Spider Jiving

Andy Fairweather Low

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Spider Jiving Review

by Brett Hartenbach

Andy Fairweather Low spent a fair amount of the late '60s through 1970 in the British Top Ten with the pop-R&B band Amen Corner, as well the short-lived Fair Weather, before taking a nearly three-year hiatus from recording. Shedding his teen idol image of previous years, the Welsh-born Low returned in 1974 with his first solo record, Spider Jiving. Here he delivers 11 self-penned gems that can be as laid-back as they can be funky, employing support from both Nashville and Memphis while retaining the sort of looseness found in an English pub band. With producer Elliot Mazer -- known for his work with Neil Young -- Low punches up tunes such as the acoustic-based title track with help from the Memphis Horns, while his rock & roll and R&B sport wry touches of banjo, fiddle, pedal steel, and Charlie McCoy's harmonica. Lyrically, there's a thread of frustration, steeped in the experiences of someone who's had to sit back and watch others get rich from his hard work and success (Low and Amen Corner made very little money despite their success, and were actually in debt to their label following their breakup). And while lines such as "...and the sad thing is, that no one really cares" and "I've been abused too long..." may hint at singer/songwriter self-pity, closer investigation reveals a playfulness in the music, as well as a sense of humor and a sly wink in his delivery that keeps everything in perspective. Some of the highlights include the irresistible title cut; the dancehall ballad "Dancing in the Dark"; and the wah-wah driven "Reggae Tune," which continued Low's string of U.K. Top Ten hits.

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