A disc for Ronnie Jame Dio fanatics like myself. The main point of interest on this disc is "Never More" a song that starts with melodramatic piano and a characteristically dramatic delivery from Ronald Padavona (Dio) before launching into a killer hard rock riff in the vein of his best work with Rainbow. Much of the rest of the disc takes on a Rolling Stones meets Deep Purple vibe, with a grittly hard rock sound. Elf was produced by Deep Purple Roger Glover, who definitely brings some of the Purple vibe to this record, especially on songs like "Hoochie Coochie Lady" and "Sit Down Honey." Absolutely an essential disc for Dio collectors and anyone who is interested in good 70's rock 'n roll.
Elf - Ronnie James DIO the Elf Albums (Connoisseur) 1974/1975
Trying to Burn the
Most people who follow the incredible vocal talent of Ronnie James (real name: Ronald Padavona) know that Elf was the band that began to give him a name for himself. It wouldn't be until Ritchie Blackmore "borrowed" Dio and his entire band (minus guitarist Steve Edwards) to record his first solo album "Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow" that Dio became somewhat of a superstar. I must admit that I did not hear Elf until well after Dio started his own solo career in the early 80's. Hearing them for the first time was a bit of a shock. Dio had spent years building up a reputation for being 'mystical' and 'the voice of heavy metal,' so hearing him sing lyrics like, "on a boogie woogie Friday night...", "good time music is coming back to stay" and "very, very happy that you are so happy" or "rainy days, rainy days, to many rainy days" was, and still is, a bit strange. There are some hints of the lyrical direction to come in "Streetwalker." "Magic, there's magic in the way you make me feel, like magic, magic...you always get me higher, voodoo woman you cast a spell on me." Well, maybe not. Still, if you can get past Dio's image, the music on these old Elf albums are quite enjoyable. As with most retrospect reviews I have read, I would have to agree that the music is reminiscent of early Deep Purple with a mix of country blues, early 70's hard rock and yes, even some 'boogie woogie'. Of course this could also have been because not only were the band big fans of Deep Purple, but also because DP's Roger Glover was their producer and they were even signed to DP's own label Purple Records. Certainly it is not the heavy metal we are use to hearing Dio's voice on top of. This 1991 English import disc actually respresents the band's second and third albums respectively; "Carolina Country Ball" and "Trying to Burn the Sun." The double album, single disc re-release also contains a few photos of the young Dio and his band as well as a biography of the band and what led up to their demise and the start of Rainbow.