Ozzy Osbourne

Live & Loud

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Ozzy Osbourne has gotten more mileage out of live albums than any other hard rocker because he knows how to play the game. He knows how to make each record special, or at least a little bit different. Usually, this just means showcasing his new guitarist; at other times it just means showing off the new material. With Live and Loud, a double-disc set released in 1993, it was a combination of parading Zakk Wylde in a live setting and putting together a nifty limited-edtion package (the initial CD pressing of the album was designed as a mock speaker and contained two tattoos). Musically, there isn't much new, outside of a couple of recent songs, delivered with skill and professionalism by Ozzy's new band. Still, there's a lot to be said for professionalism -- there may not be any surprises, but there are no disappointments. Besides, Ozzy's live records are always enjoyable, since they have a more consistent set of material than his studio albums, plus a looser feel that is quite appealing. So, even if Live & Loud isn't a necessary album, it is an entertaining one.

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