Monday, July 6, 2009

Retrospective: Ronnie James Dio - The Elf Years

s my Month of Dio continues, I focus (again) on the awesome blues/rock band Elf.
The first, and my favorite, release of this blues-rock band (heavy on the blues), before they were influenced by Deep Purple. This, as I described to my friend, is "a blues band without the slow, mournful tunes about 'my lady leaving me.'" This is, in my mind, the definitive of what blues-rock should be - the heavy piano, the light non-distorted guitars, the story-telling lyrics, all requirements of a great band.
And thus begins the progression of Elf, from being a Blues band with rock influences to more of a 50/50 blues and rock band. The songs off of Carolina Country Ball have more guitars, and more distortion then their previous release. It's still very enjoyable, but you can hear the change taking place, due to the band opening and touring with Deep Purple for four or five years.
Trying To Burn The Sun is the last release of Elf (if you don't count the Rainbow years), and completes the band's transition into a Rock band with Blues influences. Going back and forth from this album to their first, you can hear the change and, except for Dio's voice, it sounds like a completely different group. Still a great album, no matter how much criticism I spout out, I cannot deny that the music is still stellar. Rock, blues, whatever, Elf rocked, and still rocks.

After Trying To Burn The Sun, Elf became the backing band for Ritchie Blackmore's solo project, a project that would eventually become Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. After the release of the first album, Rainbow became a full fledged group, disbanding Elf permanently.

For more on Elf check out my Previous Article about the band

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