SPIDER: 'THE COMPLETE ANTHOLOGY' (Cherry Red Records)
It was Metallica who coined the phrase: "Bang that head that doesn't bang", and that rule really applies to this rather spiffing four CD box set of Merseyside's finest ever boogie legends, Spider.
You see, whilst Status Quo were packing them out playing in front of Prince Charlie and boasting about The End Of The Road, Spider were like their younger cousins with a lot more spit and fight in them playing in every toilet up and down the country, getting themselves on major tours with bands like Uriah Heep and Gillan, getting on the Reading Festival bill, headlining Hammersmith and even getting their ugly mugs on national TV.
They were either loved or loathed but anyone who knows fun when it hits them knew that with Spider you were onto a winner. They had the fourth chord and the amps turned up to eleven with some memorable explosive gigs and were an old Marquee Club favourite.
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Spider never really got the recognition they deserved, but jumping from record label to record label certainly didn't help matters. I have fond memories of snapping up an early copy of the boogie tastic single (that's right) 'Talkin' 'Bout Rock 'N Roll' and playing it to death and watching Spider performing the single 'Why D'ya Lie To Me' on Peter Powell's BBC2 Oxford Road Show and also on the infamous Channel 4 show ECT when I can still clearly remember Spider's number one fan, a young wee snapper/journalist Dave Ling, headbanging down the front with his then ginger barnet bopping up and down in the crowd like a lost basketball.
With this box set when it says 'The Complete Anthology' that's exactly what you get. The debut album from 82 'Rock 'N Roll Gypsies', 'Rough Justice' from 84 and the hard to find 'Raise The Banner' from a year later just before Spider threw in the towel. All come with relevant extra tracks such as singles and their b-sides. Even the 'Amazing Grace' medley is included here in it's full unedited glory. Not only that but there's another disc full of their early independant releases.
I'm not going to go into full detail about each album as I could really talk all day about this release. Put it this way, I was jumping up and down like an excited little child who got the present he wanted on Xmas day when this little beauty popped through my letterbox.
Dave Ling provides some highly informative sleeve notes with some hilarious anecdotes from the band members themselves. One would love a full reunion but with the Burrows brothers living in Australia one can only hope. Colin Harkness and Sniffa can still be found in some local boozers if you search hard enough. The only things missing from this box set is a free embroided patch and a tennis racket.
It's a crying shame that Spider called it a day just as when Status Quo with going off into 'Margarita Time' and 'In The Army Now' territory because Spider spun a very tangly web from which there was no escape from. The campaign for a Spider reunion starts here.
Single 'Why D'ya Lie To Me', extra track on 'Rock 'N Roll Gypsies'
'Here We Go Rock 'n Roll' from 'Rough Justice'
'Gimme Gimme It All' filmed at the Marquee from 'Raise The Banner'
'Children Of The Street' single from 1980 on 'The Early Years' disc
You can buy 'The Complete Anthology' direct from Cherry Red at http://www.cherryred.co.uk/lemon-exd.asp?id=3799