More mayhem from the land of the rising sun. Let's Go Spiders is the second instalment in the new "Big Beat International" series, focusing on the wild and wacky rock'n'roll from around the world, and it's also a companion to our earlier critically-acclaimed Japanese 1960s garage band compilations GS I Love You (CDWIKD 159) and GS I Love You Too (CDWIKD 196).
The Spiders were the most long-lived and successful of the GS (Group Sounds) outfits that populated Japan in the mid to late 1960s. As seasoned players with individual careers dating back to the beginning of the decade, theirs was a relatively professional and accomplished style and sound. The band enjoyed a decade-long career, with several hit singles and albums to their credit, and mob scenes wherever they performed. They made the de rigeur Help!-style movies and even got to tour outside Japan, an honour indeed.
Let's Go Spiders is the first Western compilation of this fascinating combo, and draws from the numerous singles and albums the band issued in their homeland, including many from their debut long player Album No.1, a release widely acknowledged by collectors as one of the finest foreign beat LPs. Also featured is their lone UK single, Sad Sunset, promoted with an appearance on Ready Steady Go when the Spiders visited Britain in late 1966.
Fans of the crazy GS sound will have much to enjoy, as Let's Go Spiders contains many of their best known and wildest originals, including the punk of Upside Down, Go Go and Hey Boy, the stomping R&B of Ban Ban and Once Again, and the throbbing fuzz instrumental SPI. There's also the band's blood-curdling take on the Animals' Inside Looking Out, and possibly the most insane version of Johnny B. Goode that's ever been committed to tape. All of these tracks feature the berserk and totally unique axe strangling of guitarist Hiroshi Kamayatsu, which has to be heard to be believed.
As accomplished musicians and songwriters, the Spiders were also unafraid to experiment, their later records being graced with such psychedelic pop excursions as the bizarre Mr Tax and the groovy Kuroyuri No Uta. And the smooth vocals of lead singers Jun Inoue and Masaaki Sakai allowed the group to indulge in Beach Boys/Association harmonies on the likes of Summer Girl and Mo Ichido Mo Ichido, further demonstrating the exciting versatility of this world-class outfit. The notes detail the Spiders' lengthy career and are illustrated with many rarely-seen photos and items of memorabilia. Let's Go Spiders!
By Alec Palao