Thursday, April 17, 2008

Black Sabbath Vol. 2...

Well, I got through the ‘Vol. 4’ chapters of “Rat Salad: Black Sabbath The Classic Years 1969-1975 by Paul Wilkinson and he gets it pretty right again. He made me chuckle when addressing the utter silliness of “FX”, choosing in the end to just let it go as something to be skipped over whether it be CD, LP, or Mp3.

Wilkinson now moves onto to the band’s next effort ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ his contention being that this record represents the band’s high water mark. His musical critique is so detailed that I had to again get out of bed late last night and grab the CD from downstairs (my iPod battery was dead). I also for the first time attempted to tune the acoustic guitar I keep by the bed down to “C” in an attempt follow some of Wilkinson’s track dissection. This did not work out very well at all. The strings were so loose due to the low gauge I use that it wouldn’t stay in tune even for a second. I got a good chuckle out of that since back in the day when my band wanted to play some of the tunes from these two records I remember pleading with them to tune down from standard tuning and was denied each time (I could have asked them to simply transpose the songs to their recorded key, but I would have had to know what transposition actually was). The shit was already a throat ripper to sing as it was, imagine trying to sing it two full steps higher than the recordings. Brutal…

Another motive for pulling the music out of the rack is that I’m unfamiliar with the song titles, even though I can recite every lyric from memory and can more or less play every song on both ‘Vol. 4’ and ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’. Both records were always on the turntable when I was a teen and since I’d listen to both from beginning to end, knowing the track listing by name was never a necessity.

‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ did once again raise the bar overall for the band, that I can agree with the author on, but this album also exposes a few chinks in the armor and is foreshadowing for those of us familiar with the decline and ultimate demise of the band. I maintain that Vol. 4 has a higher density of great songs (“FX”, if it’s even a song, is really the only thing ignorable), while on ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ the good songs are SO FANTASTICALLY good that they over shadow and more than compensate for the dreck (think “Who Are You?”). The fact that the band got their drinking buddy Rick Wakeman to spice up a few tunes with his mad skillz is amazing and he really adds a great deal to the songs he performs on.

I’ve been listening to ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ all day today (much to the chagrin of my fellow cube dwellers) and while I stand by ‘Vol 4’as the most worthy up to this point in the books continuum and the band chronological discography, I can easily see the arguments ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ pundits can make and it’s tough to deny them.

Onward to ‘Sabotage’…

6 Comments:

At 1:19 PM, April 18, 2008, Blogger Mathdude said...

...“FX”, if it’s even a song, is really the only thing ignorable...

"Changes" is completely unlistenable. Don't argue with me, you know it is!

 
At 2:52 PM, April 18, 2008, Blogger Tony Alva said...

I have no issues with "Changes" at all. Might have been over played by chicks in high school, but it's a good tune. I don't not lift the needle on it...

 
At 10:05 AM, April 19, 2008, Anonymous Rod said...

I have to agree with your brother, I will even change the station when "Changes" comes on.

 
At 11:39 AM, April 19, 2008, Blogger Jackson said...

'Changes' is weak, repeteitive, and sophmoric, it's only appeal is that it's the first Sabbath tune to not feature guitar. The second is the much superior 'Who Are You' which you summarily and mistakenly dismiss. 'Who Are You' features very cool low end synth swells, and the classical motif middle 8 is sublime.

'You're just like big brother
Giving us your trust
And when you have played enough
You just cast our souls
Into the dust...'

I love the chorus of layered Ozzys.

The song may have benefitted by being saved for Sabotage where it would probably have fit in better, but it's much better than you give credit for.

 
At 10:46 AM, April 21, 2008, Blogger Tony Alva said...

So the Wilson Bros and Mathdude are down on Changes. I just don't find it that bad. Sort of like 'Beth' from Kiss' Destroyer. I like'em both.

It was a great weekend weather wise here and we spent most of it outside washing cars etc... and had SBS in the CD player on repeat. I'll give you that Who Are You? isn't as bad as I first thought, but the repetitive synth thing wears me out. It seems like a cheap way to incorporate what was then a new studio toy into the record (Wakeman pobably turned them onto it).

 
At 12:18 AM, April 30, 2008, Anonymous mark said...

gotta side w/ the Brothers & the Dude. except that I think the lack of guitar is not appealing..
Been pulling out the olde albums tho, thanks for the reminders/reviews. I like all the Sabbath albums thru NSD, after that, sketchy. cheers.

 

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