For Your Weekend Listening Pleasure: Black Sabbath Gets Paranoid at Memorial in 1971

Compared to some of our more recent offerings , the sound quality on this hard-to-find, recently unearthed recording leaves something to be desired -- perhaps someone can use their 21st-century tech to scrub some of the mud off this back-pocket recording passed down like a well-worn family heirloom sold at one too many flea markets. Nevertheless, this historic recording of Black Sabbath's stop through town on March 26, 1971 , in support of its second record, is worth sticking with -- if only to be present at the genesis of metal, when Ozzy heralded the coming of the headbang Apocalypse instead of Pepsi Twist .

It takes the band (Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward) all of 56 minutes to highlight the first two records -- mostly the second one, the best one, a slab of profoundly heavy bombast as catchy as an anvil. (Wrote critic Chuck Eddy of Paranoid years later, "It ranks with pop's most persuasive politics ever: The Rumble articulates what no rhetoric could.") The record had just broken the Billboard Top 20 upon the band's arrival in Dallas -- but where, exactly, in Dallas? The provider of this recording says it was at the Music Hall at Fair Park; says this source and others, it was at Memorial Auditorium -- and I've heard from others over the years that, indeed, it was a convention center gig.

The set list endures when the recording quality falters: "Paranoid," "Iron Man," "Black Sabbath" and, my all-time favorite, "War Pigs" among the offerings. (Not to mention a 15-minute "Wicked World.") Turn it up. You kinda have no choice.

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