Classic Rock’s New Releases Round-Up
This week we offer you Ozzy, Black Country Communion, Rory Gallagher and lots of other musical goodies – some new, others not so new.
Words: Malcolm Dome
Thankfully now restored to their original state, the reissue of Ozzy Osbourne’s Blzzard Of Ozz and Diary Of A Madman (Epic) represents his finest post-Sabbath albums. Eve 30 years or more later, they sound so vibrant and essential. And almost every song is a masterpiece. Truly brilliant.
The return of Black Country Communion with 2 (Mascot) comes as they prepare to play the High Voltage Festival and to tour the UK. While it’s certainly decent, what this lacks is the out and out killer moment, something you’d expect from this collection of talents. But overall, it’s entertaining and nicely crafted.
The arrival of the double CD Notes From San Francisco (Sony/Capo) sees the release of both a previously scrapped studio record as well as a live recording from Rory Gallagher. The former was done in the late 70s as the Irish great’s ‘American’ album, but was eventually shelved as he went on to record the Photo Finish record. Now finally available, it’s actually a very impressive and rather rootsy collection of songs. At times intensely bluesy and at others more country oriented, the shame is that this has been hidden for so long. The live album, recorded at The Old Waldorf in San Francisco during December 1979 captures the man in prime form. Fans will not be disappointed.
New York’s O’Death have an almost chaotic folky approach to music. On new album Outside (City Slang), they deliver a virtually cinematic style of music that has a studied charisma. It’s inviting yet also a little distant. A fascinating record.
Belgium’s Triggerfinger, who will be playing at High Voltage, offer something that draws heavily from The Cramps, Black Crowes and the blues on All This Dancin’ Around (Excelsior). Like O’Death there’s a definitely a visual approach to the music. It slowly works a way into your sub-conscious and makes you realise that you want to return to the album. Again and again.
The arrival of s second volume of The Old Grey Whistle Test (Rhino) continues the celebration of the venerable programme’s 40th anniversary. But while this triple CD has one disc featuring performances on the show from the likes of John Lennon, Alice Cooper, Magazine, Little Feat and Tom Waits – the other two have artists who appeared on the OGWT, but these are merely original recordings. Doesn’t that rather defeat the object?
It’s incredible to think that just over a year ago we lost Ronnie James Dio. But the two CD compilation Mightier Than The Sword (Sanctuary) reminds us – as if we’d forget – of the man’s remarkable talents as both a songwriter and singer. Of course, there are omissions here, but covering his time with Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio and Heaven & Hell, it’s still full of classics. And this is the benchmark for which any aspiring vocalist should aim.
Finally, the debut album from Hell, Human Remains (Nuclear Blast) is finally out. Only taken the band about 30 years! They started out in the NWOBHM era, but broke up in 1987 after vocalist Dave Halliday committed suicide. Now they’re back with a new line-up and this album proves just what a superb band they are. Traditional metal fuelled by excellent musicianship and some eerily charismatic singing from David Bower. A titanic metal record.
Tags: alice cooper, Black Country Communion, Black Crowes, Black Sabbath, Classic Rock Magazine, Dave Halliday, David Bower, Dio, Elf, Heaven & Hell, Hell, High Voltage Festival, John Lennon, Little Feat, O'Death, ozzy Osbourne, Rainbow, Ronnie James Dio, Rory Gallagher, The Cramps, Tom Waits, Triggerfinger