Ozzy Osbourne (1981) Diary of a Madman (LP) Jet Records 37492

Ozzy Osbourne

Diary of a Madman 

Jet Records 37492

Produced by Max Norman, Ozzy Osbourne and Randy Rhoads

1981

**** Recommended


Ozzy’s second solo album, without a doubt his second best.

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This would be his last with the Blizzard of Ozz band: guitarist Randy Rhoads (ex-Quiet Riot), bassist Bob Daisley (ex-Rainbow) and drummer Lee Kerslake (ex-Uriah Heep).  Most of the songs are credited to all four members, two credited to all except Kerslake.


Within a year’s time the entire band would depart, Rhoads the last to go–dying in a plane crash early in 1982.


After two mediocre albums (Bark at the Moon in 1983 and the Ultimate Sin in 1986), he’d hook up for a long-term relationship with guitarist Zakk Wylde for the forgettable No Rest For the Wicked album in 1988, two noteworthy albums in the 1990s (No More Tears in 1991 and Ozzmosis in 1995), and two halfway decent sets in the 21st century (Down to Earth in 2001 and Black Rain in 2007).  He’d eventually depart with Wilde and release a set of covers (Under Cover in 2015) and Scream in 2010, but his only truly essential studio albums were his first two with this Blizzard of Ozz band.

— winch (author of )

 

LINK TO SELLERS:

Ozzy Osbourne (1980) Blizzard of Ozz (LP) Jet Records 36812

Ozzy Osbourne

Blizzard of Ozz

Jet Records 36812

Released September 1980 in the UK, March 1981 in the US.

Reached #7 in the UK, #21 in the US

Produced by Osbourne, Daisley (bass), Kerslake (drums), and Rhoads (guitar).

••••• Sounds Good

The aging dinosaurs of the early 1970s had left their mark but their time had come and gone as the decade rolled on, certainly by the time it rolled over to the new decade. Even hard-rockers who weren’t interesting in looking for new bands weren’t expecting their idols to return to their thrones. Most were happy to get high and listen to their old albums. To make it even more challenging for folks such as Ozzy, few fans of hard rock gave a rat’s ass about singers, especially singers who didn’t play instruments. Vocalists were for fans of soul music and old music. Hard rock focused on the guitar players: J. Geils, Robin Trower, Montrose, Nugent, Van Halen…70s hard-rock bands were usually named after the guitarists not the singers.


When Ozzy’s debut solo hit the American shops, the label obviously had big plans. When I entered Boogie Records in the spring of 1981, I was greeted by a life-size cutout of Ozzy–a giant version of the Blizzard of Ozz album. While I’d been raised on Sabbath–listening to their albums nearly every week for the years that lead up to 1981–I had no idea who Ozzy was. Sure, I recognized him from somewhere, had rolled countless numbers on the Paranoid gatefold, but Ozzy hadn’t bitten off any heads at this point, and eight tracks didn’t offer song credits or names of band members and the photos were pretty dinky. Reading about singers or bands were activities for teeny-boppers looking through glossy snapshots of Shawn Cassidy and the Bay City Rollers. And even when I discovered that Ozzy had been the singer for Black Sabbath, that didn’t really spike my interest. I’d just seen the Sabbath 1980 tour with Rainbow’s singer (Dio), and that was fine with me.  They had fire and menace and loud music.  Who cares about the old singer who used to sing for them. That was like caring what Robert Plant was doing without Zeppelin.

But Ozzy wasn’t ready to give up the ghost and likely had noticed what Alice Cooper had done when he’d gone solo years before this. Alice had always managed to place himself above the guitarists, and while the band might not have been named after him, he was wise enough to name himself after the band. That had helped Alice considerably: when he went solo, most people just saw the release as another Alice Cooper album. Of course, fans might have noticed the complete change in the line-up if Alice hadn’t made another wide decision. He made sure that he launched his solo career with a good album. Ozzy followed that example.


Ozzy’s debut might not be as classic as Alice’s Welcome to My Nightmare, but like Alice’s debut solo, this wasn’t as good as the best from his past but it was close enough for rock and roll.  Like Alice’s debut solo, this was also the best Ozzy would ever offer. Like Alice, Ozzy’s career as a solo artist was built on theatrics on stage and off, a reputation as a bad boy on stage and off, and perhaps mostly because of the first album.


When most of these aging rockers turned 30 and/or went solo, they took a more mature approach. Meanwhile, Ozzy followed Alice’s example and went in the other direction, made his solo career more juvenile. When most artists went solo, they offered new sounds, but while Ozzy didn’t mimic Sabbath, he certainly maintained the main ideas. He retained some of the old fans while pulling in new ones.  Like with most solo albums, this was more personal than what we’d heard with his previous band, but for so many reasons, it was hardly a complete departure from his years with Sabbath.


On one hand, it’s not surprising that this album (perhaps more than anything) helped launch his long-term success as a solo artist. On the other hand, it’s a little crazy that this could happen…crazy like a “Crazy Train.”

— winch

 

LINK TO SELLERS:

Deep Purple (1969) S/T (LP) Tetragramme 119

Deep Purple
Deep Purple 
Tetragramme 119 
1969
Rating:*** (noteworthy)
Released July. ’69 (Nov. ’69 in the UK on Harvest Records), reached #162 in U.S.

Produced by Derek Lawrence
Purple’s self-titled third album, the last with the original line up.  Both Simper and Evans would soon leave the band (Evans going to Captain Beyond).  As with the previous two albums, this was released on Bill Cosby’s Tetragramme label, and unfortunately for Purple, the label would fold in July of 1969, the same month this set was released.

On this album, Purple sounds like a composite of many of the heavy bands of this era (Zeppelin, Cream, Floyd, Hendrix, Iron Butterfly, King Crimson…) but the sound ends up being something unique to Purple.  While “April” foreshadows Purple’s next album (the absurd Concerto For Group and Orchestra), other cuts hint toward the semi-progressive hard rock (aka heavy metal) of their early 70s material.

When most people examine how this band influenced rock music, they look to the highly influential Machine Head era, but for better or worse, the strong influence this band had on rock music can certainly be heard at this point, on this album.

— winch

 

Accept (1979) PVC 6904

Accept
Accept
PVC (6904)
1979
Producer: Frank Martin
Rating: *** (Noteworthy)
Recorded September and December 1978, released January 1979 (Germany only)

This German outfit clearly got its cues from Judas Priest and fellow countrymen the Scorpions (mixed with a bit of Van Halen on “That’s Rock’n Roll”).  This debut comes across as a second-rate version of Priest, but their semi-amateurish delivery works quite well on some of the material, especially as the set progresses.  While this doesn’t come close to early Maiden, it’s a worthwhile listen for metal fans. 

Raven: Wiped Out (LP) 1982

Raven
Wiped Out

1982
Released September 1982 (UK only)

Recommended ****

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While some of this band’s output was clearly lacking, the band sinks their talons into this second set.  There’s nothing to really separate it from the flock, but (other than the brief acoustic instrumental “20/21”) this rocks nonstop.

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Worthwhile grab for fans of NWOBHM.

— winch

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