UK jazz-rock band Black Widow are, possibly, most famed for actually perfoming black magic. Because of this fact (and the similarity in name/imagery with Black Sabbath), they’ve often been mistaken for a metal band, which is far from the case.
Posh enough to sport two Clives, this band’s music is more refined than that of the surly Brummies, if less dynamic and gripping. This three-disc set brings together a twee 1969 demo, a live appearance from 1971 and some unreleased bits and bobs. The early work is Arthur Brown-ish, but even the mentions of Satan fail to dispel the bucolic atmosphere; it’s gripping, in a Wicker Man kind of way. Jaunty versions of classics such as Come To The Sabbat underline the fact that, whatever else they were, Black Widow were a product of the hippy era.
In comparison, the later material is technically superior, but lacking this free spirit and charm. The 10” of unreleased material is the highlight, with the ridiculous-yet- groovy Madman Song and Kay Garret’s borderline-hysterical vocal as definitive a time capsule of the Man, Myth & Magic era as there is. William Pinfold