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Tapestry of Delights:
Spooky Tooth formed in October 1967 out of the ashes of Art who started out in Carlisle as The V.I.P.'s. The only addition to the Art line-up was American Gary Wright, who'd been a child actor and later, after gaining a psychology degree, put together a band called New York Times back in the States.
Their first two albums were excellent containing some of their finest songs like Sunshine Help Me (also included on Island's You Can All Join In compilation); Better By You, Better Than Me (which received greater exposure on another of Island's budget-priced compilations, Nice Enough To Eat) and Evil Woman. They also covered The Band's The Weight on a 45. Around this time they were frequently featured on John Peel's 'Top Gear' programme and clearly a significant player in Britain's late sixties progressive underground boom. However, despite achieving critical acclaim they never won over wider audiences. In 1969 Ridley left to join Humble Pie.
Back in 1968, they released a very rare 45 in the USA, Spooky Blow/Love Really Changed Me (Mala 12013). The 'A' side was only released in the States.
They teamed up with Pierre Henry, a French electronics wizard, who was the man behind Les Yper Sound, for their experimental third album Ceremony, which was to most people's mind a disasterous flop, and actually split up in 1970 for a while. Gary Wright left to form Wonderwheel, who recorded two albums for A but later that year the rest of the band reformed with line-up (B). Steve Thompson had previously been with John Mayall and John Hawken with The Nashville Teens and Renaissance. However, neither had played on The Last Puff, which Harrison, Kellie and Grosvenor had enlisted assistance from former Grease Band members, Alan Spenner and Henry McCullough, to record. Again their progress faltered - the album was quite well received in the States but made little impact here - so the band split again. Thompson went to Stone The Crows and Hawken to Illusion.
Harrison recorded an album, Mike Harrison in October 1971 with the Carlisle band Junkyard Angel and later put out Smokestack Lightning in 1972 with assistance from members of Muscle Shoals. Neither were particularly successful nor was Wright's Wonderwheel, so in September 1972 Harrison and Wright got together another Spooky Tooth line-up (C), which recorded You Broke My Heart So I Busted Your Jaw and toured frantically around the States, where they built up quite a popular following, although the album was largely uninspired.
Mike Kellie rejoined the band in March 1973 and they recorded Witness, their final album for Island. Again it lacked the inspiration of their earlier work. After its release there were further personnel changes with Chris Stewart, who'd been in Eire Apparent departing to join Joe Cocker and Mike Harrison departing to record another solo album, Rainbow Rider (Goodear EAR 7002) in 1975, and then joining The Chris Stainton Band.
In February 1974 ex-Boxer vocalist Mike Patto came in to replace Harrison and the band relocated to New York. Before the new line-up had much chance to stabilise Mike Kellie left and later joined for The Only Ones, but Spooky Tooth managed one final album, the rather lame, The Mirror, before disintegrating in September 1974 for good.
Gary Wright went on to enjoy considerable solo success in his own country. Mick Jones eventually resurfaced in the enormously successful American band, Foreigner, with another ex-Briton, former King Crimson member, Ian McDonald. Mike Patto reformed Boxer for a further album and tour. So, Spooky Tooth, who'd enjoyed so many re-incarnations, were finally laid to rest with Island putting out the obligatory Best Of compilation in 1976. They also appeared on Island's 1970 compilation Bumpers playing I Am The Walrus and a year earlier on Nice Enough To Eat with Better By You, Better Than Me and on You Can All Join In singing Sunshine Help Me. ~ (Vernon Joynson/George Fazakas)
"Society's Child" 4:30 (Janis Ian)
"Love Really Changed Me" 3:33 (Grosvenor, Miller, Wright)
"Here I Lived So Well" 5:06 (Wright, Grosvenor, Harrison, Miller)
"Too Much of Nothing" 3:57 (Bob Dylan) *
"Sunshine Help Me" 3:02 (Wright)
"It's All About Roundabout" 2:43 (Miller, Wright)
"Tobacco Road" 5:33 (J.D. Loudermilk)
"It Hurts You So" 3:03 (Miller, Wright)
"Forget It, I've Got It" 3:26 (Miller, Wright)
"Bubbles" 2:49 (Grosvenor, Wright)
Mike Harrison (vocals)
Gary Wright (vocals, keyboards)
Luther Grosvenor (guitar)
Greg Ridley (bass)
Mike Kellie (drums)