The mellifluous vocal tones of Chuck Carbo was a principal ingredient in the success of the Spiders, the premier R&B vocal group around New Orleans during the 1950s. He subsequently mounted a strong comeback bid as a smooth solo artist, cutting albums for Rounder in the '90s including 1993's Drawers Trouble and 1996's The Barber Blues.
The gospel-steeped Carbo (whose actual first name is Hayward) and his brother Chick (real first name: Leonard) shared frontman duties for the Spiders, whose hits for Imperial included the two-sided smash "I Didn't Want to Do It"/"You're the One," a ribald "I'm Slippin' In" in 1954, and "Witchcraft" (later covered by Elvis Presley) the next year. Imperial's main man in the Crescent City, Dave Bartholomew, produced the quintet's 1954-1956 output, as well as writing many of their best numbers (notably a risqu+¬ "The Real Thing"). Carbo cut a few 45s under his own name for Imperial, Rex, and Ace after going solo; Chick waxed 45s of his own for Atlantic, Vee-Jay, and Instant.
Chuck Carbo never stopped performing entirely, although he made his living as a lumber truck driver when gigs got scarce. In 1989, he scored a local hit with his cover of Jeannie & Jimmy Cheatham's "Meet Me with Your Black Drawers On." It was reprised on Drawers Trouble, a comeback set reuniting Carbo with pianists Mac "Dr. John" Rebennack and Edward Frank. The Barber's Blues ensured Carbo's return to the spotlight with two more Cheatham copyrights and a second-line "Hey, Mardi Gras! (Here I Am)." ~ Bill Dahl
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