Music Mountain 1981 (Zodiac 083)
Music Mountain, South Fallsburg, NY, USA – August 8, 1981
(53:17) Carmina Burana Intro, I Don’t know, Crazy Train, Believer, Mr. Crowley, Flying High Again, Revelation (Mother Earth), Steal Away (The Night), Tommy Aldridge Drum Solo, Suicide Solution, Randy Rhoads Guitar solo, Iron Man, Children Of The Grave (cut)
The American tour in support of Ozzy’s debut record was made up of two legs, the second would start in early August and run through mid September and the band would be supported by up and coming NWOBHM stars Def Leppard. For this new release we are treated to a concert just a hand full of gigs into the tour, the band had been on tour for a good portion of the year and are in superb shape. The real highlight of this tape is that it features the guitar playing of Randy Rhoads. The recording of the Music Mountain show has been in circulation for some time, it is a good audience recording that finds the music a tad distant but clear and all instruments and vocals are discernable. The audience can be a little intrusive around the taper at times but for me adds to the excitement of concert, to get a look into the buzz that the band was generating at this time. Sadly Zodiac used an incomplete tape for this release, the recording fades out a little over a minute into Children Of The Grave, a shame as complete versions do circulate.
The recording begins with the Carmina intro and the band tearing into I Don’t Know, the quality is poor and very distant sounding but as the taper slowly adjusts his equipment position the quality will vastly improve throughout the first half of the song. The audience has no problem going crazy for Crazy Train and clap a bit and holler at times, it all lends to the ambience as the fans were there for a good time. Randy’s playing is superlative, he is adding a lot of little fills and nuances and holy shot Tommy Aldridge is drumming his fool head off. The audience gets their first inkling of Believer, the intro sounds eerie and seems to rise from the depths to great effect. The song itself is super heavy with Lindsey Bridgewater’s keyboards coming through as he adds these notes at just the right time.
Ozzy compliments the audience, another thing that makes these early live recordings so great is he does not quite have all his Ozzyisms yet and a lot less swearing. A wonderful Mr. Crowley is next, although it does get a lot of airplay it is one song you can never tire of, Randy’s solos are simply stunning and some of the best he would ever do. The second solo finds Bridgewater trying to harmonize with him, needless to say he is left in the dust. The beginning of Flying High Again sounds like Randy was having a bit of equipment problems, it is soon rectified as they go into the “Mamas gonna worry” part and Randy makes up for it with a perfect rendition of his classic solo. A beautiful version of the hauntingly gothic Revelation (Mother Earth) follows, the crowd is quiet and respectful until Rhoads breaks into the heavy part then they go crazy and this energy will carry over into a rollicking version of Steal Away. The song also features a manic drum solo by Tommy, the audience is into it, alot of whoo’s can be heard throughout, there is also a cut do to tape flip at the 1:43 mark, thankfully it is quick with not much lost.
“A number now featuring Randy Rhoads our guitar player ” is Ozzy’s intro to Suicide Solution, the song would be a vehicle for Randy’s solo spot throughout his all too brief career with Ozzy and live versions of the song are highlights of the recordings. Ozzy makes a “You gotta” flub coming in too late that made me smile, but its Rhoads playing that has me hooked, again he adds small fills in places, his versatility is unmatched. His solo spot is two and a half minutes of joy that features a bit of homage to his Quiet Riot days, it must have been mind blowing to witness this live. “We’re gonna finish up with some Black Sabbath numbers” pushes the audience over the edge, they let the band know it as Ozzy does the audience participation for the Iron Man count in. Iron Man sounds strong and powerful and as the transition into Children Of The Grave begins you can tell the band is going for blood, sadly the recording cuts a minute into the song.
The packaging is drab looking with common photos used and of course the obligatory numbered sticker, the CD has polka dots on it as a tribute to Randy, fans know he loved polka dot and used to where bow ties with them and had the famous Flying V also. The average sound quality and incomplete tape certainly are drawbacks to this release, a live recording with Randy is what made this title appealing.
Thanks for the detailed, honest review – the webistes have it as ‘TRULY AMAZING SOUND’. I shall not be getting this one!