On June 10, 1982, "Rainbow" released their sixth album, "Straight Between The Eyes".
The name of the album came from a sentence Jeff Beck told Ritchie Blackmore to describe Jimi Hendrix's playing. Indeed, the album cover features the neck of the "Fender Stratocaster" guitar (Jimi and Ritchie's favorite guitar) emerging from the eyes of a cartoon character.
This is the band's second album in lead singer Joe Lynn Turner's era, a period that was characterized by softening the band's sound, aiming into the mainstream, high charts, and sweet ballads.
The lineup on this album is exactly the same as on the previous album "Difficult to Cure" released in 1981, minus keyboardist David Rosenthal who replaced his predecessor Don Airey.
The album opens with the song "Death Alley Driver" and from the very first note of the guitar emerging between the drum beats, you can see that this is actually a skinny version of "Highway Star". The sound of the roaring motorcycle engine at the beginning of the song, the riff with the monotonous rhythm, and especially the guitar solo show that this is indeed an attempt to recreate the magical moments of the original song from the mother band, "Deep Purple".
The first ballad meets us already in the second song "Stone Cold", which was also the first single the band released from the album. There is no doubt that Joe Lynn Turner's voice range is tailored to ballads of this kind and it sounds excellent here. There is nothing to add to Ritchie Blackmore's professional playing, and Rosenthal's keyboards only add to the "classics" of the song. But the strength of this song lies precisely on the shoulders of Roger Glover's and drummer Bobby Rondinelli rhythm section.
By the way, Roger Glover, who produced the album, recognized Rodinelli's dominant drumming style and made sure to bring the drum channels forward in the mix and production, even in ballads like "Stone Cold" and "Tearin' Out My Heart". Rodinelli's solid and aggressive drumming style drives the songs and sweeps the rest of the band members after him.
And there’s also the “quiet power” in the form of the amazing keyboardist David Rosenthal, who although has just entered the band contributed so much to the overall sound of the album, especially as heard in the amazing song “Eyes of Fire” with oriental touches reminiscent of the old Ronnie James Dio days. Rosenthal also got to participate in writing one of the most beautiful songs on the album "MISS Mistreated" and Ritchie Blackmore even praised him with a really short intro that opened it.
This album is certainly not one of "Rainbow's" creative highlights, but at the same time, it is probably the best album of the Joe Lynn Turner era.
What still saves this album is Ritchie Blackmore's uncompromising playing, which stands out not only in his virtuoso and melodic solos, but especially in the classic riffs that hold songs like "Power" and "Rock Fever".
This time we chose to attach a link to a complete performance of the band that took place in San Antonio during the tour to promote the album in 1982. The performance includes songs from "Rainbow" albums alongside classics by "Deep Purple". Ritchie Blackmore is seen and heard here at his peak: