Spooky Tooth – Spooky Two

Album_Spooky-Tooth-Spooky-Two

Something tells me that by the time Spooky Tooth came to recording this, their second album, they’d been listening to a lot of Small Faces. From the Ian McLagen influenced Hammond organ work and lead vocals a la Steve Marriott of first track “Waitin’ for the Wind”, to the gospel-infused brilliance of “Feeling Bad” which follows, right down to the shared vocals of Gary Wright and Mike Harrison, there’s something a little Ogden’s Nutgone Flake about it all. So far at least. And while both are glorious and finely crafted pieces in themselves, what about the rest of the album? “I’ve Got Enough Heartaches” is another gospel(ish) number, all properly and stirringly performed. However the highlight of the record has to be track four, “Evil Woman”, and at ten plus minutes perhaps outstays its welcome by just a couple of minutes, although that probably depends on what sort of drugs you’re on. The riff is of course what makes the song, but also the wonderful yin yang of Wright and Harrison, who both trade off each other in fine Viking fashion. Luther Grosvenor also provides some pretty wild guitar, proving that he was no slouch when it came to six string heroics.

Next things get a bit spacey with “Lost In My Dream”, which has some Ravelesque drumming and pastoral acoustic strumming, along with plenty of acid inspired wordplay typical of the day. “That Was Only Yesterday” has more of a pop leaning, in that country rock style which The Rolling Stones would adopt and turn into a cottage industry all their own. “Better By You, Better Than Me” is another progressive rock piece whose meaning remains obscure to the listener (or at least to this one). “Hangman Hang My Shell On A Tree”, the final track, is wonderful and none-descript at the same time, which isn’t saying much, nor recommending it.

So overall, what we have is your semi-atypical late ‘60’s blues-rock album which fires off on six sweaty cylinders then drops down to two by the time it gets just past the half way point. Which proves that not even rock and roll is immune to the force of entropy. But as far as Spooky Tooth itself is concerned, this is about as good as it ever got, in terms of quality song writing and dynamics. Yet where The Rolling Stones were the ultimate rock and roll alchemists, turning pig-iron into gold, all those lesser musical mortals had to work for it, paying worship to the Gods along the way. And while it may not be in the same league as say Let It Bleed, Spooky Two is in no way an inferior product, being far more than just another psychedelic hard rock curio you might have salvaged from your father’s  dusty record collection.