The Great Lost Album – Spooky Two – Spooky Tooth

I haven’t heard or even thought about this album in so long I can’t remember. For some reason, it popped into my head and I said to myself, Gotta dig that one up. It’s a great gob of late ’60’s bluesy-rock. And if it sometimes has that Stones feel, well it was produced by Jimmy Miller and engineered by Andy Johns. If those names don’t mean anything to you, go back to rock school.ย 

Wikipedia: “Spooky Tooth is an English rock band originally formed in Carlisle in 1967. Principally active between 1967 and 1974, the band re-formed several times in later years. Prior to Spooky Tooth, four of the band’s five founding members had performed in the band Art (formerly known asย The V.I.P.’s).

Following the dissolution of Art, the members of that band’s final line-up (guitarist Luther Grosvenor, vocalist Mike Harrison, drummer Mike Kellie and bassist Greg Ridley) joined forces with American (from New Jersey) keyboardist/vocalist Gary Wright in October 1967 and formed Spooky Tooth. Wright was introduced to the members of Art by Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records.”

I never saw this band (that I can recall) but back in the day, there wasn’t much better of a band to smoke a J to. Mostly everything on the album was written or co-written by Gary Wright. And yes, the same Gary Wright who later did “Dream Weaver,” and “Love Is Alive.” Wright also played on George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass and was a frequent collaborator with Harrison.

Here’s the kickoff tune, “Waitin’ for the Wind.”

Spotify link

Of this album, AllMusic said, “Spooky Two is this British blues-rock band’s piรจce de rรฉsistance. All eight of the tracks compound free-styled rock and loose-fitting guitar playing, resulting in some fantastic raw music.”

The song “Evil Woman” – why are there so many evil woman songs one wonders? – wouldn’t have been out of place on an early Zep album. Except this time you get two vocalists. You don’t hear shit like this anymore.

Spotify link

For a band that – relatively speaking –ย  isn’t all that well known, these guys had a few famous (in addition to Wright) guys come and go. Henry McCullough who played guitar with Wings was with them at one point as was Mick Jones later of Foreigner.

The last song I’ll play has a fair amount of ’60’s heaviosity. It’s called “Better By You, Better Than Me.” Judas Priest later covered this tune and got embroiled in a lawsuit. A kid committed suicide and the family said that the band had inserted the subliminal words “Do It!” in the tune. Rightfully it was thrown out of court.

Spotify link

Lastly, here’s an oddity. I can find no evidence whatsoever that this band is still together. And yet their Wikipedia page says “Current Members” include Chris Stainton and Andy Summers! Not only does Summers’ website not mention this band but neither does his autbio which I own. Maybe somebody’s fucking with us.

Here’s the album on Spotify. The original album ended with “Hangman Hang My Shell On a Tree” so the rest of is, I guess, part of a re-release “Deluxe’ album.

27 thoughts on “The Great Lost Album – Spooky Two – Spooky Tooth

      1. Spooky Tooth belonged more to the underground of the 60s and early 70s; a heavy blues rock dominated by the organ, occasionally skillfully varied with gospel harmonies and also more progressive and psychedelic sounds. Despite a few catchy songs was the band never really known.

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        1. Some really nice gospel in there. Oddly the credits in Wikipedia don’t show any female voices but it sure sounds like it. BTW, I was suprised to see this as having been released in 1969. I would have guessed 1972/73.

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  1. I never connected Gary Wright with Spooky Tooth. Wikipedia lists a 2020 lineup – I never realised that Summers is 77 (although I knew he’d been around for a while when The Police started).

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    1. Yep, that’s where he got his start. I mention Summers in the piece but check out what I say about him -I can find no evidence eiher online that the band exists currently or that Summers is, or ever was a part of the band.

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  2. Not a band Iโ€™ve ever heard of, but definitely my kinda jams. I can only assume they are one of those bands that got lost among the more celebrated names.

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    1. Yeah, they were reasonably popular back in the day but not at a huge level. But if you scratch the average music-loving boomer, about haff of them will remember Spooky Tooth. But their influence, if you will, has definitely faded over time. But yeah, some excellent jams. I actually couldn’t even remember exactly what was on the album and then I said, “Oh, yeah.”

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      1. Iโ€™ll be looking for a copy of this next time Iโ€™m out record shopping (or browsing Discogs with intent).

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  3. Yeah, I missed these guys when they first came out. Donโ€™t know why cuz they are pretty much in my wheelhouse. They werenโ€™t in the libraries of my buddies either; I guess being in the flatlands, they buzzed right over us.

    This has been rectified though, by digging back from Gary Wright. Itโ€™s always been fun to go back through an artistโ€™s history to see from whence s/he comes. Sometimes you find real gems (a la Spooky Tooth) or you find stuff that sticks to the bottom of your shoe. But, hey, we all start somewhere!

    Thanks for the reminder on this one. It was fun to replay just now! I also get a bit of hint of Steve Marriott in the vocals at times.

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    1. I was living in NYC and not only had the great fortune of hearing a lot of stuff but also of having a group of buddies who turned me on to a lot of good shit. Marriott-sounding vocals for sure. Good call.

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  4. Totally missed these guys Doc but you know what? I really like what i’m hearing and will be going for a ‘Tooth’ listen. Like the comment above I got a Humble Pie vibe. Sometimes when i hear these bands i missed there’s something missing or something that rubs me …vocals, lyrics some kind of bump. Not these guys. I’m sure I’ve ran across a tune or two. My listening will remind me. Good post Doc, like film this was a good era for music.

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    1. You know it’s funny but I was trying to peg what other band I was hearing and I thought Stones which is somewhat true. But definitely Humble Pie who formed the same year. I don’t know if they have a lot of great albums but probably worth exploring This Is Spooky Tooth on Spotify. And yea, that was an era of a lot of great stuff. I’m glad if I can pull them out of storage and let people hear them for the first time or as if the first time in some cases.

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      1. I really liked it. Some of that early 60/70 stuff just clunks. I was spoiled with Cream, Beck, Mac, Traffic but so many good bands under the radar or my radar that I found later. Only so much time.

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  5. Great album. The best LP for Mike Harrison and Gary Wright’s vocal blending, they sang together more than other albums. Also, made a strong comeback after the weird “Ceremony” LP w/ Pierre Henry.

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  6. Wow I havenโ€™t thought of this band in years. I remember listening to Evil Woman a lot in my younger years. Need to check out Better by me…. now

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