Monday, July 10, 2017

Elf Is On the Way: RJD 75

OK, this is maybe somewhat unusual for me, but look at it this way: this is surely the only page on the internet where you get the titans of late-1970s free jazz one day, and the heroes of heavy metal the next.
Every once in a while, I have to slip a Phil Collins or a George Michael in there, so's you don't start thinking I'm some sort of skronk-jazz dweeb blogging obscure brass players from the comfort of mom's basement.
Today we work to shatter those stereotypes with a 75th birthday bash in honor of a man who made his first single as a teenager at the dawn of the 1960s, and who went on to become one of the most iconic voices in Rock.
I seem to favor these types: the ones who are identifiable by one note. When this guy opened his mouth, you knew who was singing after approximately a quarter of a nanosecond. He may have been on the small side physically - I met him once and he could not have been much over five feet tall -- but vocally he was bigger than a breadbox and then some.
He is also responsible for that double horns thing with the fingers, which he claimed he got from his oldschool Italian grandma when she'd ward off the Evil Eye. I know the profiteering clown from Kiss tried to copyright it, but then that's what makes him a profiteering clown.
Sorry assclown with the oversize tongue and self-image... Ronnie James Dio got there first. He was born this day in 1942 and he passed seven years ago, but he'll live on long after the phony greasepaint and logofied lunchboxes proffered by the profiteers fade from history.
He started out as the 1950s became the 1960s, leading various pop groups until he settled on the name The Elves, which he changed to Elf as the 1970s began. They made several proto-metal albums that are considered foundational to the genre today.
Eventually he was tapped by Ritchie Blackmore to front the post-Deep Purple band Rainbow, which he left in 1980 to replace a druggified Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath. For many people, the few records he waxed with the latter are the best they ever made.
He split Sabbath in 1982 and put together his own group, imaginatively named Dio. This became one of the most beloved Heavy Metal ensembles of all time, with their first two albums constantly featured in whatever Top 50 Metal LPs Of All Time list you happen to have up on your computer screen at the moment.
So for RJD's 75th birthday, I dug out this incredibly-recorded and beautifully transferred full pre-FM concert of the first tour of that band, made from Westwood One LPs. After some serious declicking and remasterizzation by me, it now sounds indistinguishable from a seriously heavy, official "Holy Diver In Concert" album, recorded as it is in Selland Arena in Fresno just like the live Black Sabbath record "Live Evil" to which Ronnie contributed so much... he actually mentions this towards the end of the performance.
Selland Arena
Fresno, CA

01 Stand Up and Shout
02 Straight Through the Heart
03 Shame On the Night
04 Children of the Sea
05 Holy Diver
06 drum solo
07 Rainbow In the Dark
08 Heaven and Hell
09 guitar solo
10 Heaven and Hell (reprise)
11 Don't Talk to Strangers
12 Man On the Silver Mountain (incl. Starstruck)

Total time: 1:11:20

Ronnie James Dio - vocals
Vivian Campbell - guitar
Claude Schnell – keyboards
Jimmy Bain - bass, vocals
Vinnie Appice - drums

pre-FM LPs from Westwood One, transferred by Talbe1019 in 2010 and declicked/declipped and otherwise optimized by EN in 2017
This is a strange one for me, but I figured 75 is a milestone and this classic bootleg -- which I cleaned up from the pre-FM LPs that went out to radio stations back in the pre-CD days -- deserved to circulate without all the wretched surface noise and clipping, so away I went.
Anyway, please pull it down and enjoy its earsplitting virtues, and as you do please remember to pay birthday homage to its mastermind Ronnie James Dio... if you don't he'll put away those guardian horns and the Evil Eye will getcha     \m/  \m/   --J.
7.10.1942 - 5.16.2010

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