First remastered re-release of the first live album by the legendary British Heavy Metal singer.
The album consists entirely of renditions of songs originally recorded by Osbourne's previous band Black Sabbath. Immediately following the death of Ozzy Osbourne's dear friend and collaborator Randy Rhoads, tentative plans for a live recording from the Rhoads tours were quickly scrapped. Instead, the deeply troubled 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 the role of Tony Iommi for the evening. The show itself took on an ominous tone with a chair visibly propped up on the edge of the stage; upon it rested a spiral notebook containing the lyrics to all the Sabbath songs of the evening, from which Ozzy read throughout the show.
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. And immediately, it becomes obvious that Brad Gillis was the right man for the gig. Playing Iommi to a tee, Gillis effortlessly leads the band through some of the best of the Sabbath catalog; "Speak Of The Devil" ends up solid throughout. Though Osbourne himself later decried "Speak Of The Devil" as something he only did because of record company pressure, it earned mostly positive notices from fans and critics, and was a commercial success as well, eventually earning Platinum certification. In the UK, it was the second of four Osbourne albums to attain Silver certification (60000 units sold) by the British Phonographic Industry, achieving this in January 1983. The album was entitled "Talk Of The Devil" in the UK, that being the more commonly expressed idiom there.
Listening to the remastered version, there's no doubt that the vocals feature some heavily doctored patch-ups, but regardless, Ozzy proved his point to his ex-bandmates. Following the recording, due to the uncertainty surrounding the Ozzy camp, Gillis would jump ship and rejoin the ranks of Night Ranger.
The album served to keep Osbourne’s fans interested while he was re-working his solo career, which continued on with 1983′s "Bark at the Moon". And while Osbourne’s subsequent solo releases would never again break the same degree of new musical ground that he did with his initial work with Rhoads, he went on to a solo career that eclipsed Black Sabbath - at least commercially - and launched Ozzy as one of the unlikeliest mainstream celebrities in the history of American popular culture!
Epic Records/Sony Music Entertainment Inc., 1982/1995/2014 (481679 2). Made in Netherlands.
1. Symptom Of The Universe 5:40
2. Snowblind 4:56
3. Black Sabbath 6:04
4. Fairies Wear Boots 6:32
5. War Pigs 8:35
6. The Wizard 4:42
7. N.I.B. 5:35
8. Sweet Leaf 5:54
9. Never Say Die 4:18
10. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath 5:33
11. Iron Man / Children Of The Grave 9:12
12. Paranoid 3:09
Total playing time: 70:10