The Imperial Sessions

The Spiders

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The Imperial Sessions Review

by Greg Adams

The Spiders' first Imperial session was a split one in which they recorded two gospel songs as the Delta Southernaires and two R&B songs as the Spiders. The latter two, "I Didn't Want to Do It" b/w "You're the One," became a big double-sided hit in 1954, launching the career of one of New Orleans' preeminent vocal groups and permanently sidetracking their gospel music ambitions. (A year later, the El Dorados reworked "I Didn't Want to Do It" into the R&B chart-topper "At My Front Door"). The Spiders scored three more Top Ten hits through 1955 before falling off the charts, then stayed together for another year until lead singer Chuck Carbo went solo. The Imperial Sessions is a two-disc set that compiles the group's complete Imperial recordings from 1953-1960, including the two Delta Southernaires cuts and four of Carbo's solo sides. Dave Bartholomew produced the sessions and wrote many of the group's songs, although a former Delta Southernaires guitarist named Adolph Smith penned the first two hits and most of their early material. Tensions between Carbo and the rest of the group are evident on the Spiders' recordings as early as 1954; Imperial was pressuring him to leave the group, and songs such as "I'll Stop Crying" and "For a Thrill," which feature Carbo's double-tracked vocals, are practically solo records despite appearing under the Spiders' name. The group alternated harmony-laden ballads with sometimes risqué novelties such as "The Real Thing," a double-entendre song about "my ding-a-ling" like the Bees' "Toy Bell" (another one of Bartholomew's productions). Carbo and the group tried out some new sounds on their later recordings, from the countrified "Dear Mary" to a cover of a the Easy Riders' folk song "Times." The Spiders re-formed in 1960 for a final two-song session that produced the Willie Mabon-inspired "Tennessee Slim," after which the members went their various ways. The Imperial Sessions is an encyclopedic and pricey anthology of the Spiders' original recordings that will particularly intrigue listeners with an interest in New Orleans' Cosimo studio and the doings of Dave Bartholomew.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 The Spiders 02:29 Amazon
2 The Spiders 02:37 Amazon
3
The Spiders 02:16 Amazon
4 The Spiders 02:40 Amazon
5 The Spiders 02:11 Amazon
6
The Spiders 02:08 Amazon
7 The Spiders 01:48 Amazon
8 The Spiders 02:28 Amazon
9 The Spiders 02:07 Amazon
10 The Spiders 02:39 Amazon
11 The Spiders 02:29 Amazon
12 The Spiders 02:01 Amazon
13 The Spiders 02:27 Amazon
14 The Spiders 02:19 Amazon
15 The Spiders 02:14 Amazon
16 The Spiders 02:02 Amazon
17 The Spiders 02:10 Amazon
18 The Spiders 02:11 Amazon
19 The Spiders 01:57 Amazon
20 The Spiders 01:49 Amazon
21 The Spiders 01:44 Amazon
22 The Spiders 02:13 Amazon
23 The Spiders 01:49 Amazon
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