Sunday, August 19, 2012

Black Sunday: Ozzy Osbourne - Mr. Crowley Live (1980) & Metallica Creeping Death/Jump in the Fire (1990)

Vinyl's great for many, many reasons. Not included among these is portability, hence the vast numbers of compact discs and, in recent years, digital files in my collection. Still, when sitting among your music and looking through the library, nothing beats the LP for hands-on satisfaction and art-drenched eye-candy. It's the extreme end of this spectrum that I'm stopping on for this Black Sunday, pulling a couple picture discs from favorites of my youth, both of which serve not only as optical originals but also catalogue rarities as well.

Ozzy Osbourne's Mr. Crowley Live is a soundcheck with live noise added later and, regardless of its authenticity, is a middling live offering from the strongest, most consistent early years of his solo career, containing "Mr. Crowley" on the A-side and "You Said It All" and "Suicide Solution" on the B-side. While some revere this record as the only "live" document of Randy Rhoads with Ozzy released during his life, "You Said It All" is the interesting inclusion for me, a true B-side, not appearing anywhere other than this record and an '84 Jet Records rarities compilation to date, still apparently a victim of the bad blood between the Osbournes and the original Daisley/Kerslake rhythm section. It's got a nice riff but is ultimately not very listenable as this disc suffers from extreme surface noise, a bane of picture discs manufactured cheaply for display rather than actual play. Both sides contain fantastic photos supposedly drawn from outtakes for the then-upcoming Diary of a Madman LP.

My copy of Metallica's Creeping Death/Jump in the Fire is a 1990 promo picture disc, released well after the mid-'80s original pressings of these EPs in their initial incarnations. Both featured artwork fans consider iconic and, again audibly inferior, this one is a display favorite. The Jump in the Fire side features, of course, the stellar single from Kill 'Em All as well as a couple more "fake" live takes, "Seek and Destroy" and "Phantom Lord" (these latter two, again, unavailable elsewhere to my knowledge).

remember when Metallica were so, you know, metal?

The Creeping Death side represents the Ride the Lightning highlight as well as covers "Am I Evil?" and "Blitzkrieg," both the original "Garage Days Revisited" pairing, long-unavailable for mass-consumption until the 1998 release of the expanded Garage Inc. Undoubtedly pressed to cash in on the band's exploding popularity between ...And Justice for All and Metallica, Creeping Death/Jump in the Fire may not sound great, but is a nice low-fi reminder of the band's most powerful period, both musically and visually.


  1. Great post! And I do remember when Metallica were so metal...

    1. Thanks, Lav! And thanks for taking the time to stop by and read!