Monday, October 6, 2014

Spooky Tooth - 1973 - You Brok My Heart, So I Busted Your Jaw

Spooky Tooth 
You  Brok My Heart, So  I Busted Your Jaw

01. Cotton Growing Man 4:39
02. Old as I Was Born 4:40
03. This Time Around 4:08
04. Holy Water 3:27
05. Wildfire 4:04
06. Self Seeking Man 3:47
07. Times Have Changed 3:53
08. Moriah 6:20

Val Burke Guitar (Bass), Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
Bryson Graham Percussion, Drums, Musician
Mike Harrison Harmonica, Piano, Keyboards, Vocals, Musician
Mick Jones Guitar, Percussion, Vocals, Vocals (bckgr),
Chris Kimsey Engineer, Mixing
Phil McDonald Mixing
Chris Stewart Bass, Guitar (Bass)
Gary Wright Organ, Synthesizer, Piano, Keyboards, Vocals, Vocals (bckgr), Clavinet,

Following a three year break during which time their solo endeavors had proven to be lukewarm successes, in 1973 Mike Harrison and Gary Wright reunited Spooky Tooth.  The revamped line up featured drummer Bryson Graham and guitarist Mick Jones from Wright's Wonderwheel project, along with bassist Chris Stewart (replacing Ian Herbert).  Self-produced,  1973's "You Broke My Heart So I Busted Your Jaw" proved surprisingly tight and entertaining, though it fell short of past glories and side two was pretty weak.  Largely penned by Wright (drummer Graham contributing 'This Time Around'), keyboard and guitar propelled material such as the lead off rocker 'Cotton Growing Man', 'This Time Around', and 'Wildfire' showcased the band's now-patented up-tempo blues-rock stylings. While hardly earth shattering, the set wasn't all that different from material being pumped out by the likes of Bad Company.

- Powered by Harrison's gravelly voice and Jones' raspy lead guitar, 'Cotton Growing Man' marked a return to the hard rock sound found on their sophomore album.  The result was a fantastic mid-tempo rocker that would have sounded great on mid-1970s FM radio had A&M bothered to promote it when it was tapped as a single.   Shame the rest of the album wasn't as good.   rating: **** stars
- 'Old As I was Born' has always been a personal favorite in that it boasted one of the band's most commercial songs.  The track retained a distinctive Spooky Tooth sound, but sported some atypical, but exquisite group harmonies that you wouldn't normally associate with the band.  There was also a nice mandolin solo and a great Wright cheesy synthesizer solo.   rating: **** stars
- Drummer Graham's lone contribution to the album, 'This Time Around' was an okay rocker, but lacked anything to distinguish it from the rest of the set.  The highlight came in the form of a nice Jones solo.   rating: *** stars
- The first real disappointment, 'Holy Water' sounded like Harrison was trying to channel an early Elton John/Bernie Taupin ballad.  Momentarily interesting in a Gospel-inspired way, the keyboard-propelled ballad quickly lost its energy.   rating: ** stars
- ' Wildfire' found the band carving out a nice little groove, but the song never really developed beyond that initial funky hook and most listeners probably tired of the song after hearing the lyric 'Wildfire is in my mind' a dozen times..  rating: *** stars- 'Self Seeking Man' showcased some of Wright's most irritating features - namely an over-the-top 'heavy' ballad that forced him to reach for those high notes that brought out the shrill aspects of his voice.   This one sounded a lot like some off of his forthcoming late-1970s solo efforts.    rating: ** stars
- The Wright-Jones ballad 'Times Have Changed' was the song that seems to have attract the most critical attention, but to my ears it was a bland, mildly dischordant mess.    rating: ** stars
- Crap, another ballad ...  Well, at least after two super lame songs 'Moriah' showed a little bit of energy before limping out with some hideous new-age-styled sound effects.  Should have ditched the touchy feely fade out for more Mick Jones guitar.  Nowhere near the album's best song, but at least it ended the set on a mildly upbeat note.   rating: *** stars

For the US market A&M tapped the album for a single in the form of:

- 1973's 'Cotton Growing Man' b/w 'Times Have Changed' (A&M catalog number AM-????)

With minimal support from Island the album hit # 84 on the US charts.

All told it was patchy, but better than many 'comeback' albums.

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