With the name Emmett Spicer, it almost seems too good to be true that one of the few anecdotes about this early Chicago electric guitarist was that he, along with famous jazz bassist Wilbur Ware, doused another musician with nutmeg as a prank. The nutmegged musician did not come back down to Earth for three or four days, and was not amused at being "spiced" like that. While not engaging in diversions of this sort, Spicer was part of the busy and creative '40s and '50s Chicago music scene. He was involved with several different performing and recording groups, including a version of Duke Groner's trio that was based on the popular sound of Nat "King" Cole's trio. This group recorded for Aristocrat in 1947 and again the following year. The track "New Blowtop Blues" by Groner, featuring Spicer, was included on the Columbia anthology entitled Philadelphia Boogie, despite being recorded thousands of miles away from the city of brotherly love. In 1950, the guitarist was part of a group named the Music Mechanics, which recorded for the Modern label backing up singer Byllye Williams. Other members of this group included pianist Lloyd Smith and bassist Joe Johnson. The same year, this identical trio also backed up singer Bobby Anderson as the Bobby Anderson Quartet, recording the song "I Would Really Like to Know," written and arranged by Connie Toole. In the early '50s, Spicer dropped in and then back out of the trio of vocalist and pianist Prince Cooper, the reason being the decision of Wilbur Wynne, this group's original guitarist, to pack off with pianist Ahmad Jamal. For Spicer, this nice gig was lost when Wynne rebounded back. Spicer was an excellent combo guitarist in a time when the possibilities of new instrumental technology were just being discovered. His sound on old recordings has certainly influenced many players, even if they don't know who he is.
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