"I knew this story was going to be big news for BLACK SABBATH fans, but never did I realize how fast the news would travel! I'm pleased to see that SABBATH fans around the world are just as interested in Alex's tale as I was when he first shared it with me. Without further adieu, here is the backstory on the Dumfries '69 tape in Alex's own words:
"Alex Wilson: 'The night of Sunday, 16th November 1969 at Rugman's Youth Club changed my life. I'd never heard a band play with such power or heavy riffs before, and it actually made me start my own band!
"'I'll start off by describing Rugman's — it's like standing in a small section of railway tunnel. There were stages at both ends, possibly about 20 yards long with walls curving onto the ceiling. The stage SABBATH played on was about 2 foot high. There were no fancy stage lights, just one red bulb overhead and all the other room lights were out! There was about a crowd of 80 to 100 of an average age around 16 years, so there was no alcohol. It is worth noting that there was NO swearing from Ozzy, possibly because there were kids present and maybe his Dumfries girlfriend as well — a girl named Gillian McQueen.
"'The acoustics were quite good if there was a crowd in. The show was recorded at the far stage from where the SABS played, using one Grundig dynamic mike (thus making the tape just monaural). There was no automatic level setting on the mike then, so there are fluctuations in the recording level, as well as the inevitable bits of tape dropout considering the age of the tape originally used. During the music solos, you can hear the crowd chatting and discussing the evening, due to the obvious fact that they were standing between the mike and the band.
"'The original tape was recorded on a Grundig reel to reel at 3 and 3/4 ips. I used to record every AMPLIFIED HEAT show, so my equipment was there. Towards the end of the Seventies, the tape began to fall apart. God knows when the original tape used was manufactured! But I did manage to transfer the recording to another reel to reel. SABBATH played 2 sets that night, but I was so gobsmacked that I didn't record the first set!
"'SABBATH's equipment set-up that night was as follows: Ozzy sang through a Vox 100 watt P.A. amplifier via 2 Vox columns with four 10" speakers in each of them! Geezer and Tony had a Laney stack each with two 4 x 12" speaker cabinets each, but amazingly their Laney amp heads were only 60 watts (one amp per stack)! Bill's kit consisted of 1 bass drum, one hanging tom, one floor tom, one snare, and a hi hat!!”
"'The tape lasts approximately 62 minutes and the running order is as follows:
"'Black Sabbath': 'I managed to get the last minute and half of this song.
"'Let Me Love You Baby': 'This is a fast jazz-blues song that I'm sure Jeff Beck/Rod Stewart did on their first LP. It lasts just under 5 minutes, but sadly suffers from a bit of volume drop out for 20 seconds in the last minute of the song. Otherwise, it's brilliant. This was the end of their first set of the evening. Ozzy announces that they’ll have a half-hour break at this point in the show.
"'A Song For Jim' / Bill Ward's Drum Solo / 'A Song For Jim' [reprise]: 'The second set starts off with a flute and drum solo section featuring Tony Iommi on flute! This segues into Bill Ward soloing with his tiny kit! This section lasts approx 11 minutes and has a jazzy flute part in the middle that sounds like something out of the 'Pink Panther'!' [Editor's note — Although Alex had originally listed this one as just a 'Flute & Drum solo', it immediately occurred to me that Tony was actually playing the melody for 'A Song For Jim'! Upon closer inspection, I realized that Geezer was playing as well, so this is actually a live version of the song so many collectors have been clawing for. While we've only heard a smidgen of the unreleased demo for this song on the 'Black Sabbath Story - Volume 1' video, we get to hear quite a bit more here. This rarely heard song sandwiches a rather lengthy Bill Ward drum solo and a short flute interlude from Tony. The complete running time of this track is 11:01.]
"'Warning': 'After a small break of 30 seconds the fourth track is 'Warning', lasting 17 minutes and 45 seconds. There are slight bits of volume dips and tape dropout during this number, which is otherwise very good quality.
"'Wicked World': 'The next song is 'Wicked World' lasting 5 minutes 30 seconds. This features a jazzy section between verses 1 and 2 that's not on the single version. I don't know if it's been on any other recordings or not. There's a severe jump in the volume during the instrumental section leading to the last verse. God knows what caused that! You can hear Bill counting in the ending...
"'Behind The Wall Of Sleep': 'Next up is 'Behind The Walls Of Sleep' at just under 5 minutes. The last 70 seconds features a fast jazz blues section, which I don’t remember on the original release. [Editor's note — Probably the same jazz instrumental that can also be heard on Paris '70, John Peel's Sunday Show 4/26/70 and Koln 4/3/70.]
"'Early Warning School': 'The seventh track is a fast blues/boogie, which I believe they called 'Early Warning School'. I don't have the announcement on tape, but I seem to recall that was the title they said. But I'm going back 35 years here to remember this! It lasts just under 5 minutes. Very good.
"'N.I.B.': 'The eighth track is 'NIB' at just over 5 minutes long. This is the one that changed my musical outlook and encouraged me to start my own band.
"'Blue Blood Man': 'The last track and the encore for the night is called 'Blue Blood Man'. It's a fast blues/boogie that showcases Tony doing his Alvin Lee impersonation (via Django Reinhardt!) This lasts over 6 minutes and is great!
"'I spoke to the band after the show when they were packing their gear into their old Transit. I asked Tony why he had left JETHRO TULL after even being on 'Top Of The Pops'. 'T.O.T.P.' was the ultimate pinnacle in those days, for you knew you'd arrived if you got on it. He told me he'd 'rather play with my mates. JETHRO TULL are weird!' I can also remember my flared trousers flapping in the wind from the volume of the show when I was standing in front of the stage! I met the band another 3 times in the very early '70s and they always remembered the times they played in Dumfries. I'm sure there are more Dumfries dates for your timeline, which I'll try and find out for you.'"