In 1974, Ritchie Blackmore's bandmates in Deep Purple refused his request to cut a cover of Quatermass' ''Black Sheep of the Family.'' Demonstrating impressive commitment to the song, Blackmore set out to record it with the help of then-emerging vocalist Ronnie James Dio and members of his band Elf. To have enough material to release this as a single, Blackmore and Dio collaborated on ''Sixteenth Century Greensleeves.'' Pleased with the results, the two fleshed out a full album and Blackmore formally parted ways with Deep Purple. Blackmore and Dio named their new band after the location where they initially discussed their collaboration: the legendary Rainbow Bar and Grill on West Hollywood's Sunset Strip. Rainbow was born.
Drawing on medieval classical progressions for inspiration, Blackmore paired textured playing paired with Dio's fantastical lyrical imagery and inimitable vocals. The combination set Rainbow apart from its hard rock contemporaries. Featuring what would prove to be Rainbow's signature tune, ''Man on the Silver Mountain,'' Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow is a dynamic voyage. Blackmore's somber, melodic playing weaves a mystical tapestry over which Dio's tales of drawbridges, crossbows, and kings settle like a knight on his steed. This influential classic concludes with a flourish, as a cover of the Yardbirds' Gregorian chant-influenced instrumental ''Still I'm Sad'' proves a perfect pulpit for Blackmore's rhapsody-like soloing.
Complete with a faithful replication of the original gatefold sleeve and featuring dead-quiet surfaces, this Wax Cathedral reissue is pressed at RTI. Even better, it's on colored vinyl.