onsdag 3 juni 2015


Band formed as "Pesky Gee" 1966 - a seven piece r&b/soul outfit with female vocalist. After playing clubs for a couple of years with style changing towards contemporary psych/prog they got to record an album for Pye - "Exclamation Mark" (NPL/NSPL 18293) - which didn't sell at all. At the end of 1969 lead singer Kay Garret left. The remaining members changed name to Black Widow and adapted a new musical agenda involving occult themes as devil worship and human sacrifice. The transition seemed to have worked for parts of the public and this debute became a minor breakthrough reaching #32 in UK and the '45 "Come To The Sabbath", though banned by BBC in England, became a minor hit in other countries, much due to its inclusion on the popular "Fill Your Head With Rock'" sampler. Today it's impossible not to compare with Black Sabbath. Two British bands with congruous names releasing debute albums with similar occult agendas at about the same time. You'd like to see some connection or inspiration between them, but the likeness could as well have been a coincidence brought on by a hardening social climate and change of drugs - an antithesis to the summer of love. Anyway - band names and lyric themes aside the musical outcome couldn't be more different. The Sabbath debute grinds on like a heavy machine, simple and self evident. This is melodic prog with prominent flute and organ, soft but never harmless, reminding of both Jethro Tull and The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown. I like it a lot - catchy prog, proficiently orchestrated with theme variations and attractive vocals. I've seen some critics calling it "aimless" but hear the opposite - elaborated ideas well implemented. Favorite tracks - "Come To The Sabbath", "Conjuration" and "Sacrifice". Not as hard hitting as the Sabbath debute, but spooky enough. First US on United Artists (UAS-6786) and in Australia on CBS (SBP 233935). Frequently reissued on vinyl and CD from 1990 and on, with or without bonus tracks. Prermiere UK had label as shown here and matt fold out cover with CBS ad inner.

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