There’s been something of a fashion lately for “premium” reissues, with various legendary names such as Kiss being given the box-of-singles anthology treatment. The latest arrival to tempt those of us who may already have most of this stuff in one form or another is The Singles Box Set 1975-1986, a 19 (!) disk collection of the works of legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and his oft-changing Rainbow lineup.
The reason for the 19 disks is that each 7″ is presented in the original format, well as far as the transition to CD will allow. There’s the A side, obviously, and here it’s reunited with the original B-side tracks and the original artwork. As you’d expect they all come in a nice presentation box with a book giving some background info about each release.
Although very much Blackmore’s project, Rainbow aren’t short of big name alumnii, with the likes of Ronnie James Dio, Graham Bonnet, Roger Glover and Cozy Powell passing through the ranks at various times. This means that over the 10(ish) year span of this collection there is some interesting musical variation as influential members made their presence felt.
The one thing that never changes is, of course, the quality of the songs… the timeless, classic songs.
Rainbow certainly knew how to craft a solid gold rock track, and for me their output is pretty much unmatched. I mean you don’t get much better than the late, great Ronnie James Dio belting out Man On The Silver Mountain, do you? This is a collection that harks back to the days before the internet made everything too easy, days when a band needed to release catchy songs that would garner them some radio airplay.. and on that front Rainbow were never found wanting with classics like All Night Long, I Surrender, Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll and Since You Been Gone more than standing the test of time.
This box set is undeniably something aimed at persuading the serious Rainbow fan to part with their cash, and there is apparently a market for these retro-styled reissues. If you want an introduction to the band there are certainly better ways to spend your cash (2003’s Catch The Rainbow compilation, for example) but if you want to hear these releases as was intended (or reacquaint yourself with some long unavailable B-Sides and live versions) then this box set is definitely the thing for you.
Collectors and fans will undoubtedly want to own this, there’s something special about holding something of this physical, as well as musical, quality that you miss out on with downloads. Rainbow’s The Singles Box Set 1975-1986 is another beautifully presented object of desire, although with each single release on its own CD (did I mention there are 19 of them) there is one issue…
You will spend a lot of time changing disks.