This week, I’m looking back at two albums that affected me in ways I didn’t comprehend at the time. A short mention of The Move wraps things up.
‘Paranoid,’ Black Sabbath (Warner Brothers Records, ☆☆☆☆☆)
Black Sabbath’s second album was originally released in 1970. It contains the band’s only hit single (the title song) and many of the songs that coalesced during German club gigs away from their Birmingham, UK base. These would form their live set as long as the original line-up stayed together (John “Ozzy” Osbourne: lead vocals/harmonica, Tony Iommi: lead guitar, Terry “Geezer” Butler: bass guitar/lyrics and Bill Ward: drums).
The fantastic, tempo-shifting “War Pigs” opens the album with one of riff-master Iommi’s best. The hit single is next, which was hastily composed when another song was needed near the end of the recording process. The lyrics describe a descent into madness. The mellow “Planet Caravan” allows Tony to show his jazz-guitar abilities, then “Iron Man” delivers a punch that has little to do with the Marvel hero. Other favorites like the harrowing “Hand Of Doom,” the Bill Ward solo instrumental “Rat Salad” and “Jack The Stripper/Fairies Wear Boots” contain loads of good playing.
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Black Sabbath and their highly individual music will never be equaled.
‘On The Third Day,’ Electric Light Orchestra (Epic/Legacy,☆☆☆☆☆)
Legacy re-released this 1973 album in 2006, and it contains some bonus songs. The band’s third release, it contains a thematically linked set of songs tested on tour, as well as Electric Light Orchestra’s first big hit singles. Birmingham’s Jeff Lynne, singer/songwriter/guitarist, knew that original tunes were needed to propel the band to a higher level; and this album did that.
Drummer Bev Bevan (formerly of The Move), keyboardist Richard Tandy, bassist Michael De Albuquerque, cellist Mike Edwards and Colin Walker and violinists Wilf Gibson and Mik Kaminski round out the band here. T. Rex’s Marc Bolan guests on guitar on early takes of the hit below.
The guitar-heavy “Ma-Ma-Ma Belle,” which was my introduction to the band, and the Motown-inspired “Showdown” are the hits. Their adaptation of Grieg’s “Hall Of The Mountain King” contains Bev’s most Move-like drumming. The new stage opener, “Daybreaker,” and the titular concept piece containing the beautifully sad “Bluebird Is Dead,” set the stage for the following concept album, “Eldorado” and many hits to come.
Birmingham’s The Move preceded both of the above bands: guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Roy Wood organized the original Electric Light Orchestra with Jeff Lynne and drummer Bev Bevan.
“The Very Best Of The Move” (Fly Records) contains 25 songs, including all of their British hit singles and key album cuts from each of the band’s varying line-ups.
Ricky Flake, a former punk rocker and current music fan, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org