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Gut wrenching extremes!
on 13 September 2005
The Rolling Stone Record Guide (c.1979) described Spooky Tooth as follows: "If ever there was a heavy band, Spooky Tooth were it . . featuring two vocalists prone to blues-wrenching extremes, and an instrumental attack composed of awesomely loud keyboards and guitars, the band came over like an overwhelming vat of premedicated goo". This best of CD provides a useful snapshot of the band's faltering career, beset by bust-ups and line-up changes. The vocalists were Mike Harrison and Gary Wright, whose grinding Hammond organ textures were combined with the trademark 'heavy' rhythm section on tracks such as 'Better by You, Better Than Me', whilst the epic 'Evil Woman' wears you down with its volcanic guitar solo from Luther Grosvenor. Perhaps the all-time 'heaviest' Spooky Tooth number was their interpretation of The Beatles''I Am The Walrus', a lumbering sinister version featuring Harrison's hoarse bluesy voice (imagine Paul Rogers after gargling with razor blades).
The later tracks on this broadly chronological album showcase the band's more reflective style, from the 1973-74 line-up that featured guitarist Mick Jones before he went on to form Foreigner. It's an interesting progression from heavy blues-rock to mid-70s style soft-rock.
It's a shame the album wasn't fleshed out for CD reissue, as it's only standard LP length, and there's much much more in the Spooky Tooth canon that's worth bestof-isation, including Cotton Trading Man, Ocean of Power, Feelin' Bad, Sunshine Help Me (need I go on?).
2012 Update: Anyone wanting footage of the band is recommended the 'Lost Broadcasts' DVD. Also the 2CD compilation from 2009, 'Lost in My Dream', gives a much more rounded overview of the band, right up to that monster of a track 'The Mirror.'
2015: Ah, what the heck, go the whole hog and buy the Island Years boxed set - it's got the lot!