CD Review: “A Decade of Dio: 1983-1993”

“A Decade of Dio: 1983-1993”
Producer: Ronnie James Dio, Tony Platt, Mike Fraser
Discs: 6

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Legendary vocalist Ronnie James Dio may have passed away in 2010 however that has not stopped his legacy and music from living on. Thanks to Rhino Entertainment fans of the former Elf, Rainbow and Black Sabbath front man can experience “A Decade of Dio: 1983-1993”. The six album collection focuses on the first 10 years of Ronnie’s solo career which he embarked on in 1983. Remastered and packaged in a sleek box set featuring brand new artwork from Marc Sasso, the artist who was responsible for many of the band’s iconic covers.

The latest offering from Rhino Entertainment “A Decade of Dio: 1983-1993” isn’t just a collection of greatest hits. Instead you get the first 6 albums from Ronnie James Dio’s solo career in their entirety. Remastered and repackaged complete with replica inserts “Holy Diver”, “The Last In Line”, “Sacred Heart”, “Dream Evil”, “Lock Up The Wolves”, and “Strange Highways” all sound just as good as the originals. However I was a little disappointed at the remastering process as it didn’t seem to add anything to mix. If anything the remastering added a layer of thinness that was a bit shrill on the ears at time. Thankfully Ronnie and his bands performances are so strong on the included albums that you can easily get past the sonic shortcomings and enjoy the track for what it is. Tracks like “Last In Line”, “Egypt (The Chains Are On)” and “Gypsy” were some of my personal favorites while classics like “Stand Up and Shout”, “Holy Diver” and “Rainbow in the Dark” are always a fun listen.

If you already have these albums then there probably isn’t enough offered in this package to warrant purchasing them again. However for those looking to bolster their Dio collection then this set is worth its weight in gold. The recreated front and back album art and inserts is nice little feature as when you open up the main box it’s as if your getting 6 miniature LP’s. I think it would have been nice if the set came with a book providing background info/photos on the releases as I feel that would have given a little incentive to those who already have some of these albums to pick up this package. None the less still a cool offering, the set is available now on CD and will be released on vinyl October 4th.

Disc 1: “Holy Diver”
1.) Stand Up And Shout
2.) Holy Diver
3.) Gypsy
4.) Caught In The Middle
5.) Don’t Talk To Stranger
6.) Straight Through The Heart
7.) Invisible
8.) Rainbow In The Dark
9.) Shame On The Night

Disc 2: “The Last In Line”
1.) We Rock
2.) The Last In Line
3.) Breathless
4.) I Speed At Night
5.) One Night In The City
6.) Evil Eyes
7.) Mystery
8.) Eat Your Heart Out
9.) Egypt (The Chains Are On)

Disc 3: “Sacred Heart”
1.) King of Rock And Roll
2.) Sacred Heart
3.) Another Lie
4.) Rock N’ Roll Children
5.) Hungry For Heaven
6.) Like The Beat Of A Heart
7.) Just Another Day
8.) Fallen Angels
9.) Shoot Shoot

Disc 4: “Dream Evil”
1.) Night People
2.) Dream Evil
3.) Sunset Superman
4.) All The Fools Sailed Away
5.) Naked In The Rain
6.) Overlove
7.) I Could Have Been A Dreamer
8.) Faces In The Window
9.) When A Woman Cries

Disc 5: “Lock Up The Wolves”
1.) Wild One
2.) Born On The Sun
3.) Hey Angel
4.) Between Two Hearts
5.) Night Music
6.) Lock Up The Wolves
7.) Evil On Queen Street
8.) Walk On Water
9.) Twisted
10.) Why Are They Watching Me
11.) My Eyes

Disc 6: “Strange Highways”
1.) Jesus, Mary & The Holy Ghost
2.) Firehead
3.) Strange Highways
4.) Hollywood Black
5.) Evilution
6.) Pain
7.) One Foot In The Grave
8.) Give Her The Gun
9.) Blood From A Stone
10.) Here’s To You
11.) Bring Down The Rain

CD Review “Ronnie James Dio- This is Your Life” Various Artists

“Ronnie James Dio- This is Your Life”
Various Artists
Produced by: Wendy Dio
Tracks: 13

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Ronnie James Dio is one of the most beloved figures in rock history. His gifts, both as a singer and songwriter, are instantly recognizable, whether he was with Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Heaven & Hell, or leading Dio. Sadly, Dio lost his battle with stomach cancer in 2010, but his towering voice and legacy live on. To celebrate one of rock’s most powerful voices, an all-star group of his friends and fans recorded 13 of their favorite tracks for a tribute album that will raise funds for the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund ( Produced by his longtime manager and wife Wendy Dio, the album includes contributions by such metal heavyweights as Metallica, Motörhead and Anthrax, as well as appearances by many of the musicians who performed with Dio over the years.

Just the lineup alone with have metal heads clamoring to get their hands on this album. Everyone from Rob Halford and Glenn Hughes to Tenacious D and Killswitch Engage are here covering some of the most legendary songs in heavy metal. The thing I think I liked most about this release is that all the songs were performed in the same vain as the originals. That’s something you don’t find too often in tribute records as a lot of times you get re-workings of the original material which rarely lives up to the original. This was the complete opposite as each of the 13 tracks are a fitting salute to the original recording. Anthrax’s cover of “Neon Lights” is an explosive opening track which gives ways to solid performances of “The Last in Line” by Tenacious D, Straight Through the Heart by Halestorm and the always entertaining Killswitch Engage cover of “Holy Diver. However the real gems come in the way of the collaboration pieces. Corey Taylor and company do an amazing cover of “Rainbow In the Dark” while Rob Halford lends his soaring vocals to “Man on the Silver Mountain”, Metallica, A Light In The Black, Tarot Woman, Stargazer, Kill The King all join forces for the “Ronnie Rising Medley” which is something you definitely won’t want to miss.

“Ronnie James Dio- This is Your Life” has all the classic Dio songs we know and love but with amped up performances by some of today’s top metal artists and with Wendy Dio at the production helm each track takes on a life of its own blending both the new and old. Whether you’re a Dio fan from way back or a newer fan of one of the artists who appear on the album definitely pick this release up as not only will you be getting some really great music you will also be helping out a really great cause.

Track Listing:
1.) Neon Lights- Anthrax
2.) The Last in Line- Tenacious D
3.) The Mob Rules- Adrenaline Mob
4.) Rainbow In the Dark- Corey Taylor, Roy Mayorga, Satchel, Chrisitian Martucci, Jason Christopher
5.) Straight Through the Heart- Halestorm
6.) Starstruck- Motorhead w/ Biff Byford
7.) Temple of the King- Scorpions
8.) Egypt – (The Chains Are On)- Doro
9.) Holy Diver- Killswitch Engage
10.) Catch the Rainbow- Glenn Hughes, Simon Wright, Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo, Scott Warren
11.) I- Oni Logan, Jimmy Bain, Rowan Robertson, Brian Tichy
12.) Man on the Silver Mountain- Rob Halford, Vinny Appice, Doug Aldrich, Jeff Pilson, Scott Warren
13.) Ronnie Rising Medley- Metallica, A Light In The Black, Tarot Woman, Stargazer, Kill The King
14.) This is Your Life- Dio

CD Review: The Elves and Ronnie James Dio “And Before Elf…There Were Elves”

The Elves and Ronnie James Dio
“And Before Elf…There Were Elves”
Label: Niji Entertainment
12 Tracks
Running Time: 53 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

If you are expecting the Ronnie James Dio on this album that we knew and loved, you might be a little disappointed. This is a very blues-fused album with very early recordings from metal legend Ronnie James Dio. The Elves were formed in the late 60’s and are categorized as a mix between Rock, Honky Tonk and Blues. This album features 12 previously unreleased tracks from 1971 and are collections of both studio and live tracks. I definitely enjoyed the album and it definitely shows a different side of Dio that I never knew.

One of my favorite tracks on the album has to be “Stay With Me”. It is very catchy and very well orchestrated. The album runs a nice strong 53 minutes and delivers pretty strong from beginning to end. The music reminds me of a mix between “The Who” and “Grateful Dead” and a twist of the blues. This album just proves how much range Dio really had and he definitely nails it on this album. Although these tracks are 40 years old, the quality is quite notable especially since Dio’s Wyn Davis remastered from the original tapes.

Track List:
01. You Shook Me
02. Stay With Me
03. Four Day Creep
04. Buckingham Blues
05. Wakeup Sunshine
06. Driftin’
07. Smile For Me Lady
08. You Felt The Same Way
09. Simple Man
10. Drown Me In The River
11. Cold Ramona
12. Little Queenie