black widow - 70s heavy rock occult wave

the intarwebs are rife with the fodder of interesting, cult-ish jams not unlike the aphrodite's child and cromagon records i posted earlier this week. our friends over at orexis of death just posted a super-sized slab of demonic psych/prog rock in the form of leicester, england's theatrical wizards, black widow. follow the links at the bottom for more info/downloads.

from the black widow myspace page:
Once upon a time in Leicester, England, there were seven young musicians; Kay Garrett (vocals), Kip Trevor (vocals, guitar & harmonica), Jess "Zoot" Taylor (organ & piano), Jim Gannon (guitar & vocals), Clive Jones (sax & flute), Bob Bond (bass guitar) & Clive Box (drums & percussion). In the year of our lord, 1966, they formed the band Pesky Gee!. The band made one album for "Pye", "Exclamation Mark" (1969), before reforming without Garret as Black Widow in 1970. CBS become the bands new label. The group played a wild orgiastic, black mass oriented rock, much in the footstep of their colleagues Black Sabbath.
The band had a small amount of success with "Come To The Sabbat", taken off their first LP Sacrifice (1970). The band had an extravagant mystic show (centred on the female demon Astaroth and choreographed by members of Leicester's Phoenix Theatre Company) and outrageous effects. The live show initially featured the mock sacrifice of a nude woman, which in itself, was enough to cause uproar in the press, and coupled with the fact that they were receiving advice on the art of witchcraft from Alex Sanders, the self professed "King Of The Witches" - the Sunday tabloids had a field day!
Early concerts were attended by priests waving crosses in the air, warning those attending to the inherent dangers of witchcraft and Black Widow. Religious fanatics would preach at the waiting queues urged on by journalists looking for a story. The news writer Paul Green said that the Black Widow music and stage show was not an example of Satanism, but more an example of Satanic bad taste.
The debut album reached the number 32 (or 34?) in the U.K. charts. The group toured throughout Europe and appeared at the Isle of Wight Festival of 1969 and 1970.
Gannon and Trevor later worked on a abortive project to turn the Black Widow stage show into a Broadway musical.
Before Sacrifice, the group had in 1969 recorded the "same" record with Kip Trevor and Kay Garret (from Pesky Gee!) on vocals. The master tapes remained in the possession of band member Clive Jones and have not been heard until now, when it has been released as 'Return to the Sabbat' on Mystic Records.
By their second album Black Widow (1971) the band had pulled away from their Black Magic influences, hoping to widen their appeal, but received less response. Black Widow had a different line-up on each of their albums: Jeff Griffith replaced Bond, Romeo Challenger filled in for Box and John Culley (ex-Cressida) took over Gannon's guitar duties. Check this 'Black Widow ready reference chart' if you are interested in Black Widows different line-ups.
The Band received barely any interest from international music press, if any at all, yet become nonetheless a definite part of the early seventies "Heavy Rock Occult Wave".
Their third album, Black Widow III, came out in 1972. With songs like The Battle (a antiwar song) and The Sun (a hymn to the sun) it stood very clear that the group had left the dark domains and become more commercial. The record received critics in the European press. In fact Black Widow was more successful in countries like Italy, Sweden, Germany, France, Austria and Netherlands, than in the United Kingdom.
By the summer of 1972, the impetus was beginning to drain from Black Widow. The band were tired, dispirited, and without a record label, having been dropped by CBS.
With the future looking increasingly bleak Black Widow entered D.T. Studios in Kettering to begin recording their fourth album (Black Widow IV). The irony of the situation was that the band, due to the circumstances prevailing at the time, were left to produce the new record them self, something they had always requested in the past, but always been refused. The end result was that the band recorded, by far, their strongest album - but it was never to see the light of day until now (thanks to Mystic Records and Clive Jones).
Shortly after "Black Widow IV" was recorded Kip Trevor left the band to be replaced by an American singer called Rick "E". The last four songs on the album are demos put together by the band at that time. Like the fourth album, nothing was ever to be done with them - until now!! (Thanks again Mystic Records and Clive Jones!)
After Black Widow Gannon went to play with songwriter Kenny Young in Fox (1975), Dave Cartwright and Alice Cooper (1976) and Yellow Dog (1977) before joining Sherbet and moving to Australia where he leads a club band called "Bop till you drop". Trevor worked as a session singer and music publisher while Challenger plays drums for "Showaddywaddy"

Exclamation Point LP (1969) as Pesky Gee!
Return To The Sabbat (1969) unreleased until now
Sacrifice LP (1970 CBS Records)
Black Widow LP (1971 CBS Records)
III LP (1972 CBS Records)
IV CD (1997 Mystic Records)



Slobodan Burgher said...

you got me convinced, will try this out later, thanks!

Anonymous said...