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THE WEB

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United Kingdom


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The Web biography
THE WEB was and remains one of the deepest secrets of British prog rock, and nowadays it is a vital item for collectors and researchers. The band started as a jazz/blues act, with a style simultaneously related to America's West Coast groove and UK's early prog (or proto-prog). The powerful presence of African-American singer John L. WATSON and two guitarists provided a tight muscle to the band's sound, reflected in the first two studio efforts "Fully Interlocking" (1968) and "Theraposa Blondi" (1970).

After WATSON and bassist Dick LEE-SMITH left, John EATON switched to bass. and more importantly, Dave LAWSON entered the band to provide not only vocals but also keyboards, as well as a whole new written material. This factor was absolutely relevant for the band to adopt a more profound progressive vibe, adding colorfulness and sophistication to the existing muscle. The band also changed labels (from DERAM to POLYDOR), and why not, the name, after dropping the article "THE". The result was portrayed in their third effort "I Spider", which is justly regarded as the band's artistic peak. The band developed a type of complex jazz-rock related to what VdGG, GENTLE GIANT, COLOSSEUM and SOFT MACHINE were doing at the time. It is no wonder that Dave LAWSON and Dave GREENSLADE's musical visions were going in parallel lines, since a couple of years later they would team up as the dual leaders of GREENSLADE. But that's another story to be told elsewhere. For their next album, WEB decided to add a second horn player to its ranks and switch its name to SAMURAI: that is also another story to be told elsewhere.

THE WEB / WEB is a must for all proto-prog and jazz-rock lovers, and ultimately, for any serious researcher who truly loves the prog genre and is eager to get acquainted with its deepest roots.

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I SpiderI Spider
Import · Remastered
Esoteric 2008
Audio CD$9.22
$7.98 (used)
Theraphosa BlondiTheraphosa Blondi
Import · Remastered
Esoteric 2008
Audio CD$10.08
$6.33 (used)
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THE WEB discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

THE WEB top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.26 | 22 ratings
Fully Interlocking
1968
3.70 | 18 ratings
Theraposa Blondi
1970
4.05 | 47 ratings
I Spider
1970

THE WEB Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

THE WEB Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

THE WEB Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

THE WEB Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

THE WEB Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Theraposa Blondi   by WEB, THE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.70 | 18 ratings

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Theraposa Blondi
The Web Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

4 stars Therosphosa Blondi has the same musicians as Fully Interlocking and you can really get the same feelings the first album gives you. It was made in 1970, two years after its precursor. But the question before reviewing this was: Could the band once again do a masterpiece like the debut album. And the answer to that is almost. This record contains a lot of marvelous songs but it's not as astonishing as Fully Interlocking. The Web's sound creves a definition. It feels they are rather distant from other prog bands. There is some jazz, some brass band and some popular songs here. They also used sounds from Caribbean and Africa.

"'Til I come home again once more" which is a wonderful little song, reminds me of Cat Stevens' early recordings. "Blues for Two T's" is similar to some early Jethro Tull pieces but better with a driving flute and a bluesy feeling. "Like the man said" is irresistible with its beautiful song and saxophone, a very vital soundscape. It continues with "Sunshine of your love" which also is great. The lyrics in "One thousand miles away" is nice about longing for your home. The song gives you feeling of the Caribbean and the melancholy. "Tobacco Road/America" is a great song which also uses Leonard Bernsteins "America" like The Nice did. This record is very close to perfection. Actually I want to give it five stars but me rating on every song concludes in 4,4. Thus, this is a great record. You will like it if you listen and I hope people will discover "The Web". But listen to "Fully Interlocking" primarily which is my favourite.

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 Fully Interlocking by WEB, THE album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.26 | 22 ratings

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Fully Interlocking
The Web Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

5 stars I met this record perhaps six years ago and I loved it from the first listening. The sound is unique - a mixture of american and english music, jazz, rock, avant-garde and symphonic rock. No track is similar to an other. In Watcha Kelele they caught Africa, in Harold Dubbelyew and Hatton Mill Morning something very english and War and Peace is an international anti-war hymn with an epic sound, quite symphonic actually. Some track feels humoristic, a piece of Zappa perhaps. As a late 60s-recording you could think it would be a psychedelic or dopey record but it isn't. There's alot of influences here and the music is totaly sophisticated. War and Peace is my favourite track but all the songs is worth listening to. The american singer John L Watson has a great voice and the band shows talant on all the instruments. A true 5/5-record!

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 I Spider by WEB, THE album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.05 | 47 ratings

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I Spider
The Web Jazz Rock/Fusion

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.

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 I Spider by WEB, THE album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.05 | 47 ratings

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I Spider
The Web Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

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.

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 I Spider by WEB, THE album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.05 | 47 ratings

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I Spider
The Web Jazz Rock/Fusion

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 ¾ 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.

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