Tag Archives: Ronnie James Dio

DIO/Holy Diver(1983)

When people think of Ronnie James Dio I think it would be safe to say  that 1983’s epic DIO solo album Holy Diver would come to one’s mind!

My intro to Dio was when he was fronting Black Sabbath and if you’re talking about  favourite Sabbath albums I would tell you it would be 1981’s Mob Rules album just from the standpoint of that’s when I discovered Sabbath back in 1981. Besides Mob Rules had a bunch of classic tracks on it!

A short while later like what happens in so many bands Sabbath and Dio got all silly  with each other and Dio split and took at the time  current  Sabbath drummer Vinny Appice and they formed Dio along with bassist and  Dio’s former band member in Rainbow, Jimmy Bain(RIP).

Of course with it being 1983 Hot Shot wiz guitarists were the things to come by and Dio recruited Vivian Campbell  who basically takes Holy Diver into a whole other ballgame with his playing!

Its amazing at how this album still sounds 34 friggin years later!

Opener Stand Up and Shout has the Dio tour bus ripping down the highway with the police in hot pursuit. In other words this song sets the menu for the rest of the album. Stand Up…makes you indeed Stand Up and take notice throughout. The pace is frantic. Campbell easily becomes the one to watch on this album as he sets fire to his fretboard on the solo part of the track while Appice just slams around on his kit like nobodies business!

Track two and its the title track Holy Diver. What can I add to this song that already hasn’t been spoken or written about? I will say I love the groove set forth by Appice/Bain and another killer solo by Campbell and of course you get Ronnie’s lyrics and the way he sings. How about that opening lyrical line..

Holy Diver
You’ve been down too long in the midnight sea
Oh what’s becoming of me..

I totally think of the album cover of Holy Diver(with band mascot Murray whipping around that chain at the priest) when I hear Dio sing this line..

Jump The Tiger!

From there Gypsy soars right out of the gate with Campbell riffing like there is no tomorrow. ‘She was right out of Hell” sings Ronnie. Love the stomp of this track as the drums/bass/guitar just plow this song forward. Another huge solo from Vivian as that fret board is smoked!

Caught In The Middle has the pace set with Campbell and another straight ahead rocker. Dio soars vocally on this track

Don’t Talk To Strangers has to my ears a total Sabbath vibe as the song starts off real chill with the blend of acoustic and electric guitars and even Vinnie who was laying wast to his skit on the first 4 tracks even gets a moment of relaxation but before long  the song takes off and ramps up quick! This track chills out towards the end and once agin picks up steam….

Appice sets the tone right off the bat with Straight From The Heart with his attack of the drums and Dio lays down the law with his voice and Campbell plays for his supper and man if anything this song by the guitarist sounds like a Zak Wylde composition… I’m thinking Zakk nicked some stuff of Vivian…

Invisible starts off all trippy dippy like musically but rolls right back into familiar hard rock territory with more superstar axemanship.

Ok! Raise of hands. Who has not heard Rainbow In The Dark? Exactly we all have as it in indeed in an all time classic and man what a freakin fantastic guitar solo. This song has a wicked verse/chorus/everything. Like that twisted psycho like keyboard that’s swirls in an out at times.

Hey who woke up the wolves? Shame On The Night is another Sab like scorcher that rolls at a medieval pace that even has an evil Dio like scream at the end. The song just lets itself go at the end in a Sabbath like crawl…

What a debut solo album for Ronnie James. What a scorcher of a debut for Vivian Campbell who comes out of nowhere and rockets these songs to the top. The dude shows us that back in 83 that the concept of great hard rock singer mashing up with a hot-shot  6 stringer could reap huge benefits!

Too bad that when Campbell joined Def Leppard in 1992 they didn’t let Vivian wail on the guitar like he does on the early Dio albums.

Holy Diver proves that and basically made me purchase 1984’s Last In Line right away upon its release.

I always wondered what Ronnie’s old Sab mates(Tony and Geezer) thought at the time around 1983 when they heard Holy Diver for the first time as Sabbath was out recruiting Ian Gillian for Sabs Born Again album?

I’m thinking Geezer and Tony muttered something like “Ahh freakin fizzle sticks. We gotta step up!”

Black Sabbath/Live Evil(1982)

Gotta love Crazy ex’s!

April 1979 and  Ozzy get’s the boot from Black Sabbath and Sabbath went and hired Ronnie James Dio as the Ozzman’s replacement!

In this corner you have Ozzy Osbourne(ex Black Sabbath singer) and in the far corner you have Black Sabbath (with than current vocalist) Ronnie James Dio. 

April of 1980 Sabbath release the Dio fronted Heaven and Hell album. Ozzy counters in Sept of 1980 with the release his debut album Blizzard of Ozz. 

November 4th 1981 Sabbath releases the Mob Rules album while just 3 short days later(Nov 7th 1981)  Ozzy rolls out his second solo album Diary of A Madman.

December 1982 Ozzy puts out the double live Speak of The Devil album which features all Sabbath tracks.(Ozzy to his credit said the record company wanted a double live album of late guitar hero Randy Rhoads  but Ozzy quashed it saying there was going to be no cash grab as Randy had died just six months earlier in March of 1982)

Also in December of 1982 Sabbath put out their own double live album titled Live Evil. (Great cover as well)

Haha..these guys(Ozzy and Sabbath) took pissy pants to whole other level as one was trying to outdo the other with releasing albums the same month and even days apart. Silly Old  Farts!

Anyways Dio and Sabbath put out a pretty good document of the Mob Rules tour with Live Evil but during the mixing of this album both Dio and drummer Vinnie Appice exited Sabbath and in the band it was two Americans (Dio and Appice) vs two Brits(Iommi and Butler).  A Black Sabbath Royal Rumble with accusations and turmoil in regards to stuff being tweaked in the studio when the two other guys weren’t around. On Live Evil  Ronnie James Dio is listed as just Ronnie Dio and  Vinny while he was credited as a full-time member on the studio Mob Rules album but come  on Live Evil Vinny falls under the Special Thanks category.

Well it’s safe to safe to say Geezer and Tony wanted to stir things up now …

Having said that…

Live Evil though is a great listen even in 2017 and to be honest I enjoyed this album more now in 2017 than in 1982 (Thanks Aaron). 14 tracks all together. 8 of the track are from the fronted Dio albums and I can tell you all that the songs Neon Knights/Mob Rules/Childern of The Sea /Voodoo/Sign of The Southern  Cross are all played brilliantly.

Ronnie does justice on the Ozzy tracks and I admit back in 1982/83 it took a while to wrap my noggin on how Ronnie sang songs like Black Sabbath/NIB/War Pigs/Iron Man but he pulls it off on his own terms.

Amazing how in the span of just under 2 short years(1980-82) Dio/Appice’s tenure in Sabbath would be done with two studio and one live album under their belts….

Of course Dio/Appice return to Sabbath in 1992 with the Dehumanizer album but by late 1992 Dio/Appice are out again.

Until…

2006 when Dio/Appice hooked up once again with Butler/Iommi (this time calling themselves Heaven and Hell instead of Black Sabbath)until Ronnie’s untimely passing in 2010….

 

Rainbow/Rising(1976)

 

Man what an awesome Cover! If that doesn’t make a musical statement nothing will!

My Rainbow listening habits started around the time of Rainbow’s 1982 release Straight Between The Eyes. I basically skipped the whole Ronnie James Dio (RIP)period(my bad) until just recently as this album was on iTunes for $3.98 so it was an easy peasey purchase!

Tarot Woman is a whopper of an opening. Tony Carey opens the album with a 1 minute 40 second keyboard intro. Hows that for laying down some Moog Law? The late great Cozy Powell slams the drums into gear while the rest of the chaps Jimmy Bain(RIP) and Mr Happy Rainbow Himself Ritchie Blackmore provide the sonic sizzle while Dio sings the tale of the Tarot Woman.  Blackmore does his deal with the devil during the solo while Powell is lurking int he background slamming the skins!

Run With The Wolf begins with all hands on deck. The band shifts a slower gear but make no mistake this song is still heavy in a Deep Purple like stomp of yesteryear. Not surprising considering Ritchie had a huge hand in those Purple songs. Dig the almost like slide guitar action during the solo. Great tune.

Speaking of Purple Starstruck  begins like a Purple track(You can hear how much Ritchie had a hand in those old Purple tunes). A real cool groove that chugs down Blackmore avenue and say what you want but the real deal on these tunes is Cozy Powell who is all over the place rhythmically and basically lets Richie loose in his rock caboose to do the stuff that the man in black can do on guitar!

Ritchie takes over and opens the song Do You Close Your Eyes and this is an all out Rainbow jam played at a loud volume! Dio drops down a ton of cool lyrics on this album. I guess you could say that this would be as close to a rock radio track you could get from these guys back in 76….

Powell drops down one of the coolest opening drum fills ever at the beginning of Stargazer. 12 seconds of a drum brilliance and Rainbow  will take you through the stratosphere of time changes  and what nots as only they can for oh lets say 8 minutes and 20 seconds! This song is a bonafide classic. It grabs you by the back of the neck and doesn’t let you go through sweeping musical climates yet never dulling out it just goes and goes and before you know it Stargazer is done! Hard to believe its 8 minutes plus…. On the way out of the door say hello to the Wizard will ya!

How about another 8 minute opus! A Light In The Black fits the bill perfectly and it rockets right out of the gate. Dio and crew play this song at a ferocious clip! I betcha once Powell/Bain/Cary hook up and  start rolling Blackmore goes all batty on his guitar for a good 5 minutes of this track! No ending in site for this song as the band is firing on all four’s.

It’s safe to say that if I was a little older back in 76 i would have been all over this album. It’s all here for the taking! You got Dio scripting all the lyrics to Blackmore’s pedal to the metal riffs. Powell slams the drum kit into smithereens  while Bain and Cary (with his keyboards adding not subtracting from Ritchie) add colours to the Rainbow! (ha that was sappy) Ok how about a boot in the ass! Crazy how it took me 41 years to own this!

Blackmore for a while leaves Deep Purple in the rearview mirror and forges a new identity known as Rainbow!

Great album!

Heaven&Hell/Live From Radio City Music Hall(2007)

The Great Ronnie James Dio(RIP) once again hooked up with pals Tony Iommi/Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice to have another go round of Dio fronted Sabbath. 

The only catch is this time they were calling themselves Heaven And Hell not Black Sabbath perhaps due to legal stuff who knows but any hard rock music listener will know the deal!

When I reviewed the  epic Mob Rules(1981) this incarnation of the band was my first introduction to Black Sabbath and I just loved and still do the Mob Rules album as sometimes those first listens to a certain period of a band just resonates with you the listener just a little more!

Special thanks to our family member…Fender The Wonder Dog whom hung out with me on a Sunday afternoon while I scribbled this review!

Of course as soon as dug Dio Sabbath RJD split and released the epic solo album Holy Diver(1983) and from there in the early 90’s Ronnie once again hooked up with these guys for the Dehumanizer (1992) album and of course that went down in flames as well….

But….

2007 and the Sabs….er I mean Heaven And Hell are back in town, well Radio City in NYC that is and they record a Live Album. So following the purchase of a Dio/Sabbath Greatest Hits set to coincide with the Tour here comes once the tour winds down the live album and Deke’s is up for it!!

Disc One
No. Title Length
1. “E5150/After All (The Dead)” (Dio, Iommi, Butler) 8:30
2. “The Mob Rules” (Dio, Iommi, Butler) 4:04
3. “Children of the Sea” 6:52
4. “Lady Evil” 5:20
5. “I” (Dio, Iommi, Butler) 6:27
6. “The Sign of the Southern Cross” (Dio, Iommi, Butler) 9:06
7. “Voodoo” (Dio, Iommi, Butler) 7:42
8. “The Devil Cried” (Dio, Iommi) 11:40

Disc two
No. Title Length
1. “Computer God” (Dio, Iommi, Butler) 6:41
2. “Falling Off the Edge of the World” (Dio, Iommi, Butler) 5:45
3. “Shadow of the Wind” (Dio, Iommi) 6:05
4. “Die Young” 7:44
5. “Heaven and Hell” 15:15
6. “Lonely Is the Word” 6:48
7. “Neon Knights”

This album is chalk full of Huge and I mean Huge Bombastic Iommi Riffs and man I just  dig the Sabbath Sludge crawl of opener After All which upon first listen is kinda of a head scratcher but this is there deal and they’re gonna do what they wanna do! Pay your $6.66 to the bus driver folks as Ronnie and Crew are taking us on a one way trip to Hell! Crazy opener but cool!

The next 6 songs that follow…Mob Rules/Childern Of The Sea/Lady Evil/I/ The Sign Of The Southern Cross and Voodoo are classic Ronnie Sabbath. The songs have a quicker tempo than any of the Ozzy era led Sabbath for the most part and perhaps it was a calculated move back in 1980 when Ronnie joined. Shake  up the Sabbath song structure retool it for the 80’s. New band …New set of rules. Sounds like to me anyways especially the track Mob Rules with Appice driving the beat forward folks and the guy is a monster on the drums on this show as well as he gets the complimentary drum solo on The Devil  Cried.(one of the new tracks that was on the Dio Sabbath Comp)

Disc 2 opens with Computer God from the Dehumanizer album and this is another one of my Dio Sabbath Fav’s. Sure it trucks along at a snail’s pace at times but when the chorus kicks in it’s all bets off with Geezers grumbling Bass. Vinny smashing the cymbals while Tony hooks it altogether musically with his King OF Doom Riffs. Ronnie harness it all in with the vocals!

Cool that these guys don’t play for years together yet when they put there issues aside it’s like a step has never been skipped! This album proves that as they fire away at Die Young along with a 15 minute sing along with Satan on Heaven And Hell  and to finish things up a big round of blast off with Neon Knights! Neon Knights is a huge fireball of speed riff’s  and drums that are rocking off the Highway To Hell!

This is a fantastic live record ….