Released: 2005, Metal Blade
As part of an informal, three-month series (March, April, May of 2011) I am getting ‘caught-up’ reviewing some books by Metal’s #1 journalist, Martin Popoff. Last month (March 2011) I reviewed his COLLECTORS GUIDE review series, this month I am going to look at a half dozen of his biographies including titles on UFO (2005), Rainbow (2005), Dio (2006) Black Sabbath (2006), Judas Priest (2007) and Deep Purple (2008 & 2009) Next month we will look at his on-going Ye Olde Metal series. Please feel free to enjoy my other book reviews in the overview of Popoff’s work.
Martin’s 4th band bio and third for Metal Blade sees him tackling the frustrating and enigmatic Rainbow. Well, enigmatic no longer as Popoff covers all the various comings and goings over the years. The cleverly named ENGLISH CASTLE MAGIC is much the format same as the other three titles in the Metal Blade series, paperback, about 220 pages long, black & white, brief intro and a discography. Again, it’s not much to look at with no photos and just a small picture of each album cover at the start of each chapter. However substance will win over style any day and this title is packed with goodies.
All the chapters focus on an album by the band, including the sole live album, and the compilation/live thing (Finyl Vinyl, which I have on cassette so maybe it should have been called Terminal Tape or something) and the ‘comeback’ album. Speaking of which that is a very interesting chapter as that tale of Ritchie’s one rock-slab stab into the 90’s (which seems like a really long time ago now) and the album, STRANGER IN US ALL.
Popoff covers lots of little extra areas as well as his traditional song-by-song discussion. He discusses the death of Cozy Powell, talks to Doogie White, touches on Blackmore’s night and other areas of interest. This is (I believe) the only book about Rainbow, so this is your one chance to learn about the music and history of this legendary band.