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 !

 

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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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Black Sabbath – Killing Yourself To Die (Live At Olympen, Sweden) (1977)

KillingYourselToDieFrontFC1The recording of Black Sabbath in Lund Sweden on the European leg of the tour in support of Technical Ecstasy has been in circulation for some time. It has been released on vinyl as Killing Yourself To Die (Stoned Records 4) and on compact disc Killing Yourself To Die (Bondage Music BON 041) and under the same name but labeled as a Westwood One Radio Network release, I own this particular title and it was pressed with two second gaps so I was very pleased to be able to obtain this concert, blemish free.

The band take the stage with Symptom Of The Universe, the only song from the bands middle 70′s era, sadly nothing from Sabbath Bloody Sabbath makes the set. Symptom is a great opening song though and leads the band into a heavy Snowblind, the crowd gets behind the band and clap in time with the piece. There is some nice keyboard addition to the song via Gerald Woodroffe that really fleshes out the live sound and adds to the bleakness of the song.

AdWar Pigs is super heavy, the band employs the sirens at the beginning that adds to the ambiance, the crowd again claps and this is where you can really tell that this is an audience recording, some of the clapping sounds near the recorder but in no way interferes with it. Bill Ward does some superb drumming on this song, his fills and time keeping is perfection and really adds to the feel of the song. Gypsy is the first of three new songs in the set on this night, It starts with a Bill Ward lead in and has a simple straight forward rock riff and average lyric that goes off a bit moodier thanks again to Woodruffe and Tony Iommi playing a more sinister riff. One of my favorite songs from the record, it is great to have some really good live versions of it, this is certainly one.

Black Sabbath is played with no solo or fanfare, it stands as a dark contrast with the rest of the set, so heavy and evil. Iommi plays the song to perfection, his leads breaks in the beginning are so tight, he is the star of the song. The band force nothing and sound like the song just ebbes out of them as if conjured from a fiery pit.

The band has a vehicle for soloing improvisation, it starts with Dirty Women. Iommi plays a nice solo using a wah pedal to great effect, again Woodruffe fills out the sound with some tasteful playing. The song is like a companion piece to Gypsy, both about evil women and are complex in structure. Towards the end of the song Iommi plays a nice blues styled solo before ripping into another wah flurry of notes Bill Ward is ready to take over but not before a brief bass and drum jam with Geezer. Bill then proceeds to cover all the bases, the crowd cheers him on and his two plus minute solo is well received.

Live01Rock “N” Roll Doctor is another Sabbath curiosity, the good time rocker if one can say a thing in regards to Sabbath, Woodruffe plays a boogie style and the whole things sounds more like Lynyrd Skynyrd than Sabbath yet strangely it works. The song is short lived and leads to a Tony Iommi solo spot. He has obviously been itching to let loose and at first chance lets it rip. The rest of the band comes in for a quick jam and leads into, with some keyboard help, a very ominous Electric Funeral. Its first notes sound like they are coming from a newly radiated blast, one of my favorite additions to the bands latter set lists the song works well in its live format. Still in the same long jam the band flow into a blues jam that has some great and almost funky playing from Geezer that somehow evolves into the classic N.I.B., resurrected after a long absence. The recording is a little thin during this some, Iommi guitar is not as high in the mix as one would like. Paranoid finishes out the main set in typical fashion and the band is brought back for a children Of The Grave encore that leaves the crowd wanting more. A great concert in superb sound !

Recorded live at Olympen, Lund, Sweden 1977-04-21

DoomsdayRecitationCoversSame concert released as “Doomsday Recitation”

Personnel:
Geezer Butler (bass)
Tony Iommi (guitar)
Ozzy Osbourne (vocals)
Bill Ward (drums)
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Gerald Woodruffe (keyboards)

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Tracklist:
01. Supertzar (intro) (Butler/Iommi/Osbourne/Ward) 0.27
02. Symptom Of The Universe (Butler/Iommi/Osbourne/Ward) 4.54
03. Snowblind (Butler/Iommi/Osbourne/Ward) 6.25
04. War Pigs (Butler/Iommi/Osbourne/Ward) 7.59
05. Black Sabbath (Butler/Iommi/Osbourne/Ward) 7.59
06. Dirty Women (incl. drum solo) (Butler/Iommi/Osbourne/Ward) 9.36
07. Rock And Roll Doctor (incl. guitar solo & improvisation) (Butler/Iommi/Osbourne/Ward) 7.28
08. Electric Funeral (Butler/Iommi/Osbourne/Ward) 8.09
09. N.I.B. (Butler/Iommi/Osbourne/Ward) 5.40
10. Gypsy (Butler/Iommi/Osbourne/Ward) 5.37
11. Paranoid (Butler/Iommi/Osbourne/Ward) 2.59
12. Children Of The Grave (Butler/Iommi/Osbourne/Ward) 4.39

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