Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Elf is the first studio album by Ronnie James Dio's blues rock band called Elf. Produced by Ian Paice and Roger Glover of Deep Purple, the record was released in 1972. In this album, Dio is listed by his birth name Ronald Padavona.
Though Dio had used "Padavona" for songwriting credits on earlier singles, Dio explained in an interview in 1994 that he used his birth name on this album as a tribute to his parents so that they could see their family name on an album at least once.
After this album, Steve Edwards replaced David Feinstein on guitar, and Craig Gruber took over bass duties, leaving Dio solely as the lead singer. This future lineup, minus Edwards, became the first incarnation of Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow when guitarist Ritchie Blackmore formed it after leaving Deep Purple.
By the time he came to prominence as the lead singer of Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, Ronnie James Dio had accumulated an extensive rock & roll résumé (longer than he'd like to admit, actually) performing with a number of groups, ranging from doo-wop in the late '50s to psychedelic rock in the '60s.
But it wasn't until he founded Elf in the early '70s that Dio, or Ronald Padavona as he was then called, took his first tentative steps toward hard rock. Still, with the honky tonk piano playing of Mickey Lee Soule dominating many of its songs, Elf's self-titled Epic Records debut (produced by Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover) hardly qualifies as a bona fide heavy metal record.
In fact, tracks like "Hoochie Koochie Lady," "First Avenue," and "Sit Down Honey" sound more like the Rolling Stones than Black Sabbath, and it's only occasionally ("I'm Coming Back to You," "Gambler Gambler") that the band produces truly stripped-down, gritty hard rock. "Never More" is perhaps the album's most interesting track, starting with lilting piano and a dramatic delivery from Dio (sounding rather like Freddie Mercury) before launching into a driving hard rock riff in the vein of his best work with Rainbow and Sabbath in later years. A must-own for Dio fanatics.
The band was formed in 1967 when the members of Ronnie Dio and the Prophets transformed themselves into the Electric Elves and added a keyboard player, Doug Thaler.
In February 1968, the band was involved in an automobile accident which claimed the life of Nick Pantas. The accident forced a shuffling of the band member roles as original keyboardist Thaler moved to guitar (after recovering from his injuries) and the group hired Mickey Lee Soule to take over keyboard duties. Upon leaving the group in 1972, Thaler moved to New York and got a job as a booking agent — Elf was one of the bands he booked.
Elf's self-titled debut album was produced by Deep Purple members Roger Glover and Ian Paice, who happened to see Elf auditioning in 1972. For the next few years, the band enjoyed mild success as an opening act for Deep Purple.
Dio both sang and played the bass guitar until, following the release of Elf's first album, Craig Gruber was asked to join as bass guitarist. In August 1973 Feinstein quit the band and was replaced by Steve Edwards. In 1974, Elf released its second album, Carolina County Ball. That same year Dio was asked by Glover to sing on his solo album, The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast. Dio's voice gained the attention of Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, who was beginning to tire of Deep Purple and was looking for musicians to record a solo album.
Apart from guitarist Steve Edwards (and percussionist Mark Nauseef), he decided in early 1975 to use the musicians in Elf for this album, and the band Rainbow was soon formed. Though Elf had been writing and recording its third album, Trying to Burn the Sun at the same time, following the completion of that album and the Rainbow album, Elf was no more. Trying to Burn the Sun was eventually released in the U.S. in June 1975.
♫♪♪ Ronald Padavona (later Ronnie James Dio) – vocals, bass guitar
♫♪♪ David Feinstein - guitars
♫♪♪ Micky Lee Soule - piano, organ
♫♪♪ Gary Driscoll - drums
01. "Hoochie Koochie Lady" 05:32
02. "First Avenue" 04:23
03. "Never More" 03:50
04. "I'm Coming Back for You" 03:27
05. "Sit Down Honey (Everything Will Be Alright)" 03:48
06. "Dixie Lee Junction" 05:09
07. "Love Me Like a Woman" 03:47
08. "Gambler, Gambler" 04:26