Black & Bluegrass: A Tribute to Ozzy Osbourne is the kind of record that should probably never be made. It is a cynical pairing of two completely divergent streams of culture that is obviously only in existence to bilk people out of their money. Still, that being said it is actually a pretty good record. Bluegrass is a surprisingly elastic form of music that can easily transform a heavy metal anthem like "Crazy Train" into something that sounds like it was written by Bill Monroe. Well, almost. The band doing the transforming of both solo Ozzy and Black Sabbath classics is called Iron Horse, and the four guys in the band are very proficient musicians and singers who sound like they are in on the joke. Their take on "Paranoid" is especially fun with plenty of lightning-fast pickin' and a suitable hellfire-and-brimstone vocal. They also do weird things with "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" and "Shot in the Dark" that almost defy nature. Most likely bluegrass fans will shun this like the plague, and Ozzy fans, should they stumble across it, will find the concept pretty hokey. It's their loss because Black & Bluegrass is a barrel of fun.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra