Friday, 29 June 2012

CD Review: Difficult To Cure, by Rainbow (1981)

In his continuing search for a more commercial sound and mainstream success, Ritchie Blackmore again jiggles Rainbow's line-up, dumps Graham Bonnet and recruits Joe Lynn Turner for lead vocal duties.  The result is Difficult To Cure, the band's fifth studio album, and it does contain Rainbow's most successful hit in lead track I Surrender.

Rainbow with Turner are a million miles away from Rainbow with Dio. Gone are the dark and mystical lyrics, the long track durations, the swords and dragons. They are replaced by light-hearted, radio-friendly fare, accessible to both genders, Turner's high register pleading for romance and attention. This is a light metal alloy, still sprinkled with Blackmore's magical guitar solos and the occasional terrific keyboard spree from Don Airey, but the band has moved firmly into the sunshine and is shunning the gloomy dark shadows where the heavier stuff resides and thrives.

Three tracks do leave a lasting imprint on metal history. Commercial aspirations aside, I Surrender is a terrific song, Blackmore's simple but melancholy riff riding under Turner's beseeched I Surrenda-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-r! to great effect. The second track Spotlight Kid would be average but for the intervention of an epic duel-of-the-solos between Blackmore and Airey, lasting for a solid 90 seconds, and featuring the most precisely placed Hey! from Turner. Difficult To Cure closes with the instrumental title track, subtitled Beethoven's Ninth, Blackmore creating a modern classic by interpreting the classical symphony with panache.

The other instrumental Vielleicht Das Nachste Mal (Maybe Next Time) is Blackmore at his most emotive, nostalgia dripping from the slow strings on a wet and cool fall evening.

The five remaining tracks on the album walk aimlessly between adequate and lazy as the search continues for broad appeal, the music rarely rising above the crowd, and Freedom Fighter finding itself stuck in the void where cliche meets a black hole instead of ideas.

Difficult To Cure may appeal to the radio for love, but thanks to some surgically precise successes, it nevertheless remains difficult to dislike.


Ritchie Blackmore - Guitars
Don Airey - Keyboards
Roger Glover - Bass
Bob Rondinelli - Drums
Joe Lynn Turner - Vocals

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. I Surrender - 10 *see below*
2. Spotlight Kid - 10
3. No Release - 7
4. Magic - 7
5. Vielleicht Das Nachste Mal (Maybe Next Time) - 9
6. Can't Happen Here - 7
7. Freedom Fighter - 6
8. Midtown Tunnel Vision - 7
9. Difficult To Cure (Beethoven's Ninth) - 10

Average: 8.11

Produced by Roger Glover.
Recorded and Engineered by Flemming Rasmussen.
Mastered by Greg Calbi.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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