|ELF & RONNIE JAMES DIO
Few singers can claim to have fronted three world-class rock bands that have made game-changing, genre-defining music, but with Rainbow, Black Sabbath and his own band, Dio, the late, great Ronnie James Dio could proudly claim to have made his mark on rock history with all three. But not everyone will be aware that prior to 1975’s Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow debut, Ronnie had fronted his own rock band ELF for three LPs.
Founded by Ronnie on bass guitar as well as inimitable lead vocals, and then going by his birth name Padavona, he was joined by his guitar-slinging cousin David “Rock” Feinstein (later of The Rods), and future Rainbow alumni Mickey Lee Soule on piano and Gary Driscoll on drums.
Coming to the attention of Epic Records in the States, ELF’s 1972 debut was co-produced by none other than Deep Purple’s bassist Roger Glover and drummer Ian Paice, then the hottest rock property on either side of the Atlantic, leading to support tours with Deep Purple.
Rather than the hard rock or metal of Dio’s later bands, on songs such as the single ‘Hoochie Koochie Lady’, ‘First Avenue’ and 'Never More’, ELF’s debut has a more honky-tonk, laid back, bluesier flavour, honed in and around the clubs of the band’s native New York and New Jersey.
This version features a brand new and extensive liner note by Classic Rock and Metal Hammer’s Malcolm Dome, based on new interviews conducted with band members David “Rock” Feinstein and Mickey Lee Soule, as well as Deep Purple’s Roger Glover and Ian Paice.
2 First Avenue
3 Never More
4 I'm Coming Back For You
5 Sit Down Honey (Everything Will Be Alright)
6 Dixie Lee Junction
7 Love Me Like A Woman
8 Gambler, Gambler