The Ozzman Cometh

CD Cover Ozzy Osbourne

Review by Darren Kerr

45-second excerpt from "War Pigs" (various formats)

After watching his royal Ozzness making breakfast in the documentary Decline of the Western Civilization Pt.II The Metal Years, I can't think of him as anything other than a silly English drunk. Dudley Moore with a flaming dragon tattoo. But I listen to this CD and it all comes back to me: getting hella stoned around the ouija board listening to "Black Sabbath," the first cut from the band's infamous album.

That era is celebrated on this double CD by unreleased live recordings of that same tune, plus a long jam version of "Behind the Wall of Sleep," a standard but solid "Fairies Wear Boots," and the piece de resistance, an early version of "War Pigs" -- with completely different lyrics. Can you imagine it? You're on summer vacation hanging out in front of the drug store, and those metallic molasses first chord comes climbing out the JBL speakers in your buddy's '73 Nova. Sudden stop. Bill Ward's cymbal count. Suddenly, Crang Plaza is hearing twelve drunken potheads in lumberjack chic singing, "Witches gathered at black masses/Bodies burning in red ashes." Weird, huh?

Onward. Ozzy's first two solo albums were great ominous, rebellion rock music. The majority of the songs are as good now as they were then. Here, we're given "Goodbye to Romance," "Over the Mountain" and "Crazy Train," but "Diary of a Madman" and "Sato" are such glaring omissions that I felt something akin to physical pain when I saw the track listing.

The remainder of this compilation focuses on the period from '83 till present where Ozzy Osbourne thinks, "Hey, KISS have Desmond Child, Bryan Adams has Jim Vallance -- I need a overly emotive ballad collaborator, too. Is Meatloaf available? Fuck it, I'll do it myself... "

First published in Drop-D Magazine on December 22, 1997

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