There aren’t many books about Ritchie Blackmore or Rainbow. As a matter of fact, if we put aside 3-4 remarkable essays on Deep Purple- there are only three available books out there: the unauthorized (yet excellent) Blackmore biography by Jerry Bloom, a more or less Rainbow chronicle by Martin Poppoff and this printing effort by Roy Davies. And it might have passed 11 years since the first publication of “Rainbow Rising: The Story of Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow” but it remains extremely current as the Man in Black hasn’t dealt with Rainbow since the spring of 1997.
Davies divides Rainbow’s career in four periods (as the number of the singers) while he doesn’t omit to share a few well-known facts about Ritchie before and after his tenure with Rainbow. The writer integrates rainbow into a wider context of the late 70s where the punk explosion and the economical recession “forced” Master Blackmore to turn his attention to the other side of the Atlantic in order to achieve commercial success so as to keep Rainbow a living, breathing entity. As it is well documented, he actually made it…well, almost but it was sufficient enough.
Davies is keen on adding some personal thoughts, comments and evaluations –always in a well-structured and established manner- while he likes to share lots of funny incidents and anecdotes of Rainbow’s past when Ritchie had a laugh with his pranks on his gullible collaborators in the band. I was happily surprised to see that Davies expressed his admiration about Doogie White’s abilities as a singer but also about the vastly underrated 1994-97 period. On a side note, White firmly believes –as Davies points out- that Blackmore’s mother in law/manager, Carole Stevens is the sole person responsible for Ritchie’s aversion on rock and the untimely demise of Rainbow. By the way, Ronnie James Dio used to have the same opinion…
Last but certainly not least Davies impress us with his individual chapters of Rainbow’s complete discography (including singles and bootleg releases), of the gear that the members used while on Rainbow, of all the tour programmes that were issued but also of what the musicians did after they left Rainbow. But the most impressive aspect of the book is definitely the list of all the concerts that Rainbow ever played combined with the songs that they performed.
The fact that Jerry Bloom referred heavily on Roy Davies’ book indicates how qualitative is “Rainbow Rising: The Story of Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow”. A must for all the Rainbow and Blackmore fans.