Spooky Tooth – Live In Oldenburg 1973 (2015)

FrontCover1Spooky Tooth were an English rock band originally formed in Carlisle in 1967. Principally active between 1967 and 1974, the band re-formed several times in later years.

Prior to Spooky Tooth, four of the band’s five founding members had performed in the band Art (formerly known as the V.I.P.’s). Following the dissolution of Art, the members of that band’s final line-up (guitarist Luther Grosvenor, vocalist Mike Harrison, drummer Mike Kellie and bassist Greg Ridley) joined forces with American keyboardist/vocalist Gary Wright in October 1967 and formed Spooky Tooth. Wright was introduced to the members of Art by Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records.

The VIPs

Their debut, It’s All About, was released in June 1968 on Island Records[3] and was produced by Jimmy Miller, who was also behind the boards for Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, the Rolling Stones and Blind Faith.

The second album, Spooky Two (March 1969), also produced by Miller, gained some attention in the rock press but, like the debut, failed to sell. It was the last album release by the original lineup and included their now classic version of the Larry Weiss penned “Evil Woman” and “Better by You, Better than Me”, which was covered by Judas Priest on their release Stained Class (1978).

Spooky Tooth01

Ridley joined Humble Pie in 1969 and was replaced by Andy Leigh for the album Ceremony (December 1969).[3] The experimental nature of Ceremony received mixed reviews and despite the project being instigated by Gary Wright,[4] the album is considered by him to have ended the band’s career. The record is described by another as being “one of the great screw-ups in rock history”.[4] As Wright describes it, “…We did a project that wasn’t our album. It was with this French electronic music composer named Pierre Henry. We just told the label, ‘You know this is his album, not our album. We’ll play on it just like musicians.’ And then when the album was finished, they said, ‘Oh no no — it’s great. We’re gonna release this as your next album.’ We said, ‘You can’t do that. It doesn’t have anything to do with the direction of Spooky Two and it will ruin our career.’ And that’s exactly what happened.”

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Wright left the band following the release of the album. Harrison, Grosvenor and Kellie remained and recorded The Last Puff (July 1970) with members of Joe Cocker’s Grease Band (guitarist Henry McCullough, keyboardist Chris Stainton and bassist Alan Spenner).[3]
Singer Mike Harrison on stage with the band in the 1970s

In the autumn of 1970 the band embarked on a European tour that was undertaken with a line-up of Harrison, Grosvenor, Kellie, keyboardist John Hawken (ex-Nashville Teens) and bassist Steve Thompson. After this, the group disbanded, though Harrison and Wright reformed Spooky Tooth in September 1972 with a different line-up.

You Broke My Heart So I Busted Your Jaw was the first album by the reunited band, released in May 1973 on Island Records. Founding guitarist Grosvenor did not rejoin the band, as he had teamed up with Mott the Hoople, adopting the stage name of Ariel Bender. Grosvenor was succeeded by Mick Jones, while founding drummer Kellie was replaced by Bryson Graham. The bassist was Ian Herbert, then Chris Stewart.

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For their next album, Witness (November 1973), original drummer Mike Kellie returned in place of Graham. Wright remained the dominant songwriter at this stage of the band’s history. But co-lead singer Harrison left following the album’s release and Mike Patto was the new vocalist, alongside Wright, when they recorded The Mirror (October 1974), which also included new bass player Val Burke and Bryson Graham back on drums. But the album’s failure led to Wright leaving once again for a solo career and the group disbanding in November 1974.

Jon Milward summarized the band in The Rolling Stone Record Guide in 1979: “If ever there was a heavy band, Spooky Tooth had to be it. Featuring two vocalists prone to blues-wrenching extremes, and an instrumental attack comprising awesomely loud keyboards and guitars, Spooky Tooth came on like an overwhelming vat of premedicated goo.” Noting their lack of commercial success, Milward concluded that the group “would remain the right band at the wrong time. (wikipedia)

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And in 2015 Island Records released a superb 9 CD Box called “The Island Years (An Anthology) 1967-1974” … Part of this box was a rare live recording from 1973:

The final disc in the set was recorded live in Oldenburg, Germany on 7 April 1973 and although it is not the original band, thus Mick Jones is on lead guitar rather than Luther Grosvenor, 3 original members of the band, Wright, Harrison and Kellie are joined by long time members Mick Jones and Chris Stewart and in just under an hour they run through 9 of Spooky Tooth’s finest, including ‘I Am The Walrus’ ‘Evil Woman’ ‘Tobacco Road’ and ‘Sunshine Help Me’. The sound was captured by the Island Mobile unit and sounds wonderful. (Kevin Rathert)

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This is a recommended live album containing their very best material. I am totally impressed by their rendition of Old as I was born (From You broke my heart, so…) and Sunshine help me (from their first). The interplay between the vocals and the keyboards by Harrison and Wright sounds as pure bliss. Good old days… (by GAZHOO117)

Indeed … a great live recording … and for every first-time fan and collector of Spooky Tooth … a must have !

Recorded live at the Weser Ems Halle, Oldenburg/Germany, 7th April, 1973


Mike Harrison (vocals, keyboards)
Mick Jones (guitar)
Mike Kellie (drums, percussion)
Chris Stewart (bass)
Gary Wright (organ, vocals)


01. Waitin’ For The Wind (Grosvenor/Harrison/Wright) 4.13
02. I Am The Walrus (Lennon/McCartney) 5.53
03. The Wrong Time (Wright) 4.03
04. Cotton Growing Man (Wright) 4.22
05. Old As I Was Born (Wright) 9.28
06. Better By You, Better Than Me (Wright) 5.03
07. Tobacco Road (Loudermilk) 5.42
08. Evil Woman (Weiss) 7.21
09. Sunshine Help Me (Wright) 8.38



(I add the complete booklet from the Anthology Box as a bonus)

Greg Ridley
(23 October 1947 – 19 November 2003)

Mike Kellie
(24 March 1947, Birmingham, England -18 January 2017)

Mike Harrison
((3 September 1942 – 25 March 2018 in Carlisle)


More from Spooky Tooth:

Spooky Tooth -Spooky Tooth Fan Club Presents – Live (ca. 1982)

FrontCover1.JPGPart of the early-’70s British hard rock scene, Spooky Tooth had a towering sound, highlighted by swelling keyboards and – in founding members Gary Wright and Mike Harrison – two full-throated blue-eyed soul singers, each a match for Island head boy Steve Winwood.

The group built a following through countless gigs and recorded its debut album, It’s All About, in 1968. Spooky Two (1969) was their blues-rock gospel masterwork, notably the swampy, deceptively intricate Better By You and the histrionic proto-metal of Evil Woman.

Then came the noble effort of Ceremony: An Electronic Mass (1970), which teamed the band with French electronics pioneer Pierre Henry, but too often sounds like a self-indulgent mess.

Wright then left to form Wonderwheel, while Luther Grosvenor took the name Ariel Bender and joined Stealers Wheel and later Mott The Hoople. The addition of three members of Joe Cocker‘s Grease Band – Henry McCullough, Chris Stainton, and Alan Spenner – was not enough to keep the band afloat, and Spooky Tooth broke up after The Last Puff in 1970.


After a three year absence, the group re-formed in 1973 and released two albums –You Broke My Heart So I Busted Your Jaw and Witness before splitting up again in 1974.

It is simplistic to brand Spooky Tooth as a heavy rock band, but unlike serviceable label mates Free or Jethro Tull, they never quite gelled with record buyers. Regular personnel changes didn’t help either: Humble Pie‘s Greg Ridley, Only Ones drummer Mike Kellie, Foreigner‘s Mick Jones and Mike Patto had all served time by the band’s demise.


Wright went on to a reasonably successful solo career, scoring pop hits like Dream Weaver. (nostalgiacentral.com)

And here´s an extremely rare Bootleg (a EP) with 5 racks, recorded live for various BBC shows before Greg Ridley left to join Humble Pie.



This is a nice addition for every Spooky Tooth collector and I would like to bring back memories of a real good band from this period of rockmusic.

This album was pressed in red, white or green vinyl with no informations on the labels.


Luther Grosvenor (guitar)
Mike Harrison (vocals)
Mike Kelly (drums)
Greg Ridley (bass, background vocals)
Gary Wright (keyboards, background vocals)


01. I Can’t Quit Her (BBC June 23, 1968) (Kooper/Levine) 2.37
02. Evil Woman (BBC June 23, 1968) (Weiss) 3.28
03. Love Really Changed Me (BBC June 23, 1968) (Wright/Miler) 2.36
04. Pretty Woman (BBC April 26, 1969) (Williams) 3.03
05. Feelin’ Bad (BBC April 26, 1969) (Kellie/Wright) 2.33

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Greg Ridley
(23 October 1947 – 19 November 2003)

Mike Kellie
(24 March 1947, Birmingham, England -18 January 2017)

Mike Harrison
((3 September 1942 – 25 March 2018 in Carlisle)


Spooky Tooth – Live In Europe (2001)

FrontCover1.jpgA new dawn broke in England in 1966-67 and it was a blues-rock dawn. Bands like Cream, Free, Ten Years After, The Rolling Stones and even Fleetwood Mac were blending their blues roots with the insistent beat of rock and gaining commercial success from it. and during the late 1960s, Spooky Tooth was one of a contingent of new British rock bands inspired by the first British Rock Invasion of acts like The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds and The Animals.

Spooky Tooth took Europe and America by storm; alongside their Island Records label mates Traffic, Free and Jethtro Tull. From 1967 through 1974, they released seven Billboard-charting albums. After the band’s demise, all of the members went on to careers as solo artists or members of other successful bands.

It’s been 30 years since “It’s All About”, their first Stateside release on Bell Records (later reissued by A&M as “Tobacco Road”). For musicians who have not recorded together for many years, there were a number of obstacles to overcome. Each of the group members had created their own lives and coming together again presented somewhat of a challenge. Although the group wanted to honor some of their past material, they were also very conscious of writing contemporary new material which would reflect who they are now.

Part of the Spooky Tooth legacy is that they were always great at covering songs by then-unknown writers (Elton John, Robbie Robertson) and at recording songs by established writers and making them their own (Lennon/McCartney, Al Kooper, Bob Dylan) in the inimitable Spooky Tooth style.


One of the more intriguing components of the blues-rock movement was Spooky Tooth. They differed from other bands in that they utilized two very distinctive, talented vocalists (Mike Harrison and Gary Wright) and they featured an ominous yet potent organ sound.

By 1968, they had broken through commercially in England and were on the verge of releasing their most popular material. It was at this time that they performed on several editions of BBC´s radio program Top Gear.

Six of the nine tracks presented on BBC Sessions are taken from those appearances and showcase a band poised at the brink of big-time success. An aural snapshot of a well known band at that juncture of its recording career is very rare.

~Spooky Tooth´s “BBC Sessions” is that rare photograph~

As a special bonus, three additional tracks are included, one an obscure 1966 recording from Deep Feeling (featuring Spooky Tooth guitarist Luther Grosvenor and pre Traffic drummer Jim Capaldi !)) and two alternate mixes from the Spooky Tooth´s 1999 reunion release Cross Purpose.

Music from Deep Yesterday, Classic Yesterday and Reunion Yesterday´s BBC Sessions is everything a title like this should be.


This is a nice addition for every serious Spooky Tooth collector, but:

For years now bootlegs of Spooky Tooth’s BBC recordings have been circulating, most with less than excellent sound. Finally we get a chance to hear the band at its finest: LIVE “at the Beeb,” and what do we get? A truncated set, short in selections and definitely not what we would like to hear. The half dozen BBC songs come from but one or two of the numerous sessions the band recorded between 1968 and 1969, and many are faded in, suggesting that they are taken from transcription discs with spoken voice-over introductions that were simply edited out. Missing are some of the best BBC sessions, songs like “Tobacco Road,” and “Evil Woman” that were hallmarks of the band in concert. Although the studio outtakes from the 1999 reunion album are nice to have, they really do not fit comfortably into this collection. Equally disappointing are the two “bonus cuts” tacked on to the end of the disc which come from a 1970 Berlin concert, but which are rather shabby sounding, and which appear with no explanation as to their origins. In short we get a taste of what might have been, namely a Spooky Tooth BBC set to rival those recently issued by the Kinks, and the Who, but which instead winds up a missed opportunity. (by Christopher L. Dolmetsch)

More rare Spooky Tooth recordings will come !



Live at the BBC:
Mike Harrison (vocals, keyboards)
Luther Grosvenor (guitar)
Mike Kellie (drums)
Greg Ridley (bass)
Gary Wright (vocals, organ)

Deep Feeling:
Jim Capaldi (drums, vocals)
Luther Grosvenor (guitar, vocals)
Gordon Jackson (guitar)
David Meredith (bass)
Poli Palmer (vibraphon, flute)

1999 Reunion:
Mike Harrison (vocals)
Luther Grosvenor (guitar, percussion)
Mike Kellie (drums, percussion, background vocals)
Dave Moore (keyboards, synthesizer)
Greg Ridley (bass, background vocals)

Live in Berlin, 1970:
Mike Harrison (vocals, keyboards)
Luther Grosvenor (guitar)
Mike Kellie (drums)
Andy Leigh (bass)
Gary Wright (vocals, keyboards)



Live at the BBC:
01. Sunshine Help Me (Wright) 2.03
02. Too Much Or Nothing (Dylan)I 3.54
03. Feelin’ Bad (Kellie/Wright) 2.56
04. The Weight (Robertson) 3.17
05. I Can’t Quit Her (Kooper/Levine) 3.02
06. Blues Town (Harrison/King/Wright) 3.35

Deep Feeling (feat. Jim Capaldi and Luther Grosvenor):
07. Pretty Colours (unknown) 2.41

1999 Reunion Recordings Studio Outtakes:
08. Sunshine (Wallinger) 4.55
09. How (Kellie) 4.49

Live in Berlin, 1970:
10. Better You Better Than Me (Wright) 4.17
11. Soulful Lady (unknown) 8.50




Mike Harrison (03 September 1945 – 25 March 2018)
Mike Kellie (24 March 1947 – 18 January 2017)
Greg Ridley (23 October 1947 – 19 November 2003)

Pierre Henry avec Spooky Tooth – Ceremony (Messe Environnement) (1969)


Pierre Henry (9 December 1927 – 5 July 2017) was a French composer, considered a pioneer in the musique concrète genre of electronic music.


Pierre Henry was born in Paris, France, and began experimenting at the age of 15 with sounds produced by various objects. He became fascinated with the integration of noise into music. He studied with Nadia Boulanger, Olivier Messiaen, and Félix Passerone at the Paris Conservatoire from 1938 to 1948.

Between 1949 and 1958, Henry worked at the Club d’Essai studio at RTF, which had been founded by Pierre Schaeffer in 1943 (Dhomont 2001). During this period, he wrote the 1950 piece Symphonie pour un homme seul, in cooperation with Schaeffer; he also composed the first musique concrète to appear in a commercial film, the 1952 short film Astrologie ou le miroir de la vie. Henry scored numerous additional films and ballets.

Two years after leaving the RTF, he founded with Jean Baronnet the first private electronic studio in France, the Apsone-Cabasse Studio

Among Henry’s works is the 1967 ballet Messe pour le temps présent (Dhomont 2001), a collaboration with choreographer Maurice Béjart that debuted in Avignon (Rubin 2001,[page needed]). In 1969 Henry collaborated with British rock band Spooky Tooth on the album Ceremony.

Composer Christopher Tyng was heavily inspired by Henry’s “Psyché Rock” when writing the theme to the popular animated cartoon show Futurama. The theme is so reminiscent of the Henry’s song, it is considered a variation of the original.

Henry died on Wednesday 5 July 2017 at Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Paris, at the age of 89.

Pierre Henry performs live.

Ceremony is a 1969 album by progressive UK rock band Spooky Tooth in collaboration with French electronic and “found-object” composer Pierre Henry. The album takes the form of a church service. A Pierre Henry-free version of the closing track “Hosanna” with different lyrics appears on 2015 Universal release ‘The Island Years 1967-1974’ under the title “When I Get Home.” The release also includes an alternate take of “Have Mercy” (also without Henry) and a session outtake titled “Shine a Light on Me.”

The album is considered by singer and songwriter Gary Wright to have ended the band’s career. “Then we did a project that wasn’t our album. It was with this French electronic music composer named Pierre Henry. We just told the label, ‘You know this is his album, not our album. We’ll play on it just like musicians.’ And then when the album was finished, they said, ‘Oh no no — it’s great. We’re gonna release this as your next album.’ We said, ‘You can’t do that. It doesn’t have anything to do with the direction of Spooky Two and it will ruin our career.’ And that’s exactly what happened.” (by wikipedia)

Rare single from 1969

It’s fair to say that Ceremony: An Electric Mass is unlike any other release by an English band normally rooted in the blues. Think of it as Spooky Tooth’s version of Concerto for Group and Orchestra by Deep Purple, in which, after two or three promising blues-based rock releases, one member of the band somehow convinces the others to go for a wildly ambitious, experimental concept album. Jon Lord persuaded Deep Purple to dive into the deep end, and Gary Wright convinced Spooky Tooth to welcome acclaimed French composer and musique concrète pioneer Pierre Henry for this electronic mass. Henry’s atonal arrangements don’t fare too badly against Spooky Tooth’s piercing guitars and bluesy wail, although Wright left the band after Ceremony (just as Lord never had the same influence on Purple again, leaving Ritchie Blackmore to lead them on to heavy metal glory). (by Mark Allan)


Pierre Henry (synthesizer, electronics)
Mike Harrison (vocals, keyboards)
Luther Grosvenor (guitar)
Mike Kellie (drums, percussion)
Andy Leigh (bass, guitar)
Gary Wright (vocals, electronic organ, keyboards)


01. Have Mercy 7.51
02. Jubilation 8.25
03. Confession 6.53
04. Prayer 10.50
05. Offering 3.26
06. Hosanna 7.33

All tracks composed by Pierre Henry and Gary Wright



Pierre Henry2
Pierre Henry (9 December 1927 – 5 July 2017)