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Spooky Tooth: Spooky Two (1969)

Every classic rocker or metalhead worth their salt knows Spooky Tooth’s “Better By You, Better Than Meas recorded by Judas Priest – even if this knowledge came as a result of the infamous lawsuit brought against the band over alleged backward messages and a tragic suicide pact.

Now, anyone willing to go one step further in seeking out Spooky’s recording from ‘69 (as I just did), will see that Priest did very little to it, and that the original boasts very much the same arrangement and haunting atmosphere.

Which is to say, it’s a helluva song; so you may be surprised to learn that the unchallenged pièce de résistance on Spooky Two is the colossal “Evil Woman”: a ten-minute sexual exorcism, where singers Gary Wright (*) and Mike Harrison trade lines over an ungodly heavy blues-rock as potent as any other spawned during this fertile era.

In fact, this wholesale reworking of a song by Larry Weiss has a lot in common with Led Zeppelin, so maybe Spooky Tooth’s only mistake was failing to credit it to themselves, as Page and Plant might have done.

Anyway, as for the rest of the LP: most songs explore soulful strains of Americana (like The Band with a backing gospel choir), as evidenced by “Feelin’ Bad” and “Lost in My Dream,” but first song “Waitin’ for the Wind” flips that script with simple power chords to excellent, somber effect.

So perhaps the final things you need to know about Spooky Tooth are that they were one of those rare bands containing two keyboardists, and that lineup instability quickly doomed their chances of long-term success, even though they hung around for serval years and albums. 

* I didn’t realize until now that this is the same Gary Wright who later enjoyed mega-MOR success with “Dream Weaver” – YEEESH!

A screenshot of a still from a little vid aboard the Starship (would love to find the full clip).  Being the pathetic person that I am, I took it because I spied Robert back there engaged in conversation with what appears to be a very pretty brunette.  Almost looks like Maureen.  For anyone who is wondering how stories begin, this is it.  At least for me.  Ridiculous, I know, but I’m SO DAMN THIRSTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!