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In no way does this capture the greatest of Rainbow in its heydey, but this is actually a slightly better overall collection than the poor Very Best of Rainbow set, mostly due to the fact that’s it’s considerably cheaper. I have the same problems here as I did on the last one, specifically not enough Dio and too much Bonnet and Turner. Each album is given only a cursory once over, but often it succeeds in getting the cream of the crop.
"Man on the Silver Mountain" and "Catch the Rainbow" are obvious choices, probably the most famous songs in the catalogue, and "Stargazer" is just as obvious. While I'm surprised they didn't grab "Tarot Woman", Rising is such a great all around ALBUM that divvying it up doesn't do it proper justice. From Long Live Rock 'n' Roll we get the power metal cornerstone "Kill the King" and the playful "Rainbow Eyes", but it's baffling that the title track, with its immortal riff, chorus, and especially incredible verse are excluded. Still, for a 20th Century Masters/Millennium Collection disc this is passable so far.
The post Dio years are a mess. "Since You've Been Gone" sounds like KISS, "I Surrender" is so sugary I feel like choking, "Stone Cold" is doddering and boring over all, and "Street of Dreams" is everything you hated about 80's AOR. The lone gem from the Turner years is the gleeful “Power”, featuring a tasty riff from Blackmore and an irresistible 'clapping' percussion. Only the fact that Turner, long one of the most bland singers in music, sings on it keeps it from greatness.
For those following along, you'll notice I skipped one song. "Mistreated" is a Coverdale-era Deep Purple chestnut, and Rainbow just owned the song. Ronnie's on fire, the jamming is quite good, and best of all this is one of the few places to hear tracks from the somewhat hard-to-find On Stage album, and it saves you the time of going through the occasionally boring jam-sessions that are all over that record..
This CD is dirt cheap, and warts and all is a good Rainbow primer. I'd suggest you hunt down Rising and Long Live Rock'n'Roll instead, or failing that, the very comprehensive Catch the Rainbow greatest hits set.
Stand-Outs: "Stargazer", "Kill the King", "The Man on the Silver Mountain"