork and memorabilia from Doogie’s own Rainbow collection.
This is one of the best booklets I’ve seen in recent years including rare press adverts, backstage passes, rare photos, etc.
01 – Wolf To The Moon
02 – Cold Hearted Woman
03 – Hunting Humans (Insatiable)
04 – Stand And Fight
05 – Ariel
06 – Too Late For Tears
07 – Black Masquerade
08 – Silence
09 – Hall Of The Mountain King
10 – Still I’m Sad
11 – Emotional Crime [Original Japan Bonus Track]
12 – Ariel (Radio Edit)
13 – The Temple Of The King (Live)
Ritchie Blackmore- guitars
Doogie White -vocals
Paul Morris – keyboards
Greg Smith – bass
John O’Reilly – drums
Candice Night – background vocals
BUY IT !