For Your Weekend Listening Pleasure: Black Sabbath Gets Paranoid at Memorial in 1971

Categories: Music
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Black-Sabbath.com
Compared to some of our more recent offerings, the sound quality on this hard-to-find, recently unearthed recording leaves something to be desired -- perhaps someone can use their 21st-century tech to scrub some of the mud off this back-pocket recording passed down like a well-worn family heirloom sold at one too many flea markets. Nevertheless, this historic recording of Black Sabbath's stop through town on March 26, 1971, in support of its second record, is worth sticking with -- if only to be present at the genesis of metal, when Ozzy heralded the coming of the headbang Apocalypse instead of Pepsi Twist.

It takes the band (Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward) all of 56 minutes to highlight the first two records -- mostly the second one, the best one, a slab of profoundly heavy bombast as catchy as an anvil. (Wrote critic Chuck Eddy of Paranoid years later, "It ranks with pop's most persuasive politics ever: The Rumble articulates what no rhetoric could.") The record had just broken the Billboard Top 20 upon the band's arrival in Dallas -- but where, exactly, in Dallas? The provider of this recording says it was at the Music Hall at Fair Park; says this source and others, it was at Memorial Auditorium -- and I've heard from others over the years that, indeed, it was a convention center gig.

The set list endures when the recording quality falters: "Paranoid," "Iron Man," "Black Sabbath" and, my all-time favorite, "War Pigs" among the offerings. (Not to mention a 15-minute "Wicked World.") Turn it up. You kinda have no choice.

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