This two-albums-in-one pack brings us the best of Gary for those who are hardened fans of Spooky Tooth. True, he seduced the American public a few years later with his Dream Weaver single and album, but for many of us that road was a bit too commercial and clearly aimed at the American market. Well done, Gary, for you certainly deserved the recognition of a wider public. But what a pity your first two solo albums were largely ignored, and are so difficult to get hold of. They are hidden treasure. Both Gary Wright's Extraction and Footprint are fine albums. In my opinion they both start off on the light side (originally side 1 of the vinyl), with songs that are enjoyable but not particularly outstanding or “hot”, but the temperature rises as they progress, and when you get into side 2 things really look up, and they both reach a nice climax towards the end. Gary was trained in psychology so he knew it had to be that way. You don't put the hottest stuff at the beginning but rather towards the end, and the album carries the listener on a journey that ends on a high. As works of art, each album would be better on its own, though BGO's packet is perhaps the most profitable way of making these l.p.'s available again. My only negative criticism is their not including the two album covers full-page in their booklet, thus making it possible for the purchaser to have the original album displayed on his CD. I have a Mad River pack (their two albums in one) released by Collector's Choice (EMI-Capitol) in 2000, and it's just great, 'cos you can choose the album cover you want for the front of your CD, and when you tire of it, you turn the page and display the other artwork. Anyway, the first album under review, Gary Wright's Extraction, is a balanced but varied collection of nine songs, well put together and with one track familiar to those who know Spooky's The Last Puff , namely The Wrong Time. The pace gains momentum with I Know a Place and this version of The Wrong Time, then comes a Soul-flavoured track, Over You Now, which marks an enjoyable, measured change of tempo, before the pressure increases with the powerful Too late to Cry, and is finally brought to a conclusion with I've got a Story, a rather repetitive but nicely worked finale which is an ideal way of bringing the album to a close. The second LP, the sophomore Footprint, could be Gary's most personal album, judging by the album cover, and is just as satisfying -if not more- than his first solo effort. Once again, the songs are well-selected and united to produce a piece of work that grows and intensifies as it advances. Two Faced Man stands out for its lyrics which deal with the painful experience of having trusted someone who in turn takes advantage of the other's confidence, something which most of us go through sooner or later in life. My favourite track is the ante-penultimate Fascinating Things. Others will emphasise Stand for our Rights, Whether it's Right or Wrong or any other track, 'cos they're all good, but having got this far, the best thing is to buy the CD and just sit back (once all obligations have been attended) and let Gary bring back some of the glory of the early seventies rock era to our saturated 21st-century lives.
As you'd expect from this man's history with Spooky Tooth and his later solo work, this is full of good songs and a few great one's. It is interesting to note Manfred Mann's Give me The Good Earth is here in it's original version.