Posts Tagged ‘Gary Wright’

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Spooky Tooth was formed in 1967. Among the players forming its heavy sound were organist Gary Wright, who in the mid-1970s had a massive hit, “Dream Weaver.” Spooky Tooth’s second album in 1969, “Spooky Two”, was their best album, full of deep cuts (i.e., “Lost In My Dream,” “Evil Woman,” “Better By You, Better By Me,” and “That Was Only Yesterday” among them) that still received FM radio in the early 1970s.

Spooky Two is the second studio album by the English rock band Spooky Tooth. It was originally released in March 1969, on the label Island Records in 1969 , “Spooky Two” is this British blues-rock band’s pièce de résistance. All eight of the tracks compound free-styled rock and loose-fitting guitar playing, resulting in some fantastic raw music … their smooth, relaxed tempos and riffs mirrored bands like Savoy Brown and, at times, even the Yardbirds … Although Spooky Tooth lasted about seven years, their other albums never really contained the same passion or talented collaborating by each individual musician as Spooky Two.

It was Spooky Tooth’s misfortune to be sandwiched between Led Zeppelin and Free’s turbo-charged, all-pervasive ascents. A couple of years later and the band’s thoughtful but solid style would have found room to grow. Keyboard player Gary Wright shares vocals with Mike Harrison, a strong, complementary pair of voices, and also writes most of the songs including the memorably catchy Better By You Better Than Me, later rescued from oblivion by Judas Priest. The tracks on their second album are an eclectic bunch, blending the blues with folk, country, gospel and even prog. And they sound better now than they did then.

Spooky Tooth’s lead vocalist, was Mike Harrison, was serviceable, although not in Rodgers’ league. His shortcomings were evident when he tried to hit high notes with a weak falsetto. Yet for most of the material, Harrison’s voice was just what their music needed. Subsequent to the release of the album, Greg Ridley left the group, to join Humble Pie

Everything goes back to Mott the Hoople. After Ralph’s departure, Hunter poached Luther Grosvenor (who left Spooky Tooth in 1970) from another fondly remembered British one-hit wonder Stealers Wheel (the hit was “Stuck in the Middle With You”), whose leader Gerry Rafferty quit and Grosvenor replaced him for a tour. Used to the fill-in role, Grosvenor adopted the “Ariel Bender” moniker for contractual reasons when Mott toured in 1973 and 1974 and recorded their seventh album The Hoople.

Mott the Hoople reformed in 2009 and 2013 for British tours with the original lineup. But in the summer of 2018, Hunter, now 79, brought back Ariel and Hoople keyboardist Morgan Fisher for a series of European dates.

  • Mike Harrison – keyboards, vocals
  • Luther Grosvenor – guitar
  • Gary Wright – keyboards, vocals
  • Greg Ridley – bass
  • Mike Kellie – drums

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Spooky Tooth CD & Vinyl Sets Out Now

The CD and vinyl box sets collecting the Island Records works of Spooky Tooth, one of the key English experimental rock bands of the 1960s and ‘70s, are out now.  ‘The Island Years — An Anthology, 1967-1974’ is released worldwide by USM.

The band were originally known as Art, for a few months in 1967, when they released their sole album, ‘Supernatural Fairy Tales.’ They were then joined by American singer and songwriter Gary Wright, who went on to play with George Harrison on ‘All Things Must Pass’ and to great solo success, notably with songs such as ‘Dream Weaver’ and ‘Love Is Alive.’

By 1968, Art had transmuted into Spooky Tooth, who released the album ‘It’s All About’ in June that year, written largely by Wright and with a cover of Janis Ian’s ‘Society’s Child.’ That set was produced by Jimmy Miller, just as he was beginning his long association with the Rolling Stones. The original band also featured other notable players such as Greg Ridley, later a founder member of Humble Pie, and Luther Grosvenor, who went on to Mott The Hoople and Widowmaker.

spooky-tooth

After three further albums in 1968 and ’69 and the subsequent departure of Wright, Spooky Tooth released three more Island albums with frontman Mike Harrison, and one more without him, 1974’s ‘The Mirror.’ The band were a well-known and respected presence on the British rock scene without ever reaching the UK charts, but no fewer than eight of their albums made the American bestsellers, released first there on A&M and then Island. 1969’s sophomore release ‘Spooky Two’ was the highest-charting, at No. 44.

The 9-CD set features all of the Island albums, with a generous selection of rare and previously unreleased material added. This includes a full concert from April 1972, recorded in Germany, and a 48-page book.

An 8-LP vinyl box set comprises straight reissues of the Spooky Tooth and Art albums in replica original packaging. A full-size reproduction of the extremely rare ‘Art’ Island promotional poster, designed by the celebrated psychedelic artists Hapshash and the Coloured Coat, is included, along with a download card for all the material.

Buy the CD and vinyl editions of Spooky Tooth’s The Island Years — An Anthology, 1967-1974’