Sunday, December 2, 2012

December 2nd, 2012 - Stout Between The Eyes

Good afternoon music and beer fans! The Meista here with another pairing for you... today I'm going with Sierra Nevada's Original Stout and Rainbow's wonderful 1982 album, "Straight Between The Eyes." (Yes, that is vinyl and yes it is signed to me by singer, Joe Lynn Turner!!)

Sierra Nevada Stout is one of their original recipes from the inception of the brewery back in 1980! It pours a nice, opaque dark brown with a fairly thin (.5 finger), tan head, but with very good, sustained lacing. The nose is heavy on the roasted malt side with notes of earthy coffee and a hint of hops. Very robust and well-balanced, the flavor is rich, chocolaty, and malty. This is a very smooth, very good stout without astringency. Nothing fancy here, Sierra Nevada Stout is a straigh-ahead, solid stout that is great on any occasion and especially listening to the guitar acrobatics of Ritchie Blackmore and his wonderfully talented group, Rainbow!

After the departure of Ronnie James Dio in 1979, Rainbow went towards a more radio-friendly, pop rock direction, first with singer Graham Bonnet and then with Joe Lynn Turner. "Straight Between The Eyes" would be the second album (and my favorite of the post-Dio era) with Turner and the sixth for the band. A bit heavier than the more pop-oriented "Difficult To Cure" album and opening with the electrifying "Death Alley Driver," this album is a wonderful, classic... perfectly produced by bass player Roger Glover and fantastically executed by the band: Blackmore on guitar, Glover on bass, Turner on vocals, David Rosenthal on keys, and the amazingly talented Bobby Rondinelli on drums. "Straight Between The Eyes" also contains the band's biggest commercial hit, "Stone Cold," a fantastic, heartfelt, rocking ballad (a favorite track of mine). "Tearin' Out My Heart," "Power," "MISS Mistreated," and "Eyes Of Fire" are also wonderful rocking monsters in their own rights. Blackmore's guitar work is flawless, ethereal, and inspiring; Glover and Rondinelli keep a powerful and thunderous rhythm; Tuner is a powerful and emotional vocalist... far too underated in my opinion. All in all, "Straight Between The Eyes" is a majestic, rich, well-balanced rocking album that goes perfectly with the tasty smoothness that is the Sierra Nevada Stout. (Interesting side note: apparently the album title came from a phrase Jeff Beck used in a conversation with Blackmore to describe hearing Jimi Hendrix play.)


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