What a strange week this has been and all due to one record. Is this Ozzy Osbourne singing?
Record dealers hunt for records in the hope that they will find something so rare and unusual – the Holy Grail moment if you like. Well Pete might or might not have found his.
Let me explain
As usual Pete has been answering calls and running about looking for records and collections. He has always dreamt of finding his Holy Grail and in the past has been too excited to sleep in case the call tomorrow was the one! Well, after 30 years of dreaming Pete thought he had found what would probably be the most important disc of his career and to say he was excited is an understatement.
Pete visited an old Birmingham musician who was in a recorded band in the 60’s and bought a box of interesting R&B and Rock N Roll 7” singles off him. In the box was an acetate, an Emidisc with hand written labels stating it was by THE PROSPECTORS. He couldn’t remember where it came from and we couldn’t play it at the time. The name meant nothing to me, so Pete happily came home with his purchases and decided to do a bit of research into the band. That was when the fun began…
After a while on search engines Pete came up with a link to an Official Website that stated, “John ‘Ozzy’ Osbourne’s 1st music experience was in a band called THE PROSPECTORS, which also included future Polka Tulk slide guitarist Jimmy Phillips”.
We thought “nah, can’t be!” but then we listened to the 2 sides and it definitely sounds like Ozzy to us. This was 5 years before Black Sabbath so a much younger Ozzy, but his style is there in it’s infancy.
The acetate is a recording of two Blues tunes: “LONESOME ROAD BLUES” and” THAT’S ALRIGHT” (not the Elvis tune).
This record DOES NOT EXIST!! It is undocumented and never before heard. The band are even listed in a Sabbath History as “(Never Existed?)” so there are questions unanswered about this early part of Ozzy’s career. As a hunter of rare records you can imagine how Pete feels about this discovery and how important it would be for the history of Birmingham music, Black Sabbath and Heavy Metal – Ozzy’s very first recording session. So, Pete set to trying to authenticate this, with the help of the media.
All was going well, BBC Midlands Today interested in coming down the shop to do some filming. They were planning to run as ‘Is It or Isn’t It’ story for the viewers which would have illicited public response and perhaps found other members of the Prospectors (as well as great publicity for Psychotron Records and the shop in Sutton Coldfield). Their research team, and Pete were searching for contacts who could confirm or deny what was on the record.
The Bad News … and some reason for doubt
Then Pete posted a comment on Ozzy.com which is possibly administrated by Sharon Osbourne and Ozzy’s management agency. They asked to hear a clip which we duly sent and they very quickly replied saying it “is with 100% certainty” that it is not Ozzy singing and he himself has confirmed this. So being honest Pete gave this information to the BBC who unsurprisingly pulled the plug on the film. This was disappointing.
Now… this came from a guy who would have played on the same circuit as this band. When Pete got back in touch with him he thinks he was given it at a gig in Handsworth or Aston which fits. Ozzy was certainly in a band called THE PROSPECTORS in Birmingham at this time (around 1966) and would have been playing blues. It all points that way but without his say so it cannot be verified completely. Maybe he can’t remember recording the disc, maybe they had another singer who sounded just like a young Ozzy, or perhaps he would like to distance himself from the recording, it’s all a bit of a mystery. He has nothing to gain from admitting it is him but could be a problem if he is out of the public eye at the moment.
I guess we still have a disc that we’re sure is from Ozzy’s first group which is previously unknown even if it is not him singing. Pete continues to ask opinions of anyone who is interested in music and has been listening to Ozzy for years. The split is about 80:20 as I write. This includes Jim Simpson (their first manager) is “pretty certain” it’s Ozzy.
Here it is so judge for yourself
So here is some of both sides of the disc so you can judge for yourself.