It’s really hard to remember that Ozzy Osbourne has been doing music for close to 40 years. Yet, it’s never surprising when an Ozzy tribute album crops up. What is surprising is when it’s Ozzy doing the tribute album – to his contemporaries. Not his modern contemporaries, but his legendary contemporaries, like the Beatles.
Thats’ what Ozzy Under Cover is – a tribute to his influences and equals. Some you can easily see like King Crimson, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Joe Walsh, Rolling Stones, Cream, and Mountain – you know the raucous weirdos. It takes a stretch imagining covers of The Beatles, Lennon solo, Buffalo Springfield, Eric Burdon, Mott the Hoople and the Moody Blues.
Notable tracks include In My Life (the Beatles) – by far the best track of the album. There’s definitively feeling in Ozzy’s trademark rasp and it sounds more like a confession than a cover.
Sunshine of Your Love by Cream sounds as if it were written for Ozzy, and its obvious that this was a key influence on the Wizard.
The Moody Blue’s Go Now was a nice surprise, because not even the Moody Blues do it anymore. Though, oddly enough it was that type of blues rock that Ozzy started with (before Black Sabbath was Black Sabbath), so maybe this is more of a tribute to the musical path he never went down. Still, this is one of the better tracks from the album.
On the other hand, some tracks like All the Young Dudes (Mott the Hoople) and Buffalo Springfield’s For What its Worth (‘There’s something happenin’ here, and it ain’t exactly clear…’) are meh. The first sounded flat and phoned in, the latter is a protest song and not even in the same town as Ozzy’s alley.
Still, a pretty decent endeavor overall.
A respectable 4.9 out of 6 on the arbitrary NWOt scale. Points were deducted for the couple of meh tracks. If they were gone then it could be a 6 just for In My Life and Lennon’s Working Class Hero alone. But hey, 11 out 13 tracks ain’t bad.
Conspicuous by it’s absence, by the way, is the often existence-denied cover of the Bee Gee’s Stayin Alive (not even as a hidden track) – although I’m sure everyone has it downloaded somewhere.
Headphonability – none of the tracks are “heavy” and won’t blow out your eardrums. However, this is Ozzy we’re talking about, and he’s as high pitched as ever.
Travelicity – Not road music! Maybe you can add Rocky Mountain Way or Fire to a compilation or something.
Replayability – This isn’t the type of thing I’d stick in the CD player and forget about. Break it up into various disks and playlists and it’ll be appreciated longer.
Apparently there’s a Dual Disk version out there with video, but my mashugana music club sent me the album only!