An evening of Black Sabbath covers
MRT | 12/13/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Following the death of Randy Rhoads, plans for a live recording from the Rhoads tours were quickly scrapped. Instead, the singer opted for a pair of one-offs at New York City's Ritz club. No one had any idea what Ozzy would do, and an evening of Black Sabbath covers was the furthest thing from everyone's mind. Ozzy had been portrayed as a washed-up, vocally challenged frontman by his ex-bandmates, and the perception was that Ozzy could no longer sing the original Sabbath material. Hiring metal producer Max Norman to man the boards, Ozzy enlisted Night Ranger guitarist Brad Gillis to play guitar for the evening. Still, Speak of the Devil is strengthened by the classic combo of Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge on bass and drums, undoubtedly one the best rhythm sections of Ozzy's solo career. Speak of the Devil ends up solid throughout, if somewhat unremarkable at times. Ozzy proved his point to his ex-bandmates. Following the recording Gillis would jump ship and rejoin the ranks of Night Ranger."
Does anyone remember the Filmore East?...
Mark H. | Hanson, MA USA | 02/17/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ozzy's first live album (first of at least five to date...) is an anomaly in his catalogue as it contains only Black Sabbath covers. In the early `80's there were many young Ozzy fans who really weren't familiar with this material outside of "Paranoid" and "Iron Man" so in a sense it was sort of a history lesson given by the ultimate nutty professor. The story of the genesis of `Speak of the Devil' has been told many times; the planned live album with Randy Rhoads that was nixed as a result of his untimely death and the pending release of Sabbath's `Live Evil' were the major catalysts to the production of this record. With temporary guitarist Brad Gills, Ozzy strolled into the Ritz Theater in NYC in September 1982 and laid down a double LP's worth of Sabbath chestnuts. The record is good but I think both `Live Evil' and Ozzy's own `Tribute' are better (the latter features a better performance from the Oz with songs that were still fresh). I would echo some of the other reviewers that this album is special because you do get "Never Say Die", "The Wizard" and "Symptom of the Universe" which Ozzy and Sabbath never usually do and they sound great, especially "Symptom" which is the opener. It was a stop gap record for Ozzy as he would soon form a new band with Jake E. Lee and head back to the studio. `Speak of the Devil' was meant as a treat for the fans and it shows."