Malaysian Pale – Nature’s Fantasies (1987)

FrontCover1This electronic-based trio creates music designed to express visual scenes, both real and imaginary. Drawing on the knowledge of non-Western rhythms and scales, members Manfred Saul, Terry Kennedy, and Steve Mecca produce music that is evocative and accessible.

The electronic tone poems on Nature’s Fantasies project a quick series of images from around the world — from lush green jungles and Brazilian sunsets to the plains of the Serengeti and tranquil Japanese gardens. Nicely done, although it’s not particularly innovative. (by Linda Kohanov)

Nature’s Fantasies paints imaginative musical portraits of exotic creatures and climes, brought to life by the group Malaysian Pale. Their debut release is a vital mix of synthesizers, voice, guitar, and percussion. A boldly conceived collection of tone poems, Nature’s Fantasies projects a quick series of images from around the world: emerald green jungles, the Serengeti Plain, wind over the tundra, Brazilian sunsets, tranquil Japanese gardens, mysterious tunnels in Tunisia, and the streets of Rome. The music is an exotic blend of sultry samba rhythms and lush tropical scenes, combining seductive Latin ballads with atmospheric electronic soundpaintings full of light, color, and flickering shadows.

Malaysian Pale was a real energetic electronic group.

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Personnel:
Steve Mecca (synthesizer, bass, drum programming)
Terry Kennedy (vocals, synthesizers, sampling device)
Manfred Saul (synthesizer, sampling device, bass, drum programming)

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Tracklist:
01. Chase of the Bengal 5.05
02. Namorar Se Vida 4.23
03. Pond Life 6.01
04. Vanishing Wilderness 4.20
05. Oriental Watergarden 4.48
06. African Plains 4.03
07. Bellezzina 4.41
08. Tunnels of Tunisia 4.01
09. Silver Beach 2.15
10. Memories Of You 4.14

Music composed by Steve Mecca – Terry Kennedy – Manfred Saul
Lyrics written by Terry Kennedy

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Grateful Dead – Aoxomoxoa (1969)

Grateful Dead Aoxomoxoa 1Aoxomoxoa is a 1969 album by the Grateful Dead.[4] One of the first rock albums to be recorded using 16-track technology, fans and critics alike consider this era to be the band’s experimental apex. The title is a meaningless palindrome, usually pronounced “ox-oh-mox-oh-ah”.

Rolling Stone, upon reviewing the album, mentioned that “no other music sustains a lifestyle so delicate and loving and lifelike”. The album was certified gold by the RIAA on May 13, 1997. In 1991 Rolling Stone selected Aoxomoxoa as having the eighth best album cover of all time. (by wikipedia)

The Grateful Dead’s third studio effort was also the first that the band did without any Warner Bros. staff producers or engineers hampering their creative lifestyle and subsequent processes. As they had done with their previous release, Anthem of the Sun, the Dead were actively seeking new forays and pushing envelopes on several fronts simultaneously during Aoxomoxoa (1968) — which was created under the working title of “Earthquake Country.” This was no doubt bolstered by the serendipitous technological revolution which essentially allowed the Dead to re-record the entire contents when given free reign at the appropriately named Pacific High Recording facility. As fate would have it, they gained virtually unlimited access to the newly acquired Ampex MM-1000 — the very first 16-track tape machines ever produced — which was absolutely state of the art in late 1968. The band was also experiencing new directions artistically.

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This was primarily the net result of the budding relationship between primary (by default) melodic contributor Jerry Garcia (guitar/vocals) and Robert Hunter (lyrics), who began his nearly 30-year association with the Grateful Dead in earnest during these sessions. When the LP hit the racks in the early summer of 1969, Deadheads were greeted by some of the freshest and most innovative sounds to develop from the thriving Bay Area music scene. The disc includes seminal psychedelic rockers such as “St. Stephen,” “China Cat Sunflower,” and “Cosmic Charlie,” as well as hints of the acoustic direction their music would take on the Baroque-influenced “Mountains of the Moon” and “Rosemary.”

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The folky “Dupree’s Diamond Blues” — which itself was loosely based on the traditional “Betty & Dupree” — would likewise foreshadow the sound of their next two studio long-players, Workingman’s Dead (1969) and American Beauty (1970). The too-trippy-for-its-own-good “What’s Become of the Baby” is buried beneath layers of over-indulgence. This is unfortunate, as Hunter’s surreal lyrics and Garcia’s understated vocals languish beneath the soupy sonics. In 1972, Aoxomoxoa was overhauled, and the original mix — which includes several significant differences such as an a cappella vocal tag at the tail end of “Doin’ That Rag” — has yet to be reissued in any form. When the title was reworked for inclusion in the Golden Road (1965-1973) (2001) box set, three previously unreleased and incomplete studio instrumental jams — respectively titled “Clementine Jam,” “Nobody’s Spoonful Jam,” and “The Eleven Jam” — as well as a live rendering of “Cosmic Charlie” from a January 1969 performance were added as “bonus material(s).(by Lindsay Planer)

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Personnel:
Tom Constanten (keyboards
Jerry Garcia (guitar, vocals)
Mickey Hart (drums, percussion)
Bill Kreutzmann (drums, percussion)
Phil Lesh (bass. vocals)
Ron “Pigpen” McKernan (keyboards, percussion)
Bob Weir (uitar, vocals)

Additional musicians:

John “Marmaduke” Dawson – Debbie – Peter Grant – Mouse – David Nelson – Wendy

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Tracklist:
01. St. Stephen (Garcia/Lesh/Hunter) 4.31
02. Dupree’s Diamond Blues (Garcia/Hunter) 3.36
03. Rosemary (Garcia/Hunter) 2.03
04. Doin’ That Rag (Garcia/Hunter) 4.46
05.  Mountains Of The Moon (Garcia/Hunter) 4.05
06. China Cat Sunflower (Garcia/Hunter) 3.44
07. What’s Become Of The Baby (Garcia/Hunter) 8.17
08. Cosmic Charlie (Garcia/Hunter) 5.33

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Gov’t Mule – Live At Roseland Ballroom (1996)

FrontCover1.jpgLive at Roseland Ballroom is the first live album by the jam band Gov’t Mule. It was taken from their performance on New Year’s Eve, 1995, opening for Blues Traveler. It was recorded at the Roseland Ballroom in Manhattan.

The album was out of print for over a decade, and used CD copies sold for over 30 dollars (US) on amazon.com at one point. The album was reissued in 2007 on Evil Teen Records, the record label of Warren Haynes and his wife/manager Stephanie Scarmado. The reissue featured a cover of Voodoo Chile recorded after the death of bassist Allen Woody. In the reissue liner notes, Haynes relates that he chose to include this track, rather than a track featuring the original lineup with Woody, due to the audio quality of the recordings available to him at the time. (by wikipedia)

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The consummate power trio of the ’90s, Gov’t Mule drew on influences from Mountain and Cream to the Jimi Hendrix Experience. This, the band’s second album, was recorded live in concert with no overdubs, and it rocks hard. Warren Haynes and Allen Woody pull their experiences from several years with the Allman Brothers Band into the mix and turn out one impressive record. Highlights include the rock radio track “Mule” and “Kind of Bird,” co-written by Dickey Betts of the Allmans, a song that was still in the Allmans’ set list at the end of the ’90s. (by Michael B. Smith)

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Gov’t Mule’s first live album, has been out of print for nearly a decade and is highly sought after by fans and collectors. Evil Teen Records is proud to re-release this definitive recording Tuesday, May 1st, 2007. Originally released October 22, 1996, the concert was recorded on December 31, 1995, and is an early hint of what has become Gov’t Mule’s perennial New Year’s Eve run at New York’s famed Beacon Theatre. The recording rocks with original classics Trane and Mule; and a majestic cover of Steppenwolf’s Don’t Step on the Grass, Sam. A bonus track, Voodoo Chile, will be included from Gov’t Mule’s October 18, 2001 Roseland Ballroom concert. Live at Roseland Ballroom demonstrates Gov’t Mule’s prowess, ambition and importance, as well as why Warren Haynes has been heralded by his contemporaries and Rolling Stone as one of rock’s greatest guitarists ever.

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Personnel:
Matt Abts (drums)
Warren Haynes (vocals, guitar)
Allen Woody (bass)
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on Voodoo Chile (recorded 18 October 2001):
Jack Casady (bass)
Chuck Leavell (organ)

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Tracklist:

01. Trane (Haynes/Woody/Abts) 16.35
02. Temporary Saint (Haynes) 5.51
03. Painted Silver Light (Haynes) 7.11
04. Don’t Step On The Grass, Sam (Kay) 8.07
05. Kind Of Bird (Haynes/Betts) 9.45
06. Mule (Haynes/Woody/Abts) 8.57
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07. Voodoo Chile (Hendrix) 15.33

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Trombone Shorty – Say That To Say This (2013)

FrontCover1.jpgTroy Andrews (born January 2, 1986), also known by the stage name Trombone Shorty, is an American musician, producer, actor and philanthropist from New Orleans, Louisiana. He is best known as a trombone and trumpet player but also plays drums, organ, and tuba. He has worked with some of the biggest names in rock, pop, jazz, funk, and hip hop. Andrews is the younger brother of trumpeter and bandleader James Andrews and the grandson of singer and songwriter Jessie Hill. Other musical family members are cousins Glen David Andrews and the late Travis “Trumpet Black” Hill. Andrews began playing trombone at age four, and since 2009 has toured with his own band, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue.

Say That to Say This is the ninth album by American jazz musician Troy ‘Trombone Shorty’ Andrews. (by wikipedia)

This is the album that fans probably expected Trombone Shorty to make three years ago—a straight-ahead R&B disc. At the time, Shorty instead hooked up with Galactic’s Ben Ellman, whose inventive techniques transformed his studio sound on Backatown and For True, much as Daniel Lanois did with the Neville Brothers on Yellow Moon. And just as the Nevilles followed two experimental discs with the straight-ahead Family Groove, Shorty gets down to basics on Say That to Say This: No loops, very little hip-hop influence (and thankfully, no Kid Rock either)—just a soulful, band-centric album heavy on New Orleans funk.

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And you can’t get more New Orleans funk than a Meters reunion—the late ’70s lineup, with fifth member Cyril Neville—joining Shorty on “Be My Lady,” their first studio track together since 1978. Only trouble is that it’s practically a clone of the ’78 version on New Directions, which already had horns and an uncharacteristic smooth groove. You can hear why Shorty wanted to recut it—it’s a seductive ballad that deserved to be a hit first time around—but as a Meters reunion it’s a classic missed opportunity.

Another local classic gets echoed on “Fire & Brimstone,” whose opening bass groove brings Aaron Neville’s Toussaint-authored “Hercules” to mind. Both songs are full of street wisdom but while Neville’s song was tense, Shorty’s is triumphant, singing that music delivered him from the street life and vowing that fire and brimstone will always be in his horn. Co-producer Raphael Saadiq makes his presence felt with some of the most polished vocals Shorty’s done; this track is where his persona—tough, but warm and charismatic—really gels.

Saadiq’s hitmaking touch is a plus throughout; even the four instrumentals are concise and catchy (“Sunrise” is a lyrical moment, mostly with only horns and tambourine), while “You and I” and “Dream On” (no, not a cover) both energize with their rise-above sentiments. If a bit less progressive than the Ellman discs, this one can carry him to an even larger audience without losing the New Orleans essence. (by Brett Milano)

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Personnel:
Troy ‘Trombone Shorty’ Andrews (trombone, vocals)
Michael Ballard (bass)
BK Jackson (saxophone)
Pete Murano (guitar)
Dan Oestreicher (saxophone)
Joey Peebles (drums, percussion)
Raphael Saadiq (keyboards, clavinet, guitar, background vocals)
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Lemar Carter (drums on 06.)
Charles Jones (organ on 06.)
Taura Stinson (background vocals on 06.)
Calvin Turner (bass on 06.)

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Tracklist:
01. Say That To Say This (Ballard/Murano/Andrews) 2.56
2. You and I (Outta This Place) (Ballard/Murano/Andrews) 3.51
03. Get the Picture (Osborne/Murano/Saadiq/Andrews) 2.44
04. Vieux Carre (Peebles/Andrews) 2.46
05. Be My Lady (A.Neville/C.Neville/Porter, Jr./Modeliste/Nocentelli 3.32
06. Long Weekend (Saadiq/Stinson) 4.08
07. Fire And Brimstone (Ballard/Stevenson/Murano/Stinson/Andrews) 3.27
08. Sunrise (Andrews) 3.16
09. Dream On (Ottestad/Peebles/Ballard/Murano/Hollander/Andrews)  4.21
10. Shortyville (Saadiq/Andrews) 4.23

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The Troll – Animated Music (1968)

FrontCover1.jpgPart of the whole Chicago late-60s psych scene alongside their similarly well-produced Dunwich stablemates H.P. Lovecraft, The Troll released a few near-hit singles before this album. Originally released on Mercury’s Smash sublabel, this got not a whole lot of attention in its day…and that’s sad, because there was a goodly bit of psychedelia that probably shouldn’t have made it to the surface before this. It’s quality, although one definitely can tell it’s a ‘period piece’. Still, if it’s a fine 60s flashback you need, just drop this one on…

…and you’re greeted with fine fuzz and ticktocking percussion from the start of side one, with “Satin City News”. Now, it should be noted that the lyrics here tend toward a political and cynical bent…which is about par for much of the album. In amongst the psychedelia, there’s a certain darkness on “Animated Music”, although nothing that would tend to bum one out.

That same acerbic political tack continues on “Mr. Abernathy”, with its classic trem-guitar and poppy horns. While the tale on this track is certainly one of American political scandal, etc, the sound…in fact, the sound throughout the album…is very British. It’s not the sound you’d associate with Chicago at all, really…but something more Abbey Road-ish, with tinges of early Floyd here, a dash of Moodies there, and lots of tape spooling around ala Sir George Martin’s production methods circa “Sgt. Pepper”. (by Lugia)

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The Troll’s sole album is extremely diverse late-’60s psychedelia. It’s one of those records you can play over and over again without getting a grip on what exactly the group identity is. For many bands, such a description might be interpreted as a major compliment. The thing is, though, it’s not a record you want to play over and over again, because the material isn’t that good, and the eclecticism is not so much admirable versatility as contrived freakiness. At various times they sniff around hard rock, fruity pop-psychedelia, arch vaudevillian good-time music (“Professor Pott’s Pornographic Projector” and “Have You Seen the Queen?”), and slightly bittersweet folk-rock-flavored pop-psych. The influences of Beatlesque melody and vocal harmonies are strongly felt at times, and there are some periodic interjections of the kind of varispeed vocals and odd effects that major labels only tolerated for a few years or so around the late ’60s. There are glints of appealing fairytale aura pop-psychedelia here and there, as on “A Winter’s Song,” with its pseudo-British orchestration. Overall, it’s an unmemorable mish-mash, however, and the far-out jollity and menace it seems to often aim for is more forced than inspired. (by Ritchie Unterberger)

This entry is dedicated to all these crazy little bands from the Psch-Rock scene in the late Sixties including all these funny covers …

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Personnel:
Richard Clark (organ, vocals)
Ken Cortese (aka Ken Apples) (drums)
Richard Gallagher (guitar, vocals)
Max Jordan, Jr. (bass, vocals)
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Skeep Bushor (horns)

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Tracklist:
01. Satin City News 2.38
02. Mr. Abernathy 3.17
03. Fritz And Sweeney 4.47
04. Everybody’s Child 2.52
05. Solitude 0.32
06. I’ve Only Myself To Blame 3.47
07. Professor Pott’s Pornographic Projector 2.58
08. Have You Seen The Queen 2.20
09. Mourning Of Day 5.09
10. A Winter’s Song 3.59
11. Werewolf And Witchbreath 5.13

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Billy Cobham & George Duke Band – Live On Tour In Europe (1976)

FrontCover1.jpgThis isn’t a masterpiece of jazz rock fusion by any means, but it is tasty. Billy Cobham and George Duke, along with guitarist John Scofield and bassist Alfonso Johnson server up a generous slice of seventies fusion, without too much of that disco flavor that was beginning to permeate the genre at the time.

Duke, fresh out of Frank Zappa’s band, gets to show off his twisted sense of humor on Space Lady, which harkens back to some of the improv work he did with Frank, but remains a throwaway piece. Johnson’s Almustafa The Beloved, a vocal piece, reminds me a bit of Stanley Clarke’s early compositions, albeit without the impossibly fast bass licks.

Disco does rear it’s ugly head on Duke’s Do What Cha Wanna. But it is tolerable disco, until that nasty string synth comes in during the break.

Okay, he’s got that out of his system. Now back to fusion. Frankenstein Goes To The Disco is a drum solo piece, featuring Cobham with some nice drum synth triggers (far more advanced than Carl Palmer’s just a few short years earlier).

Johnson plays a nice, but not mind blowing solo on the Chick Corea-like Sweet Wine. And the album closes appropriately with Juicy, where each band member in turn gets to shine.

Not an essential fusion album, but not a bad addition. (by Evolver)

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Following two studio recordings, this impressive band hit the road and cut this session with keyboardist George Duke. Their encounter provided for an uneven, but infectious, recording. “Hip Pockets,” composed by Cobham, and “Ivory Tattoo,” composed by Scofield, begin the session with some intense playing. Things get a bit goofy with “Space Lady” (a song which probably worked better live), and a bit melodramatic with “Almustafa the Beloved.” “Do What Cha Wanna” features Duke on vocals and, ironically, made it onto Cobham’s Best of Billy Cobham. The closer, “Frankenstein Goes to the Disco,” is primarily a vehicle for Cobham, while “Sweet Wine” and “Juicy” are good jam sessions. Despite some corny moments, this is a fun session that continues to be one of Cobham’s most sought after recordings. (by Robert Taylor)

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Personnel:
Billy Cobham (drums, drum synthesizer, background vocals)
George Duke (keyboards, vocals)
Alphonso Johnson (bass, chapman stick, vocals)
John Scofield (guitar)
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Jon Lucien (narrator on 04.)

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Tracklist:
01. Hip Pockets (Cobham) 7.10
02. Ivory Tattoo (Scofield) 4.36
03. Space Lady (Duke) 4.37
04. Almustafa The Beloved (Johnson) 6.52
05. Do What Cha Wanna (Duke) 4.35
06. Frankenstein Goes To The Disco (Cobham) 7.10
07. Sweet Wine (Cobham) 4.00
08. Juicy (Duke) 7.20

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A chapman stick

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…