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Chuck Carbo Passes

Photo of the Spiders, 1954
The Spiders, 1954
The Spiders at the Apollo
Drawers Trouble CD cover
The Barber's Blues, CD cover

Chuck Carbo, Rounder recording artist and original member of the Spiders, has passed. Funeral services are yet to be finalized.

Hayward "Chuck" Carbo, the original lead singer of the 1950s R&B vocal group the Spiders, died in New Orleans on Friday, July 11, at age 82. The great voice of Chuck Carbo will always be remembered.

In a career that lasted almost 50 years, Chuck got his start in the music business singing gospel music when he returned to the city after World War II. In the early '50s Carbo, his brother Chick and two friends joined the local Zion City Harmonizers, which eventually became the Delta Southernaires.

When they were offered a recording contract by Dave Bartholomew for Imperial Records, they changed their name to the Spiders and eventually became the best known R&B vocal group out of New Orleans. Their initial release of "I Didn't Want to Do It" paired with "You're the One" brought the group national fame. Their biggest hit, "Witchcraft," which came out in 1955, climbed to number five on the R&B charts.

Carbo eventually left his music career and made his living as a dump truck driver. In 1982, he appeared at a WWOZ benefit concert and began performing again, cutting his first solo LP, Life's Ups and Downs, for the 504 label in 1989. His 504 release Second Line On Monday was used as the theme song for longtime WWOZ host Donald "Moose" Jamison's Monday "New Orleans Music Show."

In the 1990s, Carbo recorded two CDs for Rounder Records. Released in 1993, Drawers Trouble featured a solid New Orleans band led by pianist Edward Frank with a three-piece horn section. Dr. John, who worked with Carbo back in the '50s, contributed three songs and played piano, organ and "low guitar" on several tracks. In 1996, Rounder put out The Barber's Blues, with arrangements by Edward Frank and support from an all-star Crescent City band.

"When I sing, I'm Chuck Carbo," the singer remarked in 1997, "and I don't try to copy anybody else. I'm glad my fans responded to that. To me, they are the greatest. I love them all."

Survivors include his wife of over 60 years, Gloria, and numerous children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Funeral services are yet to be finalized.

Watch a YouTube recording of Chuck Carbo singing "Bells In My Heart."

Watch a You Tube recording of Chuck Carbo & Spiders singing "Witchcraft."

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