For this series of posts I am going to be writing a piece on an album from my digital music collection. Over the years I’ve amassed what I consider to be quite a substantial amount of music on the hard drive of my laptop; curated from sources such as CDs that I have purchased, records that I have converted into mp3 (mostly for listening to on the go), CDs that have been borrowed from friends or family, digital downloads from websites such as Bandcamp, and as well as from the time I lived in a shared house with an active iTunes home share setup. There are still a lot of records in my collection that haven’t yet been converted into mp3 and I’m sure there are probably some CDs that I still haven’t ripped yet either, so this series of posts won’t be covering my entire music collection (unless I somehow find the time to convert ~200 records into mp3..)

Rather than cherry picking what I’m going to write about, I shall be sticking iTunes on shuffle and going with whatever album it lands on first…

So for Episode 1 of Shuffling the Tunes we have:

black sabbath

Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath, 1970

What a way to kick this off. Black Sabbath are by far my favourite band of all time and I own all of their studio albums either on vinyl and/or CD. The version that I’m listening to whilst typing this post is a rip of the 2004 Sanctuary CD release, although I also have a copy on vinyl that technically belongs to my Dad, but he’s let me keep hold of it after spending a year or so babysitting his record collection (along with the remaining Ozzy era studio albums, apart from Paranoid, that one neither of us own on vinyl yet).

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The first time I heard this record was probably in 2003, I was in my mid-teens and had recently started getting into older music as a response to not being interested in whatever Kerrang! were writing about, and having a few older friends who were also into the likes of Deep Purple, Rainbow, The Doors, Iron Maiden, Metallica etc.. guiding me on a journey of musical discovery. I was also shifting away from listening to mostly ‘nu-metal’ and slowly exploring the realm of Heavy Metal and it’s many, many sub-genres.

I had a hi-fi in my room that had a basic turntable on top of it, one of those all-in-one machines that served me very well through these years. I remember coming home from school one day and Dad had pulled a selection of records out for me to listen to, and this album was the one I played first.

I knew of Black Sabbath and like many, had heard the track ‘Paranoid’ before anything else, courtesy of the Protect the Innocent compilation CD that my Dad owns

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There are some other tracks on here that I remember really well, like ‘Goddess’ by Acid Reign, ‘Metal Thrashing Mad’ by Anthrax and ‘The Ultimate Sin’ by Ozzy. It’s a pretty solid compilation and easily available on Discogs for a few quid.

I’d been playing bass guitar for about a year by the time I got into this album, and would routinely study tabs of Black Sabbath songs trying my best to emulate the playing style of Geezer Butler. The way he hits those strings with his fingers has had an enormous influence on how I play bass. I remember dropping the stylus down just as ‘Sleeping Village’ would start and would jam along as it progressed into ‘Warning’. ‘N.I.B’ was such a stand out track to me that I chose to cover it for a piece of my Music Technology coursework. I eventually bought myself a multi-effects pedal just so I could have a crack at playing the bass intro to ‘N.I.B’ with the wah-wah turned on, and to add some distortion so I could try and achieve that Geezer Butler sound.

Black Sabbath has been my go-to record for testing new hi-fi equipment. It was the first record to be played through my new speakers, the first to get a spin when I upgraded my stylus and cartridge, and also the first to be cranked up when I bought a new amp. The title track is simply perfect for being played as loud as possible. Actually, the whole album is perfect for being played as loud as possible. So do it. Often.

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