Black Sabbath – Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973)

FrontCover1.jpgSabbath Bloody Sabbath is the fifth studio album by English rock band Black Sabbath, released in December 1973. It was produced by the band and recorded at Morgan Studios in London in September 1973.

Black Sabbath released Sabbath Bloody Sabbath on 1 December 1973. For the first time in their career, the band began to receive favourable reviews in the mainstream press, with Rolling Stone calling the album “an extraordinarily gripping affair”, and “nothing less than a complete success”. The album marked the band’s fifth consecutive platinum selling album in the United States. It reached number four on the UK charts, and number eleven in the US. In the UK, it was the first Black Sabbath album to attain Silver certification (60,000 units sold) by the British Phonographic Industry, achieving this in February 1975. The album would go on to be regarded in high esteem by the band members themselves; when asked by Guitar for the Practicing Musician in 1994 which songs he would like to see on the upcoming Black Sabbath box set, Butler replied, “Probably anything off of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. The song “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” itself. It was a whole new era for us. We felt really open on that album. It was a great atmosphere, good time, great coke! Just like a new birth for me. We had done the first four albums and done it that way. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath was like Part Two of your life. It was a weird feeling; a good feeling.” In his memoir, Iommi calls the album “the pinnacle.” (by wikipedia)

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Singles from all over the world

The song “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” has been singled out for praise by many hard rock and heavy metal guitar players, with Slash from Guns N’ Roses stating to Guitar World in 2008, “The outro to ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ is the heaviest shit I have ever heard in my life. To this day, I haven’t heard anything as heavy that has as much soul.” Brent Hinds of Mastodon agrees, telling Nick Bowcott in 2008, “The ‘dreams turn to nightmares, Heaven turns to Hell’ riff at the end of that song is unbeatable.” Kirk Hammett of Metallica cites “Killing Yourself to Live” as his favourite Black Sabbath song, revealing in the Holiday 2008 issue of Guitar World that “A lot of people gravitate toward the album’s title track, ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’, but for me this is the stand out cut on the album.”

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With 1973’s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, heavy metal godfathers Black Sabbath made a concerted effort to prove their remaining critics wrong by raising their creative stakes and dispensing unprecedented attention to the album’s production standards, arrangements, and even the cover artwork. As a result, bold new efforts like the timeless title track, “A National Acrobat,” and “Killing Yourself to Live” positively glistened with a newfound level of finesse and maturity, while remaining largely faithful, aesthetically speaking, to the band’s signature compositional style. In fact, their sheer songwriting excellence may even have helped to ease the transition for suspicious older fans left yearning for the rough-hewn, brute strength that had made recent triumphs like Master of Reality and Vol. 4 (really, all their previous albums) such undeniable forces of nature.

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But thanks to Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’s nearly flawless execution, even a more adventurous experiment like the string-laden “Spiral Architect,” with its tasteful background orchestration, managed to sound surprisingly natural, and in the dreamy instrumental “Fluff,” Tony Iommi scored his first truly memorable solo piece. If anything, only the group’s at times heavy-handed adoption of synthesizers met with inconsistent consequences, with erstwhile Yes keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman bringing only good things to the memorable “Sabbra Cadabra” (who know he was such a great boogie-woogie pianist?), while the robotically dull “Who Are You” definitely suffered from synthesizer novelty overkill. All things considered, though, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath was arguably Black Sabbath’s fifth masterpiece in four years, and remains an essential item in any heavy metal collection. (by Eduardo Rivadavia)

And “Fluff” is another highlight in the history of Black Sabbath´accoustic tracks !

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Personnel:
Geezer Butler (bass, synthesizer. mellotron on 06., nose flute on 08.)
Tony Iommi (guitar, piano 0n 03., 04., + 06.,  synthesizer on 05. + 06., harpsichord on 08., organ on 07., flute on 07., bagpipes on 08.)
Ozzy Osbourne (vocals, synthesizer on 05. + 06.)
Bill Ward (drums, percussion)
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Rick Wakeman (piano, synthesizer on 03.)

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Tracklist:
01. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath 5.45
02. A National Acrobat 6.13
03. Fluff (instrumental) 4.09
04. Sabbra Cadabra 5.58
05. Killing Yourself To Live 5.42
06. Who Are You? 4.10
07. Looking For Today 5.02
08. Spiral Architect 5.32

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Various Artists – The Vertigo Annual (1970)

FrontCover1.jpgVertigo Records was the late 60s progressive rock arm of the Philips Records empire.

Vertigo Records is a record company, which originated in the United Kingdom. It was a subsidiary of the Philips/Phonogram record label, launched in 1969 to specialise in progressive rock and other non-mainstream musical styles. Today it is operated by Universal Music UK.

Vertigo was the brainchild of Olav Wyper when he was Creative Director at Phonogram. It was launched as a competitor to labels such as Harvest (a prog subsidiary of EMI) and Deram (Decca). It was the home to bands such as Colosseum, Jade Warrior, Affinity, Ben and other bands from ‘the “cutting edge” of the early-’70s British prog-folk-post-psych circuit’. The first Vertigo releases came with a distinctive black and white spiral label, which was replaced with Roger Dean’s spaceship design in 1973.

Vertigo later became the European home to various hard rock bands signed to Mercury in North America, such as Bon Jovi, Rush and Kiss.

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Vertigo is a division of Island Records in the United States and operates as Virgin EMI Records in the UK, which in turn is a frontline music group operation of Universal Music UK. In Germany, Vertigo has merged with Capitol Records and is mainly used for German rock artists. The label’s legacy artists include Metallica (outside the US and Canada), Razorlight, Rush (Europe) and Dire Straits (except the US). More recent signings include The Rapture, The Killers (UK/Ireland), One Night Only, Amy Macdonald, Noisettes and Thee Unstrung 2004-2005 and Kassidy in 2009. Black Sabbath returned to the label in 2013 (including the US and Canada for the first time via sister label Republic) until their dissolution in 2017 although former sister label Sanctuary Records Group acquired international rights to their back catalogue in the interim (the band were last on Vertigo in 1987). (by wikipedia)

And here´s a damn good sampler, the first sampler of the legendary Vertigo Label:

A two-LP label sampler from the nascent Vertigo label — Polygram’s answer to EMI’s Bookprogressive — psychedelic boutique, Harvest. Overall, for a label sampler, this was a better than average double slab of vinyl, with tried-and-true heavy cuts (from Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, Juicy Lucy, May Blitz) jostling for space with lighter stuff (Magna Carta, Dr. Strangely Strange). Rod Stewart turns up as well, with an early solo outing on “Handbags and Gladrags.” (by Steven McDonald)

The title of this double label sampler leads one to believe that there were plans for an annual release, but Vertigo never got any further than 1970. Contrary to the ‘Heads together’ sampler, this one contains previously released material only and so serves quite succeedingly as an introduction to Vertigo’s miracles.The contents are chosen with taste: almost every track is among the best from the respective album and therefore this sampler comes recommended for anyone who wants to start to explore what the fuzz is all about.Red foliage surely is a favourite of Keef the album designer. This time a naked lady on a dotted hobby-horse fronts the landscape. A small boy dressed in parade uniform plays the drum and looks at her. Quite striking.

The lettering is chosen in accordance to the ‘annual’ idea and could have been taken from any children’s annual of the times.

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Inside the horse’s head is displayed in a coloured negative photograph and also proudly quotes underground magazine ‘it’: Vertigo is the least pretentiously and most happily married of the ‘progressive’ labels to emerge from ‘neath the wings of the large record companies.

One of those indispensable samplers, with so much going for it – label design, musical quality, rare tracks, top audio and alluring cover pics – it has become a collectors item by own merits. One cut each from the sixteen first albums realeased by the label. Most represented here didn’t sell a lot back then and the originals can sometimes be hard to find or afford. I haven’t had or heard all of those so I can’t compare, but get the impression they picked the better or best from each.

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Some compilations have at least one downer regarding track choice or audio. On here I can’t find one thing less than marvelous. From the happy-go-luckys Fairfield Parlour “In My Box” and Magna Carta “Going My Way” over the heavy Sabbath, Juicy Lucy and Uriah Heep cuts to the jazzier Nucleus, Colosseum and May Blitz it’s all tophole.

Vertigo was a highly collectable label . and this sampler is the best way to start with this cult label…

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Tracklist:
01. Colosseum; Elegy (from “Valentyne Suite VO1”) (Litherland) 3.10
02. Rod Stewart: Handbags And Gladrags (from “An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down VO4”) (d’Abo) 4.26
03. Jimmy Campbell: Half Baked (from “Half Baked 6360010”) (Campbell) 4.43
04. May Blitz: I Don’t Know (from “May Blitz 6360007”) (Black/Hudson/Newman) 4.50
05. Juicy Lucy: Mississippi Woman (from “Juicy Lucy VO2”) (Hubbart/Campbell/Mercer/ Ellis/Owen/Dobson) 3.49
06. Fairfield Parlour: In My Box (from “From Home To Home 6360001”) (Pumer/Daltrey) 2.00
07. Magna Carta: Goin’ My Way (Road Song) (from “Seasons 6360003”) (Simpson) 2.55
08. Affinity: Three Sisters (from “Affinity 6360004”) (Hoile/Naiff) 5.01
09. Black Sabbath: Behind The Wall Of Sleep (from “Black Sabbath VO6”) (Ward/Butler/ Osbourne/Iommi) 3.41
10. Gracious; Introduction (from “Gracious! 6360002” (Kitcat/Davis) 5.56
11. Cressida: To Play Your Little Game (from “Cressida VO7”) (Heyworth) 3.22
12. Nucleus: Elastic Rock (from “Elastic Rock 6360008”) (Jenkins) 4.06
13. Manfred Mann Chapter Three: One Way Glass (from “Manfred Mann Chapter Three VO3”) (Mann/Thomas) 3.36
14. Bob Downes: No Time Like The Present (from “Electric City 6360005”) (Downes) 3.05
15. Dr. Strangely Strange: Summer Breeze (from “Heavy Petting 6360009”) (Booth) 3.42
16. Uriah Heep: Gypsy (from “…Very ‘Eavy Very ‘Umble… 6360006”) (Byron/Box) 6.57
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17. Catapilla: Changes (from “Changes 6360 074”) (Wilson/Calvert/Meek) 12.05
18. Gravy Train: Think Of Life (from “Gravy Train 6360 023”) (Davenport/Hughes/Barratt /Cordwell/Williams) 5.10
19. Jade Warrior: May Queen (from ” Last Autumn’s Dream 6360 079″) (Havard/ Field/ Duhig) 5.24
20. Mike Absalom: Frightened Of The Dark (from “Mike Absalom 6360 053 “) (Absalom) 3.25
21. Ramases: Life Child (from “Space Hymns 6360 046”) (Godley/GouldmanCreme/ Raphael ) 6.39
22. Patto: Give It All Away (from “Hold Your Fire 6360 032 ) (Patto/Halsall) 4.10

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Black Sabbath – Master Of Reality (1971)

FrontCover1.jpgMaster of Reality is the third studio album by English rock band Black Sabbath, released on 21 July 1971. It is widely regarded as the foundation of doom metal, stoner rock, and sludge metal. It was certified double platinum after having sold over 2 million copies. Master of Reality was Black Sabbath’s first and only top 10 album in the US until 13, forty-two years later. (by wikipedia)

The shortest album of Black Sabbath’s glory years, Master of Reality is also their most sonically influential work. Here Tony Iommi began to experiment with tuning his guitar down three half-steps to C#, producing a sound that was darker, deeper, and sludgier than anything they’d yet committed to record. (This trick was still being copied 25 years later by every metal band looking to push the limits of heaviness, from trendy nu-metallers to Swedish deathsters.) Much more than that, Master of Reality essentially created multiple metal subgenres all by itself, laying the sonic foundations for doom, stoner and sludge metal, all in the space of just over half an hour. Classic opener “Sweet Leaf” certainly ranks as a defining stoner metal song, making its drug references far more overt (and adoring) than the preceding album’s “Fairies Wear Boots.”

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The album’s other signature song, “Children of the Grave,” is driven by a galloping rhythm that would later pop up on a slew of Iron Maiden tunes, among many others. Aside from “Sweet Leaf,” much of Master of Reality finds the band displaying a stronger moral sense, in part an attempt to counteract the growing perception that they were Satanists. “Children of the Grave” posits a stark choice between love and nuclear annihilation, while “After Forever” philosophizes about death and the afterlife in an openly religious (but, of course, superficially morbid) fashion that offered a blueprint for the career of Christian doom band Trouble.

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And although the alternately sinister and jaunty “Lord of This World” is sung from Satan’s point of view, he clearly doesn’t think much of his own followers (and neither, by extension, does the band). It’s all handled much like a horror movie with a clear moral message, for example The Exorcist. Past those four tracks, listeners get sharply contrasting tempos in the rumbling sci-fi tale “Into the Void,” which shortens the distances between the multiple sections of the band’s previous epics. And there’s the core of the album — all that’s left is a couple of brief instrumental interludes, plus the quiet, brooding loneliness of “Solitude,” a mostly textural piece that frames Osbourne’s phased vocals with acoustic guitars and flutes. But, if a core of five songs seems slight for a classic album, it’s also important to note that those five songs represent a nearly bottomless bag of tricks, many of which are still being imitated and explored decades later. If Paranoid has more widely known songs, the suffocating and oppressive Master of Reality was the Sabbath record that die-hard metalheads took most closely to heart. (by Steve Huey)

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Personnel:
Geezer Butler (bass)
Tony Iommi (guitar, synthesizer on 02., flute, piano on 07.)
Ozzy Osbourne (vocals)
Bill Ward (drums, percussion)

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Tracklist:
01. Sweet Leaf (Iommi/Butler/Osbourne/Ward) 5.05
02. After Forever (Iommi/Butler/Osbourne/Ward) 5:27
03. Embryo (Iommi) 0.28
04. Children Of The Grave (Iommi/Butler/Osbourne/Ward) 5.18
05. Orchid (Iommi) 1.31
06. Lord Of This World (Iommi/Butler/Osbourne/Ward) 5.27
07. Solitude (Iommi/Butler/Osbourne/Ward) 5.02
08. Into The Void (Iommi/Butler/Osbourne/Ward) 6.12

All lyrics written by Geezer Butler

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Solitude:

My name it means nothing, my fortune is less
My future is shrouded in dark wilderness
Sunshine is far away, clouds linger on
Everything I possessed, now, they are gone
They are gone, they are gone…

Oh, where can I go to and what can I do?
Nothing can please me, only thoughts are of you
You just laughed when I begged you to stay
I’ve not stopped crying since you went away
Went away, you went away…

The world is a lonely place, you’re on your own
Guess I will go home, sit down and moan
Crying and thinking is all that I do
Memories I have remind me of you
Of you, of you…

 

Black Sabbath – Sabotage (1975)

FrontCover1Sabotage is the sixth studio album by English rock band Black Sabbath, released in July 1975. It was recorded in the midst of litigation with their former manager Patrick Meehan and the stress that resulted from the band’s ongoing legal woes infiltrated the recording process, inspiring the album’s title. It was co-produced by guitarist Tony Iommi and Mike Butcher.

Black Sabbath began work on their sixth album in February 1975, again in England at Morgan Studios in Willesden, London. The title Sabotage was chosen because the band were at the time being sued by their former management and felt they were being “sabotaged all the way along the line and getting punched from all sides”, according to Iommi Iommi credits those legal troubles for the album’s angry, heavier sound. In 2001, bassist Geezer Butler explained to Dan Epstein, “Around the time of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, we found out that we were being ripped off by our management and our record company. So, much of the time, when we weren’t onstage or in the studio, we were in lawyer’s offices trying to get out of all our contracts. We were literally in the studio, trying to record, and we’d be signing all these affidavits and everything. That’s why it’s called Sabotage – because we felt that the whole process was just being totally sabotaged by all these people ripping us off.” In his autobiography I Am Ozzy, singer Ozzy Osbourne confirms that “writs were being delivered to us at the mixing desk” and that drummer Bill Ward “was manning the phones”. In the liner notes to the 1998 live album Reunion, Butler claimed the band suffered through 10 months of legal cases and admitted, “music became irrelevant to me. It was a relief just to write a song.”

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Tony Iommi later reflected, “We could’ve continued and gone on and on, getting more technical, using orchestras and everything else which we didn’t particularly want to. We took a look at ourselves, and we wanted to do a rock album – Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath wasn’t a rock album, really.” According to the book How Black Was Our Sabbath, “The recording sessions would usually carry on into the middle of the night. Tony Iommi was working really hard on the production side of things with the band’s co-producer Mike Butcher, and he was spending a lot of time working out his guitar sounds. Bill, too, was experimenting with the drums, especially favouring the ‘backwards cymbal’ effect.” Osbourne, however, was growing more frustrated with how long Sabbath albums were now taking to record, writing in his autobiography that “Sabotage took about four thousand years.”

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Sabotage is a mix of heavy, powerful songs and softer experimental tunes, such as “Supertzar” and “Am I Going Insane (Radio)”. In 2013 Mojo observed, “Opener ‘Hole in the Sky’ and the crunching ‘Symptom of the Universe’ illustrate that, for all their problems, Sabbath’s power remained undimmed on what was what many consider one of their finest offerings.” In the article “Thrash Metal – An Introduction” in University Times Magazine, Vladimir Rakhmanin cites “Symptom of the Universe” as one of the earliest examples of thrash metal, a heavy metal subgenre which emerged in the early 1980s. Tony Iommi describes the song’s dynamics in his autobiography Iron Man: “It starts with an acoustic bit. Then it goes into the up-tempo stuff to give it that dynamic, and it does have a lot of changes to it, including the jam at the end.” The final part of “Symptom of the Universe” evolved from an in-studio improvisation, created very spontaneously in a single day and the decision was made to use it in that song. The London Philharmonic Choir was brought in to perform on the song “Supertzar”. When vocalist Ozzy Osbourne arrived at the studio and saw them, he thought he was in the wrong studio and left.[1] The title of the pop-leaning “Am I Going Insane (Radio)” caused some confusion due to the “(Radio)” part, which led people to believe the song was a radio cut or radio version. However, this is the only version of the song: the term “radio-rental” is rhyming slang for “mental”.

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“The Writ” is one of only a handful of Black Sabbath songs to feature lyrics composed by vocalist Osbourne, who typically relied on bassist and lyricist Butler for lyrics. The song was inspired by the frustrations Osbourne felt at the time, as Black Sabbath’s former manager Patrick Meehan was suing the band after having been fired. The song viciously attacks the music business in general and is a savage diatribe directed towards Meehan specifically (“Are you Satan? Are you a man?”), with Osbourne revealing in his memoir, “I wrote most of the lyrics myself, which felt a bit like seeing a shrink. All the anger I felt towards Meehan came pouring out.” During this period, the band began to question if there was any point to recording albums and touring endlessly “just to pay the lawyers”.

The brief instrumental “Don’t Start (Too Late)” is an acoustic guitar showpiece for Iommi, titled for tape operator David Harris who often despaired at Sabbath being prone to start playing before he was ready.

BlackSabbath06Sabotage’s front cover art has garnered mixed reactions over the years and is regarded by some as one of the worst album covers in rock history. The inverted mirror concept was conceived by Graham Wright, Bill Ward’s drum tech who was also a graphic artist. The band attended what they believed was a test photo shoot for the album cover, thus explaining their choice of clothing. Said Ward, “The only thing we didn’t discuss was what we’d all wear on the day of the shot. Since that shoot day, the band has survived through a tirade of clothing comments and jokes that continue to this day”. Ward, in fact, was wearing his wife’s red tights in the photo. Wright recalls in the book How Black Was Our Sabbath that the plan was for each band member to appear on the cover dressed in black and had been instructed to bring some stage clothes for preliminary photos, but when they arrived no black costumes had been laid out by the designers and “the original concept had been overruled.” The designers “carried on with the shoot, explaining they would superimpose the images at a later stage and that it would look great, honest. The session was unbelievably rushed, and the outcome was far from what had been originally envisaged … Ironically, the sleeve design that was intended to illustrate the idea of sabotage had instead become a victim of sabotage itself. By the time they saw it, it was too late to change.” In 2013 Mojo commented the cover “provides a rare moment of light relief.” On the back of the original album release, Geezer’s arm is extended as the reflection is different.

Sabotage was released on 27 June 1975 and peaked at number 7 in the United Kingdom and at number 28 in the United States. It was certified Silver (60,000 units sold) in the UK by the BPI on 1 December 1975 and Gold in the US on 16 June 1997, but was the band’s first release not to achieve platinum status in the US. For the second time, a Black Sabbath album initially saw favourable reviews, with Rolling Stone stating “Sabotage is not only Black Sabbath’s best record since Paranoid, it might be their best ever”, although later reviewers such as Allmusic noted that “the magical chemistry that made such albums as Paranoid and Vol. 4 so special was beginning to disintegrate”. Guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen told Nick Bowcott of Guitar Player in 2008 that the riff to “Symptom of the Universe” was the first Tony Iommi riff he ever heard and that “Tony’s use of the flat fifth would have got him burned at the stake a couple hundred years ago.” In 2017, Rolling Stone ranked it 32nd on their “100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time” list. (by Wikipedia)

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Sabotage is the final release of Black Sabbath’s legendary First Six, and it’s also the least celebrated of the bunch, though most die-hard fans would consider it criminally underrated. The band continues further down the proto-prog metal road of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, and this time around, the synthesizers feel more organically integrated into the arrangements. What’s more, the song structures generally feel less conventional and more challenging. There’s one significant exception in the blatant pop tune “Am I Going Insane (Radio),” which rivals “Changes” as the most fan-loathed song of the glory years, thanks to its synth-driven arrangement (there isn’t even a guitar riff!) and oft-repeated one-line chorus. But other than that song and the terrific album opener, “Hole in the Sky,” the band largely eschews the standard verse-chorus format, sticking to one or two melody lines per riffed section and changing up the feel before things get too repetitive. The prevalence of this writing approach means that Sabotage rivals Vol. 4 as the least accessible record of Sabbath’s glory years. However, given time, the compositional logic reveals itself, and most of the record will burn itself into the listener’s brain just fine. The faster than usual “Symptom of the Universe” is a stone-cold classic, its sinister main riff sounding like the first seed from which the New Wave of British Heavy Metal would sprout (not to mention an obvious blueprint for Diamond Head’s “Am I Evil?”). Like several songs on the record, “Symptom” features unexpected acoustic breaks and softer dynamics, yet never loses its drive or focus, and always feels like Sabbath. Less immediate but still rewarding are “Thrill of It All,” with its triumphant final section, and the murky, sullen “Megalomania,” which never feels as long as its nearly nine and a half minutes. But more than the compositions, the real revelation on Sabotage is Ozzy Osbourne, who turns in his finest vocal performance as a member of Black Sabbath. Really for the first time, this is the Ozzy we all know, displaying enough range, power, and confidence to foreshadow his hugely successful solo career. He saves the best for last with album closer “The Writ,” one of the few Sabbath songs where his vocal lines are more memorable than Tony Iommi’s guitar parts; running through several moods over the course of the song’s eight minutes, it’s one of the best performances of his career, bar none. Unfortunately, after Sabotage, the wheels of confusion came off entirely. Yes, there were technically two more albums, but for the non-obsessive, the story of Osbourne-era Sabbath effectively ends here. (by Steve Huey)

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Personnel:
Terry “Geezer” Butler (bass)
Tony Iommi (guitar,  keyboards, synthesizer, harmonica)
Ozzy Osbourne (vocals)
Bill Ward (drums, percussion (piano, Background vocals on  and backing vocals on “Blow on a Jug”)
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English Chamber Choir conducted by Will Malone

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Tracklist:
01. Hole In The Sky 4.00
02. Don’t Start (Too Late) 0.49
03. Symptom Of The Universe 6.29
04. Megalomania 946
05. The Thrill Of It All 5.56
06. “Supertzar” (Instrumental with vocalising choir) 3:44
07. Am I Going Insane (Radio) 4.17
08. The Writ / Blow On A Jug 8.46

All songs written by:
Terry “Geezer” Butler – Tony Iommi – Ozzy Osbourne – Bill Ward

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I’m looking through a hole in the sky
I’m seeing nowhere through the eyes of a lie
I’m getting closer to the end of the line
I’m living easy where the sun doesn’t shine

I’m living in a room without any view
I’m living free because the rent’s never due
The synonym of all the things that I’ve said
Are just the riddles that are built in my head

Hole in the sky
Gateway to heaven
Window in time
Through it I fly

I’ve seen the stars that disappear in the sun
But shooting’s easy if you’ve got the right gun
And even though I’m sitting waiting for Mars
I don’t believe there’s any future in cars

I’ve watched the dogs of war enjoying their feast
I’ve seen the western world go down in the east
The food of love became the greed of our time
But now I’m living on the profits of crime

 

Black Sabbath – Montreux (1970)

FrontCover1When this new title was announced and a sample was posted online it became a must have, a very early soundboard recording from Sabbath. The No Label company has had some stellar releases and this one is no different. The recording is excellent sound board with virtually no hiss to speak of and all instruments are well balanced and to this reviewers ears easily the best sounding document to come from 1970.
Obviously there has to be cuts in the tape since five of the seven songs played are from the not yet released Paranoid record and the signature song, Black Sabbath, is not present but fear not listener there is much to be enjoyed here.
The recording begins with some audience noise and the sound of music being played over the sound system, this leads into some guitar tuning, drum checks, and bass check before Ozzy saying “we’d like to start of with a number of our new album, its a number entitled Paranoid”. The song is very close musically and lyrically to the recorded version. The vocals dominate the mix but is quickly corrected and from here on out the mix is perfect.

The next song is a classic, N.I.B. the song about Satan in love is well honed by their time on the road and does not have any kind of bass intro, the band just kicks into it. After Ozzy introduces the next song you can clear hear Bill Ward count in the intro to Behind The Wall Of Sleep. With a more jazzy feel and a little more improvisation than the originally recorded version bill gets a little longer drum fill and Ozzy says “smokin” and the band rolls into the really jazzy part, interesting to hear the band playing their roots.
The song ends kind of abruptly as Bill Ward has broken his bass drum petal and is fixing it, Iommi’s toys with song notes that sound like The Wall Of Sleep.and someone speaks into the mic in what sounds like French and Ozzy introduces Iron Man. Musically similar to the recorded version the difference hear is lyrically with the “Is he alive or dead” versus coming first. It is obvious there order of the lyrics is still being worked on some on different parts of the song some different.

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War Pigs is next and the beginning chords are just so heavy, the lyrics are the Walpurgis version about black masses that would be changed in favor of the war mongering lyrics. Interestingly enough its Ozzy’s tale of getting beat up by skin heads that is identical lyrically and musically to the recorded version.
Afterwards Ozzy can be heard saying good night and the crowd cheers for close to three minutes before Ozzy introduces another new song, Hand Of Doom and goes through some P.A. checks before Geezer can be heard playing the introductory bass notes. As with most of the other new tracks lyrically there are more differences and similarities but musically it is very close to the recorded, or soon to be, version. quiet them bombastic at its very best.
To have such and early show in this quality is a treat, we have an excellent performance from the band and since the band were in the stages of recording / preparing the material for what is arguably their most famous album make this a must have. From what I am told Bondage is also releasing the title and would not be surprised given its fantastic quality this is a title no fan of the band should be with out. The packaging is simple, great relevant art work in a slim line jewel case, get this title and do it justice by TURNING IT UP LOUD !

Recorded live at the Montreux Casino, Montreux, Switzerland – August 31st, 1970

BlackSabbathLive1970Personnel:
Geezer Butler (bass)
Tony Iommi (guitar)
Ozzy Osbourne (vocals)
Bill Ward (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. Intro 1.23
02  Paranoid 2.59
03  N.I.B. 5.54
04  Behind The Wall Of Sleep 6.04
05  Iron Man 6.24
06  War Pigs 7.44
07  Fairies Wear Boots 8.43
08  Hand Of Doom 8.31

All songs written by Geezer Butler – Tony Iommi – Ozzy Osbourne – Bill Ward

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One of the best Black Sabbath bootlegs ever !

 

Black Sabbath – Same (1970)

FrontCover1Black Sabbath is the eponymous debut studio album by English rock band Black Sabbath. Released on 13 February 1970 in the United Kingdom and on 1 June 1970 in the United States, the album reached number eight on the UK Albums Charts and number 23 on the Billboard charts. Although it was poorly received by most contemporary music critics, Black Sabbath has since been credited with significantly influencing the development of heavy metal music.

According to Black Sabbath guitarist and founder member Tony Iommi, the group’s debut album was recorded in a single day on 16 October 1969. The session lasted twelve hours. Iommi said: “We just went in the studio and did it in a day, we played our live set and that was it. We actually thought a whole day was quite a long time, then off we went the next day to play for £20 in Switzerland.” Aside from the bells, thunder and rain sound effects added to the beginning of the opening track, and the double-tracked guitar solos on “N.I.B.,” there were virtually no overdubs added to the album. Iommi recalls recording live: “We thought, ‘We have two days to do it and one of the days is mixing.’ So we played live. Ozzy (Osbourne) was singing at the same time, we just put him in a separate booth and off we went. We never had a second run of most of the stuff.”

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Key to the band’s new sound on the album is Iommi’s distinctive playing style that he developed after an accident at a sheet metal factory where he was working at the age of 17 in which the tips of the middle fingers of his fretting hand were severed. Iommi created a pair of false fingertips using plastic from a dish detergent bottle and detuned the strings on his guitar to make it easier for him to bend the strings, creating a massive, heavy sound. “I’d play a load of chords and I’d have to play fifths because I couldn’t play fourths because of my fingers,” Iommi explained to Phil Alexander in Mojo in 2013. “That helped me develop my style of playing, bending the strings and hitting the open string at the same time just to make the sound wilder.” In the same article bassist Geezer Butler added, “Back then the bass player was supposed to do all these melodic runs, but I didn’t know how to do that because I’d been a guitarist, so all I did was follow Tony’s riff. That made the sound heavier.”

Iommi began recording the album with a white Fender Stratocaster, his guitar of choice at the time, but a malfunctioning pickup forced him to finish recording with a Gibson SG, a guitar he had recently purchased as a backup but had “never really played”. The SG was a right-handed model which the left-handed Iommi played upside down. Soon after recording the album, he met a right-handed guitarist who was playing a left-handed SG upside down, and the two agreed to swap guitars; this is the SG that Iommi modified and later “put out to pasture” at the Hard Rock Cafe.

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Sabbath vocalist Ozzy Osbourne has always spoken fondly of the recording of the band’s debut album, stating in his autobiography I Am Ozzy, “Once we’d finished, we spent a couple of hours double-tracking some of the guitar and vocals, and that was that. Done. We were in the pub in time for last orders. It can’t have taken any longer than twelve hours in total. That’s how albums should be made, in my opinion.” Drummer Bill Ward agrees, telling Guitar World in 2001, “I think the first album is just absolutely incredible. It’s naïve, and there’s an absolute sense of unity – it’s not contrived in any way, shape or form. We weren’t old enough to be clever. I love it all, including the mistakes!” In an interview for the Classic Albums series in 2010 Butler added, “It was literally live in the studio. I mean, (producer) Rodger Bain, I think he’s a genius the way he captured the band in such a short time.” In his autobiography Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven & Hell with Black Sabbath, Iommi plays down the producer’s role, insisting, “We didn’t choose to work with Rodger Bain, he was chosen for us… He was good to have around, but we didn’t really get a lot of advice from him. He maybe suggested a couple of things, but the songs were already fairly structured and sorted.”

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According to AllMusic’s Steve Huey, Black Sabbath marks “the birth of heavy metal as we now know it”. In his opinion, the album “transcends its clear roots in blues-rock and psychedelia to become something more”. He ascribes its “sonic ugliness” as a reflection of “the bleak industrial nightmare” of the group’s hometown, Birmingham, England. Huey notes the first side’s allusions to themes characteristic of heavy metal, including evil, paganism, and the occult, “as filtered through horror films and the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, H.P. Lovecraft, and Dennis Wheatley.” He characterises side two as “given over to loose blues-rock jamming learned through” the English rock band Cream.

In the opinion of the author and former Metal Maniacs magazine editor Jeff Wagner, Black Sabbath is the “generally accepted starting point” when heavy metal “became distinct from rock and roll”. In his opinion, the album transfigured blues rock into “something uglier, found deeper gravity via mournful singing and a sinister rhythmic pulse”. According to Rolling Stone magazine, “the album that arguably invented heavy metal was built on thunderous blues-rock”. Sputnikmusic’s Mike Stagno notes that Black Sabbath’s combined elements of rock, jazz and blues, with heavy distortion created one of the most influential albums in the history of heavy metal. In retrospect, Black Sabbath has been lauded as perhaps the first true heavy metal album. It has also been credited as the first record in the stoner rock and goth genres.

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Taking a broader perspective, Pete Prown of Vintage Guitar Magazine says, “The debut Black Sabbath album of 1970 was a watershed moment in heavy rock, but it was part of a larger trend of artists, producers, and engineers already moving towards the sound we now call hard rock and heavy metal. The previous year had already seen authentic, metal-edged music from Led Zeppelin (“Whole Lotta Love,” “Heartbreaker”) and the Jeff Beck Group (“Plynth”), as well as the new trio Mountain, which played a breakthrough performance at the Woodstock festival in August, 1969. Sabbath’s debut LP in the UK (Feb. 1970) was matched a few weeks later by Mountain’s Climbing! album and its proto-metal hit, ‘Mississippi Queen.’ So while Black Sabbath was a crucial band in heavy metal’s arrival, it’s important to remember they were not alone. The year 1970 further saw pivotal early metal releases from Deep Purple and Uriah Heep, as well as Sabbath’s own Paranoid album that fall. Even the track ‘Immigrant Song’ from Led Zeppelin III can be reasonably categorized as metal.”

BlackSabbath05Black Sabbath’s music and lyrics were quite dark for the time. The opening track is based almost entirely on a tritone interval played at slow tempo on the electric guitar.[14] In the 2010 Classic Albums documentary on the making of the band’s second album Paranoid, Geezer Butler claims the riff was inspired by “Mars, the Bringer of War,” a movement in Gustav Holst’s The Planets. Iommi reinterpreted the riff slightly and redefined the band’s direction. Ward told Classic Albums, “When Oz sang ‘What is this that stands before me?’ it became completely different…this was a different lyric now, this was a different feel. I was playing drums to the words.” The song’s lyrics concern a “figure in black” which bassist Geezer Butler claims to have seen after waking up from a nightmare. In the liner notes to the band’s 1998 live album Reunion the bassist remembers:

I’d been raised a Catholic so I totally believed in the Devil. There was a weekly magazine called Man, Myth and Magic that I started reading which was all about Satan and stuff. That and books by Aleister Crowley and Denis Wheatley, especially The Devil Rides Out…I’d moved into this flat I’d painted black with inverted crosses everywhere. Ozzy gave me this 16th Century book about magic that he’d stolen from somewhere. I put it in the airing cupboard because I wasn’t sure about it. Later that night I woke up and saw this black shadow at the end of the bed. It was a horrible presence that frightened the life out of me! I ran to the airing cupboard to throw the book out, but the book had disappeared. After that I gave up all that stuff. It scared me shitless.

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Similarly, the lyrics of the song “N.I.B.” are written from the point of view of Lucifer, who falls in love with a human woman and “becomes a better person” according to lyricist Butler. Contrary to popular belief, the name of that song is not an abbreviation for “Nativity in Black”; according to Osbourne’s autobiography it is merely a reference to drummer Bill Ward’s pointed goatee at the time, which was shaped as a pen-nib. The lyrics of two other songs on the album were written about stories with mythological themes. “Behind the Wall of Sleep” is a reference to the H. P. Lovecraft short story Beyond the Wall of Sleep, while “The Wizard” was inspired by the character of Gandalf from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The latter includes harmonica performed by Osbourne. The band also recorded a cover of “Evil Woman”, a song that had been an American hit for the band Crow. In his autobiography, Iommi admits the band reluctantly agreed to do the song at the behest of their manager Jim Simpson, who insisted they record something commercial.

The Black Sabbath album cover features a depiction of Mapledurham Watermill, situated on the River Thames in Oxfordshire, England. Standing in front of the watermill is a figure dressed in black. The name of the woman pictured on the front cover is forgotten, though guitarist Iommi says that she once showed up backstage at a Black Sabbath show and introduced herself. According to feelnumb.com, which featured an article on the album cover, ‘Not much is known about the eerie woman used in the photo other then she was a model/actress hired for the day and her name was Louise.’

BlackSabbath07The inner gatefold sleeve of the original release was designed by Keith McMillan (credited as Marcus Keef) and featured an inverted cross with a poem written inside of it. Allegedly, the band were upset when they discovered this, as it fuelled allegations that they were Satanists or Occultists; however, in Osbourne’s memoir, he says that to the best of his knowledge nobody was upset with the inclusion.[ “Suddenly we had all these crazy people turning up at shows,” Iommi remembered in Mojo in 2013. “I think Alex Sanders (high priest of the Wiccan religion) turned up at a gig once. It was all quite strange, really.” The album was not packaged with a gatefold cover in the US. In the liner notes to Reunion, Phil Alexander states, “Unbeknownst to the band, Black Sabbath was launched in the US with a party with the head of the Church of Satan, Anton Lavey, presiding over the proceedings…All of a sudden Sabbath were Satan’s Right Hand Men.”

Black Sabbath was recorded for Fontana Records, but prior to release the record company elected to switch the band to another of their labels, Vertigo Records, which housed the company’s more progressive acts. Released on Friday the 13th February 1970 by Vertigo Records, Black Sabbath reached number eight on the UK Albums Charts. Following its United States release in June 1970 by Warner Bros. Records, the album reached number 23 on the Billboard 200, where it remained for more than a year and sold one million copies.

Handbill1Black Sabbath received primarily negative reviews from contemporary music critics.[30] Rolling Stone’s Lester Bangs described the band as, “just like Cream! But worse,” and he dismissed the album as “a shuck – despite the murky songtitles and some inane lyrics that sound like Vanilla Fudge paying doggerel tribute to Aleister Crowley, the album has nothing to do with spiritualism, the occult, or anything much except stiff recitations of Cream clichés.” Robert Christgau, writing for The Village Voice, panned the album as “bullshit necromancy.” He later described it as a reflection of “the worst of the counterculture,” including “drug-impaired reaction time” and “long solos.”

Retrospective reviews of Black Sabbath have been positive. In AllMusic, Huey said it was a highly innovative debut album with several classic metal songs, including the title track, which he felt had the “most definitive heavy metal riffs of all time.” Huey was also impressed by how the band’s “slowed-down, murky guitar rock bludgeons the listener in an almost hallucinatory fashion, reveling in its own dazed, druggy state of consciousness.” In The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), the journalist Scott Seward highlighted Bain’s grandiose production on “an album that eats hippies for breakfast.” In the opinion of Mike Stagno of Sputnikmusic, “both fans of blues influenced hard rock and heavy metal of all sorts should find something they like on the album.” BBC Music’s Pete Marsh referred to Black Sabbath as an “album that changed the face of rock music.” (by wikipedia)

In other words: A masterpiece in the history of hard-rock !

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Personnel:

Geezer Butler (bass)
Tony Iommi (guitar)
Ozzy Osbourne (vocals, harmonica on 02.)
Bill Ward (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. Black Sabbath (Iommi/Butler/Ward/Osbourne) 6.20
02. The Wizard (Iommi/Butler/Ward/Osbourne) 4.24
03. Behind The Wall If Sleep (Iommi/Butler/Ward/Osbourne) 3.37
04. N.I.B. (Iommi/Butler/Ward/Osbourne) 6.08
05. Evil Woman (L.Weigand/D.Weigand/Wagner) 3.25
06. Sleeping Village (Iommi/Butler/Ward/Osbourne) 3.46
07. Warning (Dunbar/Dmochowski/Hickling/Moorshead) 10.28
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08. Wicked World (taken from the US edition) (Iommi/Butler/Ward/Osbourne) 4.43
09. The Wizard [Outtake] (Iommi/Butler/Ward/Osbourne) 4.46
10. Behind The Wall Of Sleep [Outtake] (Iommi/Butler/Ward/Osbourne) 3.41
11. N.I.B. [Instrumental] (Iommi/Butler/Ward/Osbourne) 6.09
12. Evil Woman [alternate version] (L.Weigand/D.Weigand/Wagner) 3.47
13. Sleeping Village (Intro) [Alternate Version] (Iommi/Butler/Ward/Osbourne) 3.45
14. Warning (Pt. 1) [Outtake] (Dunbar/Dmochowski/Hickling/Moorshead) 6.58
15. US Radiospot for their first album 0.56

 

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Black Sabbath – War Pigs (1970)

FrontCover1This show has long been a fan favourite, because of the classic line-up and also because of the very good audio. This show has also been known as Paris War Pigs, and wrongly listed as taking place in Paris on December 20, 1970.

Those were the days when Black Sabbath really meant something.

This is a must have for Sabbath fans – great show just 3 months after Paranoid was released!

Black Sabbath was in thesedays a hungry, young band – it doesn’t get much better than this. Listen + enjoy !

Recorded live at Theatre 140, Brussels, Belgium; October 3, 1970.
Very good to excellent soundboard (audio from Belgian TV broadcast?)

BlackSabbathLive1970Personnel:
Geezer Butler (bass)
Tony Iommi (guitar)
Ozzy Osbourne (vocals)
Bill Ward (drums)

BackCover1Tracklist:
01. Paranoid 3:09
02. Hand Of Doom 8.12
03. Iron Man 627
04. Black Sabbath 8.37
05. NIB 5.51
06. Behind The Wall Of Sleep 5.24
07. War Pigs 7.59
08. Fairies Wear Boots 6.47

All songs written by Geezer Butler – Tony Iommi – Ozzy Osbourne – Bill Ward

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