It’s been a very busy week and that’s alright since I’ve been in a sort of blogging lull anyway and it appears most of those blogs I read have covered the news of the day pretty well, teen beat downs and all (FL white kids are charged with felonies for a group beating: I wonder if all the Jena Six ralliers will show up in support of dropping/reducing charges for these kids).
Last night I finally I came upon something worthy of comment. I’ve been reading “Rat Salad: Black Sabbath: The Classic Years 1969-1975”
by Paul Wilkinson that Mrs. Alva gave me for my birthday a couple of weeks ago. The overleaf accurately describes the book as such:Where Rat Salad diverges from routes taken by most rock biographies, however, is in its detailed analysis of the band’s first six albums. These chapters occupy about half the book and persuasively explain the appeal of the music, its compositional artistry and its audacious inventiveness.
I’m half way through it and it’s definitely a different read than I expected. In addition to being a UK homie to the fellows Black, Wilkinson’s a HUGE fan and accomplished musician who musically dissects the tracks of the first six heyday Black Sabbath records in excruciating detail (the self titled debut
, Wilkinson dismisses the next two Ozzy fronted records ‘Technical Ecstasy’
and ‘Never Say Die!’
as not worth listening to. I’m inclined to agree with him for the most part). Each chapter begins with historical context of world events, a brief synopsis of what the band was doing at the time, and a little bit of in studio coverage for each LP. The “compositional artistry” is a bit too much for me at times, but it has inspired me to fact check him and get re-acquainted with some of the tunes that I haven’t queued up in a while. The guy LOVES Tony Iomni’s guitar playing and sometimes his affection for Mr. Iomni’s multi-track solo indulgences is way over the top, but I find myself nodding my head in agreement to much of his analysis about these records and their songs. I forget that most of the tunes that made all these records were born out of his riffs. I think I’ve been hard on Iomni in th that past for being such a dick to Ozzy, but the truth is with that lot, SOMEBODY had to be the leader and he was simply more together than the others. Bill Ward, and Geezer were almost as out of control as Ozzy was it turns out. I’m also reminded that Geezer was the band’s lyricist, a job I seem to always assume Ozzy did.
I put it down last night as I ended the chapters related to ‘Master of Reality’
(awesome album!), as the ‘Vol. 4’
era begins. In his foreshadowing teaser paragraphs teeing up the Vol. 4 album, he states, “Vol. 4 would be a departure from the previous three records in every aspect” and attributes this partially to the horrendous amounts of cocaine the band was now consuming regularly. I thought that was a bit much until I reflected and juxtaposed Vol. 4 with the previous records and realized quickly that the fucking guy is right.
I happen to love Vol. 4. and it is my far and away favorite Black Sabbath album. I can listen to it front to back over and over again and it still gets my blood pumping after all these years. Although the others are great records, the sludginess of the prior efforts can sometimes send me to the stacks to find something else to play after awhile, or cause me to progress the needle forward. Compared to the previous three, Vol. 4 is decided up tempo (“Changes” being the lone standout and the most significant departure from their style up to that point). I’m looking forward to reading his rundown of each of it’s songs.
So, in the spirit of all this I’ll toss out a couple of tracks that kick major ass. If you don’t think so, you’re wrong and simply hate rock.
Give me love and I may let you see me,
Let me hold back the feelings I had
If you really want me to answer,
I can only let you know I'm not dead...
As always, simply click the player in the margin…