Children of the Black (no label)
Civic Center Hartford, Ct. August 10th 1980
Disc 1: Intro, War Pigs, Neon Knights, N.I.B., Children of the Sea, Sweet Leaf, Drum Solo, Sweet Leaf (reprise), Black Sabbath
Disc 2: Heaven and Hell, Iron Man, Guitar Solo, Die Young, Paranoid, Children of the Grave Bonus Track: Children of the Sea
Children of the Black contains the pre Fm recordings done for the King Biscuit Flower Hour that surfaced in 2007 on the Wolfgang’s Vault web site. The show was previously available in a edited form from the KBFH vinyl #332 which also included Blue Oyster Cult and on bootleg titles such as Bloody Sabbath and Heavy Metal Holocaust. Of course the show was represented on compact disc on such titles as Live USA 80/83, Neon Nights, Iron Man Vol. 3 and most recently Hartford Evil on the Bondage label.
This show captures the Dio-Iommi-Butler-Ward lineup during their tour to support Heaven and Hell, the first with new lead singer Ronnie James Dio. The band are well into their stride after recently touring Europe with great success and what makes this recording even more special is that Bill Ward was to leave the band just a few short weeks later and this concert is the best known recording of this line up.
The sound is a little bass heavy during “War Pigs” but clears during “Neon Knights” and stays that way for the rest of the concert. You can hear someone adjusting the levels in the beginning but does not detract from enjoying this superb recording. And what can be said of the performance? Well, nothing short of astounding with the band firing on all cylinders seeming to enjoy playing tracks from the new record and older songs from the Ozzy era.
I have always thought that Dio did a great job singing the Ozzy material and proves it on “N.I.B.” and “Black Sabbath” where he gives the material a whole new dimension. Second disc highlights are undoubtedly “Heaven and Hell” with some lyrical improvisation by Dio and the guitar solo with riffs from “Hole in the Sky,” “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath,” and “Orchid” before slamming straight into the classic Die Young.
Not much is known about the bonus track “Children of the Sea,” but it is soundboard and very nice quality. Some collectors say the sound on Children Of The Black is not as full as the Bondage title, but since I do not have it to compare to I cannot say. This title sounds great at loud volumes which it should be played and if you missed the other title this one is definitely recommended as essential listening.