This 2 CD compilation covers Spoky Tooth’s releases on Island Records during 1968-1974.
Although the group's albums were quite different in terms of both style and quality more or less equal focus is put on the six albums, the somewhat weird "Ceremony" understandably has only a single contribution.
The group's first album "It's All About" is a bit of a shambles and in many ways a typical debut album, which might suggest several different future musical directions.
Janis Ian's otherwise excellent teenage song "Society's Child" comes out in Spooky Tooths edition somewhat overplayed. The strongest contributions from this album are "It's All About Roundabout" and "Love Really Changed Me".
The group released on a 1968 single a fine version of the Band's "The Weight". But otherwise it's the group's second album "Spooky Two" that that they truly blossom. All eight songs could in my view have been selected, as it is an incredibly consistent. Here the group both instrumentally and vocally demonstrate its great strength and energy. The album was produced by Jimmy Miller and you easily get Traffic in your thoughts, when you listen to this aslbum. Unfortunately, the line-up changed, as bassist Greg Ridley entered in Humble Pie and guitarist Luther Grosvenor left for Stealers Wheel and later Mott the Hoople. Also drummer Mike Kellie was out periods, and replaced Bryson Graham.
The group's third album "The Last Puff"; the fourth, if you include the odd Pierre Henry collaboration "Ceremony", which was close to being a musical suicide, is like the debut album a shambles and the group's most prolific songwriter Gary Wright does not contribute on this album; He did writte the song "The Wrong Time!, though. On keyboards we find instead Chris Stainton and guitarist Henry McCulloch also helps on the album. Most noteworthy song from this album is probably the group's version of John Lennon's "I Am the Walrus", which comes in a slow and quite heavy version. A solid version also of Elton John's "Son of Your Father". I would incidentally have chosen "Nobody There at All" instead of the anonymous title track.
The group nucleus of keyboardist /singer Gary Wright and singer Mike Harrison recruited guitarist Mick Jones and bass player Chris Stewart, and this line-up released two solid but also uneven albums "You Broke My Heart so I Busted Your Jar" (73) and "Witness "(74). From these albums the chosen songs from "Witness" clearly come out the strongest. Especially the powerful "Ocean of Power".
By the time of recording the group's last album, 1974, "Mirror" is Mike Harrison had given it a second try at a solo career and he was replaced by Mike Patto, who in many ways is quite reminiscent of Harrison and this change is not immediately noticeable. Best track from this album is "Fantasy Satisfier".
An interesting addition to the collection might have been Mike Harrison’s fine version of the Beatles’ ”We Can Work it Out” from his obscure 1975 album ”Rainbow Chaser” on which he is backed by Spooky Tooth guitarist Mick Jones.
When you have listened through the 2 CDs a few times and have read the informative booklet, you have got a good picture of a group, with an unusual large number of line-up changes for its relatively short existance. Should you fall for this compilation, I highly recommend that you supplement it with "Spooky Two", and if you want just a single CD with the group, it must of course also be this near-masterpiece 1969 album.