Rainbow

Live in Germany 1976

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When punk rock came crashing onto the music scene in the mid-'70s, the movement was specifically targeting groups that had become self-indulgent. Just by looking at the amount of extended guitar solos that cropped up at latter-day Deep Purple and early Rainbow shows, Ritchie Blackmore certainly stood for everything that the snarling young punks detested. And while they certainly had a point (all the long and winding solos did numb your brain after a while), there's no denying that Rainbow early on could certainly cook up some rockin' tunes, as evidenced by any of their three studio recordings with singer Ronnie James Dio. But by containing only a total of eight songs and warranting a double-disc release, the Rainbow concert set Live in Germany '76 captures the group at its most bloated. If you were to cut out all the soloing, there certainly are some worthy compositions here that rate among Blackmore's best work ever, such as "Man on the Silver Mountain" and "Catch the Rainbow (even though the latter is very similar -- both musically and lyrically -- to Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing"). Since another Rainbow release, 1977's On Stage, contains most of these tracks in similar versions, only hardcore Blackmore fans will need a copy of Live in Germany '76 in their collections.

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