Saturday, March 29, 2008

Ozzy Osbourne/Randy Rhoads – Tribute

So I was outta town all last weekend which is why I haven't posted in a couple weeks. Yeah I know, excuses excuses, but I bought a shitload of rekkidz out on the coast so I got a tonna new material an' it all starts with a big fat five-post blowout week on Monday. Yes, Monday to Friday, every day, sweartagawd, even though I'm goina the Boredoms show in NY on Sunday.

Meanwhile, I had another couple tracks taped for Friday of Ozzy n' Randy week but I never posted 'em so here goes. In 1987, a few years after Rhoads had died and following a couple of Jake E. Lee records, Ozzy finally opened the vault and released Tribute, a collection of live recordings of the Rhoads line-up. He even credits the album to Ozzy Osbourne and Randy Rhoads, and the sleeve includes liner notes by Randy's mom. Totally killer album; you should get it.

First up is "Crazy Train", which I know is an obvious choice but this version is special to me. P— had a copy of Tribute in the Camry so we used to listen to it while we drove around getting grilled and we always pumped "Crazy Train". For me it's the definitive version of the song, just because I've heard it so many times. The studio version is fine, but just seems to lack that extra bit of energy the crowd provides. Can't beat an Ozzy crowd.

And I'm posting "Goodbye To Romance", another one from the first album and the first of Ozzy's many great power ballads. This version kills the one on Blizzard, even more so than "Crazy Train". The studio version always felt way too stiff, and the bass is mixed too high (a problem shared, oddly enough, by "Tonight" on the next album). Rhoads solo on this one is just tremendous.

Eddie Van Halen is commonly credited with inventing the flashy, warp speed guitar style that came to dominate mainstream hard rock in the 80s, but Rhoads really shares that honour. I wonder if he'd be more widely recognised for it had he lived. Keep in mind that "Diary of a Madman" was just the beginning of his new direction. One can only imagine what might have been.

Buy it... on vinyl.

From my deck to you: Ozzy Osbourne – "Crazy Train [live]" and "Goodbye to Romance [live]"

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