soundstreamsunday #98: “Children of the Sea” by Black Sabbath

heavenandhellMetal is a tricky business.  So is memory.  I first heard “Children of the Sea” soon after it was released,  I think, as a young teenager in 1980, tutored by an older sister in thrall to Rush’s Permanent Waves, Judas Priest’s Unleashed in the East, and, most of all, Black Sabbath’s Heaven and Hell.  It was later that I learned of Sabbath’s late 70s identity crisis, their parting of ways with Ozzy Osbourne, and Ronnie James Dio’s efforts to help salvage a band worthy of his prowess.  It couldn’t have been an easy road, and by all accounts wasn’t, BUT… the fruit of Osbourne’s dissolution, Dio’s post-Rainbow quest, and the Sabbath juggernaut’s need to produce a next record, was a pair of LPs blueprinting one way forward for metal: operatic vocal facility, pop-tinged melodies, subject matter less doom-and-gloom than dungeons-and-dragons.  With, of course, guitars fully and thunderously intact.  It was what Heart showed it could be with 1978’s “Mistral Wind,” and would be taken to its natural conclusion by Iron Maiden in the next decade; but, as the so-called New Wave of British Heavy Metal began to draw its borders as the 70s turned into the 80s, it was Black Sabbath, the original metal wellspring, still sitting in the center of the compass rose.

Of course, many die-hard Sabbath fans don’t acknowledge Dio’s Sabbath as the real Black Sabbath — a respectable point of view, in fairness, that such distinction can only come with the inclusion of Ozzy and in consideration of the first six, genre-defining, Sabbath LPs — and the band itself acknowledged this when reuniting for a tour and LP with Dio in 2007, calling themselves, naturally, “Heaven and Hell,” out of respect for both Dio and Ozzy.  But for a certain generation of us the Dio-led band was the gateway to Black Sabbath, with Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules (1981) jewels in the crown equal in quality heaviosity to the  First Six.  And it turns out that Dio’s here-be-dragons sensibility was just what Sabbath and metal needed: dramatic vocal flights, lyrical escapism, and a feel for the sheer cliff riffs.  I imagine too that his maturity (he was in his late 30s at the time, older than the rest of the band by at least six years) brought a steady, compositional, horns-flashing hand to a Sabbath dearly in need of it.  Dio would set a solo course soon after Mob Rules but would never stray far from the tone he set in his work with Sabbath.

From the flawless first side of Heaven and Hell comes “Children of the Sea,” the kind of fantasy piece Dio trademarked, where the story lines are drawn vaguely enough to appeal broadly, and are there, ultimately, in support of the Riff King, for if there is one true hero in the story of metal, it is and will forever be Tony Iommi.  Two versions here: the original studio take and, because it counts, the Heaven and Hell band version from 2007, with Dio, at the age of 65, still bringing every bit of showmanship to the legacy he was so justifiably proud of.

soundstreamsunday presents one song or live set by an artist each week, and in theory wants to be an infinite linear mix tape where the songs relate and progress as a whole. For the complete playlist, go here: soundstreamsunday archive and playlist, or check related articles by clicking on”soundstreamsunday” in the tags section.

Rainbow re-release

Got a really nice email and press release today from James Parrish.  Thanks much, James

*****

LONG AWAITED DELUXE REISSUES OF RAINBOW SET FOR RELEASE THIS NOVEMBER

Rainbow are set to release Deluxe Reissues of On Stage and Long Live Rock N’ Roll this November.

Rainbow, lead by the guitarist, Ritchie Blackmore, became synonymous with some of the most well regarded and popular charting Rock songs of the seventies and eighties. From ‘Stargazer’ and ‘Man On A Silver Mountain’ to ‘All Night Long’, ‘Long Live Rock And Roll’ and ‘Since You Been Gone’, each year in the decade of Rainbow was marked by some of the best songs and performances captured both on record and in concert.

Passing through the band were some of the best the genre had to offer. Vocalists Ronnie James Dio and Graham Bonnet, bass player and producer Roger Glover and drummer Cozy Powell, each brought their individual talent to the table to record some of Rock’s best loved hard rock on those albums and singles.

On Stage is a live album originally released in 1977. The album was recorded live over several German and Japanese dates in late 1976 during the Rising world tour. Producer Martin Birch spliced many of the tracks together from different dates. The recording features the customary introduction to a Rainbow show – the classic quote from The Wizard of Oz,”Toto: I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore. We must be over the rainbow!” with the last word repeated as an echo, then the actual band plays a musical phrase from the song ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ before breaking into ‘Kill the King’.

Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll is the third studio album released in 1978. This was Rainbow’s last album to feature Ronnie James Dio on vocals.

 

Disc 1

Over The Rainbow

Kill The King

Medley: Man On The Silver Mountain

Blues

Starstruck

Catch The Rainbow

Mistreated

Sixteenth Century Greensleeves

Still I’m Sad

 

Disc 2 (bonus tracks) – Live Osaka 9/12/1976

Kill The King

Mistreated

Sixteenth Century Greensleeves

Catch The Rainbow

Medley: Man On The Silver Mountain

Stargazer

Still I’m Sad

Do You Close Your Eyes

 

 

(Previously unreleased)

Long Live Rock N’ Roll

Disc 1

Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll

Lady Of The Lake

LA Connection

Gates Of Babylon

Kill The King

The Shed (subtle)

Sensitive To Light

Rainbow Eyes

 

Disc 2 Rough Mix’s 02/07/1977:

Lady Of The Lake

Sensitive To Light

LA Connection

Kill The King

The Shed (subtle)

Long Live Rock N Roll

Kill The King

 

Shepperton Studio Rehearsals:

Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll

Rainbow Eyes Don

 

Don Kirschner Show with Alt Vocals:

Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll

Kill The King

Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll

LA Connection

Gates Of Babylon

 

For more information please contact James Parrish at Prescription PR at james@prescriptionpr.co.uk