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The Web

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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The Web I Spider album cover
4.08 | 92 ratings | 7 reviews | 32% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Concerto for Bedsprings (10:10) :
- a. I Can't Sleep
- b. Sack Song
- c. Peaceful Sleep
- d. You Can Keep the Good Life
- e. Loner
2. I Spider (8:30)
3. Love You (5:21)
4. Ymphasomniac (6:43)
5. Always I Wait (8:10)

Total Time 38:54

Bonus tracks on 2008 Esoteric remaster:
6. Concerto for Bedsprings (live) (10:40)
7. Love You (live) (4:22)

Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Lawson / vocals, piano, organ, Mellotron, harpsichord, producer (6,7)
- Tony Edwards / electric & acoustic guitars
- Tom Harris / tenor & soprano saxophones, concert & alto flutes, tambourine
- John Eaton / bass, cabassa
- Lennie Wright / drums, timpani, congas, giro, vibes, co-producer
- Kenny Beveridge / drums, bongos, woodblock, jawbone

Releases information

Artwork: Robin Clifford

LP Polydor ‎- 2383 024 (1970, UK)

CD Polydor ‎- ERC-29230 (1990, Japan)
CD Sunrise Records ‎- 30523042 (2003, Europe)
CD Esoteric Recordings ‎- ECLEC 2027 (2008, UK) Remastered by Dave Lawson w/ 2 bonus Live tracks recorded in Sweden, 1971, previously unreleased

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THE WEB I Spider ratings distribution

(92 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(32%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(56%)
Good, but non-essential (10%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

THE WEB I Spider reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is where The Web became just Web, ultimately offering a powerful point of reference for the evolution of prog rock in the jazz-rock area. The entry of keyboardist Dave Lawson (also owner of a charismatic, powerful singing style, bizarre pitch) refurbished the band's sound by making the keyboards and vibes form the prominent nuclear center of the whole ensemble's sound. It is also obvious that the new fresh air comes from the solid influences from great contemporaries art-rock bands such as Soft Machine, The Nice, Caravan, Egg and Procol Harum. The album kicks off with the monster piece 'Concerto for Bedsprings', a 10+ minute song with five individually defined sections. 'I Can't Sleep' is a slow rocker intro that sounds like a Zeppelin-meets-Egg feast, and it is a real pity that it isn't longer because it's terribly catchy. Anyway, the transitions to the next two sections emphasize the band's jazzy nuclear essence, very Canterbury-related indeed. 'You Can Keep the Good Life' is an uplifting section that straightforwardly reveals the band's good vibe; the featured sax solo is playful enough to complement the quite controlled deliveries of the remaining instruments. A passage like this explains why Lawson was destined to meet Dave Greeenslade some day and form a band together. Once again, this section ends too soon to segue into the closing section 'Loner'. I wouldn't have minded if it had been some minutes longer, but it's really a great start. The namesake track is an excellent showcase for the ingenious use of a simplistic musical idea in order to make it richer. The languid cadence, the lush organ layers and soaring vibraphone, the hazy sax lines, all of them create a pertinently introspective atmosphere; meanwhile, the repetitive minimal guitar phrases fulfill the overall aura with their focused precision. And the gentle chord shift that sets the conclusive portion, well, it's just plain lovely, mysterious in a way. If a track can last 8 minutes with such an evidently concise motif, then one must acknowledge the genius in the concept and the arrangement. The album's second half kicks off with 'Love You': after an eerie intro of piano and mellotron, the piece unwraps a main body that sounds like one of those R'n'B-toned The Nice songs that made it for any of their first two albums, only Web delivers it with a more meticulous balance among instruments. Lead guitarist plays a brief, rough solo that is closely related to anything that Robin Trower could have performed in Procol Harum's "Shine On Brightly" or "Home" albums. Generally speaking, this track is not too complex, but it certainly portrays a very usual sound in England's underground rock scene at the time. Complexity really comes out in the superb instrumental 'Ymphasomniac', an effective exhibition of pre-Gentle Giant syncopation combined with colorful traces of Egg and Colosseum. The album's last 8 minutes are occupied by 'Always I Wait', a song that brings much of the spirit of the extroverted moments from 'Concerto', only this time provided with an extra touch of blues-rock to feed the overall jazz feel. The track's melodic arrangement is elegantly developed, which shows the band's ability to set constraints to the potential energy in a clever way. Shortly after, the band added a second saxophonist and changed its name to Samurai: "I Spider" is, mainly, a solid precedent of that, and in itself, a great if obscure effort for the installment of early prog.
Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Last or second last album of this group, depending on how you view the Samurai album that followed I Spider. Personally I prefer this as the second last The Web albums (making Samurai the last), but who cares anyway? Here the group went through an important shuffle, losing their singer John Watson and bassist, the former getting replaced by keyboardist and singer Dave Lawson (ex-Episode 6, ex-Almond Marzipan & future Greenslade), who'll become also the only songwriter on this third album. The latter's replacement is one of the guitarist switching to bass, thus making the group a sextet down from a septet. This change, plus the label change (from Deram to Polydor) made The Web a dramatically different group, even if the music mini-suites from the two previous albums remained, here with the 10- mins+ concerto For Bedsprings. The album came with a stunning gatefold artwork, showing animals with Chinese finger-lade shadow-heads.

In itself the music of the group was greatly changed, sounding much more like a brassy King Crimson and Colosseum, starting with the five movement 10-mins+ mini-suite Concerto For Bedsprings, which from the tone of the voice is not about to please our pornographic or erotic hunger, with the depressing I Can't Sleep for first movement. The next sack Song is definitely more upbeat with the horns reminding of Charig, Miller or Evans on early Crimson albums, Lawson's voice certainly not having the strength of their previous John L Watson, but is not that bad a fit for this type of songs. The following three movement keep a Colosseum feel close by. The following track is another lengthy title track, which pumps its main slow riff from somewhere else (it could also be from atomic Rooster), with Lawson's gloomy voice towering over the guitar and the sax, while the drum take dramatic tom rolls. Excellent stuff, especially Harris' soprano sax solo.

The flipside starts with the ultra slow intro-ed Love Song, which soon gets its gallon as a pure brass rock gem that unfortunately overstays its welcome by a minute or so. The following Ymphasomniac repetitive instrumental sounds like a second rate The Nice until the percussion/drum duo changes the tune, as it reprises with horns, but it's a bit too late to save it, even though it's got its charm. The menacing and almost brooding Always I Wait closes the album and it's got some of the best instrumental interplay including some vibraphone, (which again send Colosseum comparisons) and some interesting childish vocals.

Many of these tracks from this album (including the Bedspring Concerto) will find themselves as bonus live tracks of a reissue of the Samurai album. I trust Vicky and her friends from the Esoteric label to have done a good thorough job cleaning and mastering this album in the brand new reissue of all three Web, plus the Samurai albums, which were all in dire need of it, because it takes a bit too much an effort to actually dig out what shouldn't be. In the meantime, This probably the best Dave Lawson album, possibly along with Samurai, I Spider is an excellent album that could turn your shelves into something more special than if you had a [&*!#]load of Greenslade album.

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Keyboardist/singer Dave Lawson is among the musicians from, as I see it, a musical culture local to mid Southeast England. More a style than a scene - which I've affectionately coined the 'Surrey sound' - it includes artists from this area such as David Greenslade, as well as those from Greater London like Morgan Fisher and Quatermass. It is Lawson [replacing John L. Watson] who gives Web's third release it's distinction and marvelous prog direction, moving the band quite some distance from their previous West Coast psych/jazz approach. Veteran proggies will immediately recognize Lawson's vibrato-less caterwaul from his Greenslade days and I Spider reveals just how much he contributed to that classic band's sound. It also makes it a set indispensable to anyone with a thing for those one-shot prog happenings that appeared and just as quickly evaporated (Quiet Sun anyone?). As stated by AMG's JoAnn Greene; "Lawson's fabulous organ playing was now the band's fulcrum, filling the album with rich, and especially on the title track, haunting atmospheres, as well as providing a fixed point from which the rest of the band could swoop off in their own directions."

Tony Edwards' big fuzz guitar sound, Tom Harris's saxes and Lennie Wright's vibes introduce the 5-sectioned 'Concerto for Bedsprings', soon taken over by Dave Lawson's eldritch piano lines and complaints of insomnia. It wastes no time moving briskly from easy swing to weird Lounge music, hard jazzrock, Lawson's lonely man blues and near-suicidal lyrics. Turning up the class is the title, a sophisticated ballroom that sparkles with modern jazz in a Shirley Bassey mode (Lawson had studied with British jazz great Stan Tracey). Rocker 'Love You' is atonal but nice, facet-cut angles of wonderful 'Ymphasomniac' with Kenny Beveridge's tympani booms, bongos & assorted percussives and a killer jam-out from all, and the album wraps on another fascinating meeting of swing-jazz with hard progrock for 'Always I Wait'.

Lawson would go on to co-lead David Greenslade's band but this is arguably his finest moment in the Prog firmament. These days he and his state-of-the-art sound design system, purportedly the largest Synclavier and synth setups in Europe, do just fine composing for all number of films, television, orchestrations and productions. If you don't already have a taste for this rather pungent Prog milieu, I Spider simply may not excite you the way it will those who love the kind of frenetic and funky rave-ups offered by Morgan, The Nice, Touch, and Beggars Opera. Two interesting live cuts from Sweden in 1971 are offered as well.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. WEB had released two studio albums when their singer decided to leave so enter Dave Lawson who would change their sound to more of a Jazz style. He had just left EPISODE SIX not long after Ian Gillan and Roger Glover left for DEEP PURPLE. I'm such a fan of Lawson's keyboard work and here he plays piano, organ, harpsichord, mellotron along with taking care of the vocals. He would go on to play in the amazing band GREENSLADE a few years after this. Man I like this album. The lyrics and sound all click with me. A six piece with two drummers, a sax player and the usual rock instruments. I have the Esoteric release which has some great liner notes and I love the old concert posters they show, all nine of them as we get a picture of how incredible it must have been to be in England in 1970 with all these great bands playing together. Okay the album cover is lame.

Up first is the over 10 minute suite called "Concerto For Bedsprings" dealing with lack of sleep and more. A dramatic intro but it settles with vocals and organ. A change at 1 1/2 minutes as it turns more sparse but also more urgent. Another change after 2 1/2 minutes with piano, sax and jazzy bass lines. So good! Percussion too. Reserved vocals after 4 1/2 minutes then it kicks back in with bass, vocals and more 6 minutes in. It settles back after 9 1/2 minutes. Great start.

"I Spider" is one of my favourites. Mellow organ and bass to start as a beat arrives then soft vocals. It kicks in some before 1 1/2 minutes with drums and guitar but then settles back as contrasts continue. Some nice sax after 5 minutes then the vocals return before 7 minutes. Some sinister sounding sections on this one which isn't surprising considering the lyrics.

"Love You" opens with mellotron and picked guitar I believe. Relaxed vocals too then it calms right down at 1 1/2 minutes. It then kicks in with some power with sax over top as passionate vocals join in. Nice. Love the sound of that guitar soling after 3 1/2 minutes as the vocals step aside. They return a minute later. Great sound.

"Ymphasomniac" along with the title track are my favs and this is the only instrumental on the album. I like how it builds and we get mellotron after a minute. A calm with bongos 2 minutes in then heavy drums only a minute later before piano joins in. I like this a lot. Sax follows and more then organ comes to the fore after 4 1/2 minutes. So good!

"Always I Wait" has these lyrics about girls are wearing skirts that get shorter and shorter(haha) reminds me of my French teacher in elementary school who wore mini-skirts back in the early seventies. Surprised they haven't made a comeback. Heavy fuzzed out sounds and organ early as the vocals join in. A calm after 2 1/2 minutes with organ, bass and a beat as the vocals stop. Jazzy bass before 3 1/2 minutes then the vocals return briefly. They are back though before 5 1/2 minutes then some heaviness. It settles with vocals after 6 minutes.

I spent a lot of time with this one and SAMURAI's debut which is really the followup to this one. That review is next.

Review by DangHeck
4 stars I Spider (1970) is the third and final album by the Web before morphing into Samurai. Although I know this was the first album of theirs that I had heard, it's one of those funny things in which I don't recall how I became even basically acquainted with them, or even remotely when exactly. A nice, mysterious block of whitespace in the ol' history books, eh? I certainly would consider it an if-you-know-it-you-know-it's-a-classic sort of album; no purpose in gatekeeping this for the masses; it's just Prog Obscura, Prog for Prog fans(?). Anyhow... Most notable to me now, a recent realization in fact, is that this is the entry point of keyboard-vocalist Dave Lawson (best known from Greenslade). Being the shift to [traditional] keys, as well as the key vocalist (replacing John Watson), Lawson also "assumed the leadership" of Samurai post-name-change.

Our album begins with the 10-minute mini-epic, wonderfully entitled "Concerto for Bedsprings". There is a dark, even unsettling eeriness to me that feels perhaps like VdGG. This is substantiated further by the swirling, uneven rhythm and crying saxophone starting around minute 2. And a second major shift occurs before minute 3; absolutely wondrous. This feels so out of time, yet I find I could often enough say the same thing about their contemporaries in Blood, Sweat & Tears and Chicago; all that to say, compliments all 'round: beautiful and dreamy Jazz. Dave Lawson, it should be noted, next to his absolutely lovely keyboard performance, has a voice that will likely polarize, but is very of the time; gruff and dramatic [Not dissimilar to vocal performances found in early, early Heavy Metal music]. Not quite to that effect, but musically they do have roots the same as Arthur Brown and Atomic Rooster. This track is strong. Great opener; perhaps 'Essential'.

Up next on our 5-song album is the title track, "I Spider", moody and dramatic in its soft-spoken, yet simultaneously booming arrangements, with quieted horns, sizeable rhythm section and Dave's phenomenal vibrato. It has a dirge-like quality. In the middle section, over blasted tom-toms, the guitar slices roughly through the air, pitted against the dynamic breaths of sax. Melancholy continues on "Love You". Much less of an immediate statement as the two that came before, "Love You" halts then picks back up with haste. Now I must know how Lawson and Co. felt about Hammill and the rest of Van der Graaf, and vice versa... It's not uncanny, or anything, but the similarities are impossible for me not to make. Second thoughts showed how similar this is to my ears to the well-known Greenslade track-turned-theme-song "Gangsters" 5 years later (though it's actually an essential in my opinion).

Then we have the very cool "Ymphasomniac". Awesome stuff going on rhythmically, as it slips and slides around in a sort of circle. Also, consider the tones used for keyboard. This track allows percussion to really shine, with a break around minute 2. Even when the mood brightens, the band is just so cool and collected. Sick, groovy jam. We even get a bright, airy vibes solo! Up next, "Always I Wait" had me just stop what I was doing and softly proclaim, 'Damn.' This is just unbelievably cool for 1970. A mindblower, if you ask me. What Dave is doing on the organ especially is just melting me; thankfully I'm sober enough to stay upright (I mean, I have to finish this review haha). Everyone is keeping the f*ck up! This band was phenomenal at their best, truly phenomenal. Once again, Tony Edwards on guitar trades off, but this time with vibraphonist Lennie Wright, apparently one of two drummers (I don't know how I had missed that detail until now). Anyhow, this is the best track on the album (my partner hates Dave Lawson's voice haha; I'm a definite fan of all of it). [Perhaps, though, your hipster girlfriend can agree with the rest as well.]

A not-so-excited round-down from an exact True Rate of 4.5/5.0.

[I definitely wanted to say how excited I was with this, my 238th review; I am officially in the "100 MOST PROLIFIC REVIEWERS". Just stoked on it.] [Oops...]

Latest members reviews

4 stars Good stuff, classic British Jazz Rock. Concerto For Bedsprings is song where at times I find Dave Lawsons voice unpleasant but at other times find myself loving the song. I think this one is a mixed bag but it's presence ultimately enhances the album. I Spider is a bit shorter and better. A ve ... (read more)

Report this review (#2486295) | Posted by Beautiful Scarlet | Sunday, December 20, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The British band THE WEB are definitely NOT a band for arachnophobes! There's nothing at all scary about their first album "Fully Interlocking" (1968) with its colourful kaleidoscope image on the cover, but their second album "Theraposa Blondi" (1969) features a huge and extremely scary goliath ... (read more)

Report this review (#2312399) | Posted by Psychedelic Paul | Monday, February 3, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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