Friday, April 28, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Trying to Burn the Sun, by Elf

In 1975 a little known blues rock outfit known as Elf which featured a young Ronnie James Dio howling away on the mic released their third and final LP titled Trying to Burn the Sun. After this Dio and all of the members of Elf except guitarist Steve Edwards would form Rainbow with former Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. Before that however, they did one more album, which produced some of their finest work of all.

Trying to Burn the Sun is mostly blues rock based, centering primarily around the piano played by Mickey Lee Soule rather than the guitar like most bands usually do. It ranges from upbeat fun rock n' roll numbers like Black Swampy Water to slower, warmer ballads like When She Smiles. Overall it's pretty well rounded as an album and quite frankly the best way they could have gone out as a band, even though honestly they probably could have put out a couple more had Blackmore not taken over.

Good Time Music has to be one of my absolute favorite Elf songs of all time. The piano chord progression in some ways reminds me of a few later era Beatles tunes, but then it transitions into more of a gospel-like vibe in the chorus with a bit of honky-tonk in between. Dio's vocal melodies definitely have a great deal of soul and passion to them as well. The song gives you a rather pleasant feeling throughout your being when it's playing, so I would definitely say that it lives up to its name and then some.

Black Swampy Water as mentioned earlier is one of those tunes that really drives and gets you going. It isn't your typical fast paced radio rock n' roll tune, but it has a good pace and will lift your soul. In some ways the rhythm has a bit of this bounce to it, but it's so fast that it doesn't feel particularly poppy. The gospel-like vocals in the chorus are a welcome layer of substance to the mix for sure. This tune has more focus on the guitar than a lot of the other songs, which is good. Edwards was definitely no slouch on the axe. He knew his stuff.

Trying to Burn the Sun is definitely one of those hidden gems that you never would know about unless you were digging around through obscure stuff or were a big fan of Dio and all of the things in his catalog. Regardless, it is a gem nonetheless and is definitely worth your time to pick up and give a listen. There is bound to be at least one track you like if you're a fan of the blues, rock n' roll, and/or Dio. You might not have the easiest time finding it (unless you go online), but it's well worth it.

Trying to Burn the Sun, by Elf receives 3.75 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Black Swampy Water
2. Prentice Wood
3. When She Smiles
4. Good Time Music
5. Liberty Road
6. Shotgun
7. Wonderworld
8. Streetwalker

Buy the album on Amazon:

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