Is there any cooler venerable rock wizard than Ronnie James Dio? He's like a weird uncle that breezes into town, hands you some arcane trinket, and imparts upon you some classic pearl of wisdom ("Don't talk to strangers.") And while Ozzy dodders and slurs himself into a charicature of rock excess, Dio ages with the dignity and refinement befitting a true monarch of rock. Dio visits me in my dreams and guides me through barren landscapes rife with metaphor and subconscious meaning, he is the Virgil to my nocturnal Dante, and often I awake with some song from the rich tapestry of his work in my head, and I am ready to take on any dragon, malevolent tyrant, or comely gypsy woman that seeks to impede my path. Most often it is a song from this album, Rainbow's 1975 debut, when the band still had to use Ritchie Blackmore's name on the cover to generate interest. Now I understand that this isn't some rare limited edition cassette, and you probably already have this classic in your collection, but this isn't about bulking up your hard drive with more files, this isn't about you one upping the dudes down at your local record store with a superior knowledge of obscure shit, this is about paying respects to one of rock's most loyal and long standing enigmas, motherfucking Dio. Sometime around 2003 I had the supreme pleasure of meeting the man himself backstage at The Regency in San Francisco, he was every bit as kind and attentive as I imagined and then some. He was class and poise personified. This is precisely why I love Dio, and just about every album he lent his powerful voice to. I guess it doesn't hurt to have Ritchie Blackmore on your side. This album, and the song "Temple of the King" without any doubt inspired the career of Tenacious D, the difference being Dio and Blackmore did this fantasy wizard rock before there was an ironic value, they did it with a steely seriousness and the chops to back it up. And Dio has almost four decades of staring down wyverns and dark knights under his belt. Word has it that Ronnie has recently been hospitalized (rumors are he suffered a stroke) and a tour has been cancelled. I am worried. So here I would like to wish Dio a speedy recovery. Long live Dio, Long Live Rock n Roll.