Sunday, 26 June 2011

Play the Devil

There are several versions of this - undoubtedly the best Sabbath bootleg - out there in the world; this, I think, is the definitive version.
(There is an expanded version, but I'm sure it just incorporates tracks from Cannabis Confusion, another Sabbath boot.)
But as to its true origins... who knows?
Your guess is as good as mine.

Some versions claim to have been recorded in 1976.
Others, '75.
From the references to 'the new album' Sabotage, it must be '75; the songs are obviously unknown to the audience, yet the album was released in the summer of that year.

As for the audience, well again that's a bit of a puzzle.
Some versions claim to have been recorded in London, others in the States.

The introductory announcement has a definite English accent, but that could merely be a roadie, proving nothing.
The audience does sound American [!], if you know what I mean; but the recording quality is so good, it could well have been recorded at Hammersmith Odeon (a venue that had stunning recording facilities [even Zappa rated it!], and this boot is of a very high quality), and it is a venue that one version does credit.

So, going out on a limb, I reckon it was recorded in 1975, at Hammersmith Odeon, attended by an all American audience, with the candlestick.

I saw Sabbaff once only - The Horror! The Horror! - right towards the end of part one of their curiously quixotic career.
It was during the Never Say Die tour; Ozzy had really gone to pot, or should I say to bottle.
It was obvious to all that the band were over.
He was all over the place, while the other three mainly ignored him; Iommi looked particularly, well, embarrassed really.
All in all, a bit of a car crash of a gig.
Memorable, though.

I'd loved to have seen them around the time this was recorded.
They may not have been the most intellectual or sophisticated of bands, but they certainly knew how to entertain, they knew what the audience wanted; and as this recording reveals, they could play a real blinder: here they're really peaking.

As with so many live shows the hottest tracks are usually those that are topical.
This is a good example. 'Hole in the Sky', 'Megalomania' and 'Symptom of the Universe' are really the stand out tracks, all of which come from Sabotage (the last of the great Sabbath albums), but I do have a soft spot for Sabbath Bloody Sabbath tracks (their best album!), and the opener 'Killing Yourself to Live' is a mighty fine way to start the show.
Ozzy never sounded so - paradoxically - diabolical.

Included are some great jams that do seem genuinely spontaneous. Interesting to hear, during the second of Iommi's freak outs, proleptic emergence of 'Rock n Roll Doctor'; its familiar riff surfacing from the hyperbolic noodling in a somewhat comforting manner.
Like Satan, himself, giving you a great big huggle.

Black Sabbath - Megalomaniac Architect (1975)

Killing Yourself to Live
Hole in the Sky
Symptom of the Universe
War Pigs
Sabra Cadabra
Iron Man
Black Sabbath
Spiral Architect
Children of the Grave

CD rip to mp3s, from several versions, pushed up to 320kbs.
Sounds jolly good.
Blacken your soul here and here


icastico said...

Looks great. Thanks.

This made me chuckle

"Sabbath Bloody Sabbath tracks (their best album!)"

It's all about personal taste, of course, but in my book that it is the worst of the first six (which are the only ones to consider). But then again my favorite Led Zep album is what do I know.

Anywho...for Black Sabbath fans...Check out these guys.

roy rocket said...

'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath' broke me Sabbaff virginity.
We go back....

btw, 'Presence' is poo ;)

icastico said...

It is always about the personal journey with a band.

SBS came after many years of Sabbaff listening for me. I had worn out Paranoid and Volume 4 by that point. Sabotage restored my faith (unwarranted, unfortunately as it WAS the last good thing they did).

Presence was the first Led Zep I bought...although certainly not the first I heard. I recall a girl I was much enamored with in High School asking what it was when I had it playing on a portable cassette deck while we shared a "cigarette." Her response..."that's some fucked up Led Zeppelin, what was wrong with them?" After that I was less enamored...


roy rocket said...


Could have been 'Coda'. Shocking!


infinite fool said...

Saw Sabbath three times with three different singers.

The Ozzy show was my first concert ever & manomanoman did they suck. This was sometime late in '78 or early '79 & Ozzy was so drunk he could barely stand - Iommi ended the show by putting down his guitar and walking off - it took Osbourne a minute or two to realize that the concert had ended. At least that's how I remember it. A friend who was there recently told me that none of that happened (except Oz being plastered & the show being awful) - we were both pretty young and extremely stones at the time and it was so very long ago. I'm pretty sure I'm right. It makes a better story my way.

Then there was the Dio show. Bad sound and Dio (a local boy) was trying way too hard that night.

I went back once more to catch the with Ian Gillan on vocals & the guy from ELO on drums - the less said about that night, the better. One of the few shows I've walked out on.

I've heard excellent live shows from all those line-ups, so I guess it's just me.

The point (if I have one) is that I'm looking forward to this, so thanks.

P.S. Remind me to tell you my drunk Joe Cocker story (doesn't everybody have a drunk Joe Cocker story?) some day.

P.P.S. Presence isn't poo; it's just boring.

Anonymous said...

Fucking thanks for this. A brilliant compilation and beautiful sound. I have a TON of BS boots, but this has rocketed into the top 5 immediately. Good jorb!

Sorry, don't have a Sabbath story, saw them wiz Ozzy on Never Say Die and then with Dio on Mob Rules. Took some insane pics at the Dio show, IIRC. They're around here somewhere...

roy rocket said...

Devil's Horns to ya. roy

Anonymous said...

Any chance of getting this one back up before you shut up shop?

roy rocket said...

Why not?
Keep 'em peeled... roy

roy rocket said...

Fixed. roy

Anonymous said...

Thank you.
This and Weird Brother are my favorite music blogs and it looks like your both winding up. I've discovered and re-discovered so much life enhancing music. You will be missed.

roy rocket said...

Thank you. roy