Friday, 20 January 2017

"You Broke My Heart So...I Busted Your Jaw" by SPOOKY TOOTH (2016 Universal/Island CD Reissue - Paschal Byrne and Ben Wiseman Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...Wild Fire..." 

Like Mott The Hoople and The Pretty Things - England's SPOOKY TOOTH have never really received the accolades they deserve. Between 1968 and 1974 they produced seven studio albums (six on Island - one on Goodear) as well as a posthumous Island Records 'Best Of' in 1976 - yet I defy even knowledgeable Rock types to name just two of those original LPs.

Their fifth studio album is the same. It came at Blighty in January 1973 with a Klaus Voorman sleeve and the delightful title of "You Broke My Heart So...I Busted Your Jaw" across both sides of the cover (an in-joke apparently amongst band members – a phrase they used in jest and not a mission statement). Their previous album "The Last Puff" (credited to Spooky Tooth featuring Mike Harrison) had come and gone in October 1970 and January 1973 was a long time to be off the release sheets. But even though the new platter featured both Mike Harrison and Gary Wright with future Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones bolstering up the ranks – very few took notice of the 8-track vinyl LP. In fact none of their Rock/Blues Rock albums ever bothered the British LP charts (not even a nostalgia 'Best Of' in 1976) and though founder member and songwriter Gary Wright did some commercial welly in the mid Seventies (especially in the USA with his "Dream Weaver" LP) - Luther Grosvenor and Mike Harrison had solo careers also but few noticed. The band is not even in Martin C. Strong's stunning 'Great Rock Discography' Books (and almost everyone is in there). And now the final facial slap (sock in the jaw)...

These new CD Reissues and Remasters on UMC's Universal/Island with truly superb Audio and a wad of good bonus tracks on most (not this one unfortunately) have already quietly slipped under the radar only two months after release in September and October 2016. Time to rectify this horrid anomaly on the part of an uncaring and post Christmas flabby public - here are the eerie dental details...

UK released 30 September 2016 - "You Broke My Heart So...I Busted Your Jaw" by SPOOKY TOOTH on Universal/Island 570 547-8 (Barcode 602557054781) is a straightforward CD Remaster of the 8-track 1973 Island Records album and plays out as follows (35:12 minutes):

1. Cotton Growing Man
2. Old As I Was Born
3. This Time Around
4. Holy Water
5. Wild Fire [Side 2]
6. Self-Seeking Man
7. Times Have Changed
8. Moriah
Tracks 1 to 8 are their fifth studio album "You Broke My Heart So...I Busted Your Jaw" - released January 1973 in the UK on Island ILPS 9227 and May 1973 in the USA on A&M Records SP-4385. Recorded at Olympic, Island and Apple Studios - it was produced by GARY WRIGHT and SPOOKY TOOTH and the LP peaked at No. 84 in the USA but didn't chart in the UK.

GARY WRIGHT - Vocals, Organ and Piano
MIKE HARRISON - Vocals and Piano
MICK JONES - Lead Guitar

The 12-page booklet is good rather than great. Researched, co-ordinated and produced by MARK POWELL of England's much-revered reissue label Esoteric Recordings (have done wads of quality reissues from the Sixties and Seventies) – it’s missing stuff. There are several black and white group shots and photos of band members (Chris Stewart and Mick Jones) and a repro of that pencil drawing by Voorman of a woman with a rolling pin and a poor sucker under heel on the floor. But the colour photos of the band members on the US A&M Records LP are missing as are the lyrics that were printed the inner gatefold sleeve.

On the upside Powell details the band's history on Island Records (including stuff about The V.I.P's and Art) and then explains the arrival of Mick Jones into the ever-changing line-up and the re-emergence of Gary Wright as the principal songwriter (he penned all eight with co-writes on "This Time Around" and "Times Have Changed" with Mick Jones). The CD is coloured Pink when in fact it was a Orange Palm-Tree label by early 1973 (all the reissues I've bought in this series are like this - Pink labels regardless of the time frame) and there's a close-up photo of the album artwork 'symbol' beneath the see-through CD tray. But the big news is new PASCHAL BYRNE and BEN WISEMAN Remasters from original tapes - wonderful rocking sound on the chug of "Wild Fire" - even Soulful when those voices kick in on the piano-ballad "Holy Water". The real killer is the lack of outtakes from this most rewarding of Spooky's line-ups...and we never do find out who those female backing singers are...

I've always been surprised as the obscurity of this album - a really great Humble Pie-type Rock LP with Gary Wright and Mick Jones sounding like a precursor to Bad Company's explosive 1974 debut "Bad. Co". There are only eight tracks - but each either has a nasty Rock groove or a Soulful ballad – and both sides of his writing works. Humble Pie groovers include "Cotton Candy Man" where both Wright and Harrison share the vocals, the fabulous swagger of "This Time Around" and Side 2's opener "Wild Fire". Softer shades come through on the melodious "Old As I Was Born" before turning into a Funky groove with multi-layered vocals - and then there's the almost church-like "Holy Water" - a song where Wright is genuinely reaching for Soulfulness in a slow Rock song. A plaintive piano opens "Self-Seeking Man" which is soon joined by an aching vocal and again I'm reminded of Marriott circa A&M's "Humble Pie" in 1970 and "Rock On" in 1971. Shades of Leon Russell filter throughout the piano plaintive but majestic "Times Have Changed" - the LP ending on the electric piano Funk of "Moriah" - a sexy little wild and free six-minute groove with weird windy sounds at the end that's part Rare Earth, part Mott The Hoople, part Pink Floyd and all indefinable Spooky Tooth (nice).

"You Broke My Heart So...I Busted Your Jaw" is an album that cries out for re-discovery and like the recent Free Remasters (also September 2016) that came with storming Andy Pearce and Matt Wortham Remasters - I'm going to have to own the lot of these Paschal Byrne and Ben Wiseman CD efforts for SPOOKY TOOTH.

Well done to everyone involved for giving ST the late dental polish they've deserved for so long. And as far as this 1973 album is concerned - sock me in the kisser one more time...

Reissue Titles for SPOOKY TOOTH in the 2016 Universal/Island CD Remaster Series:

1. It's All About (1968 Debut) - 30 Sep 2016 CD release on Universal/Island 570 547-1 (Barcode 602557054712) with 10 Bonus Tracks
2. Spooky Two (1969 2nd LP) - 7 Oct 2016 CD release on Universal/Island 570 547-3 (Barcode 602557054736) with 9 Bonus Tracks
3. Ceremony: An Electronic Mass (1969 3rd LP with Pierre Henry)
- 7 Oct 2016 CD release on Universal/Island 570 547-0 (Barcode 602557054705) with 6 Bonus Tracks
4. The Last Puff (1970 4th LP) - 7 Oct 2016 CD release on Universal/Island 570 547-5 (Barcode 602557054750) with 6 Bonus Tracks
5. You Broke My Heart...So I Busted Your Jaw (1973 5th LP) - 30 Sep 2016 CD release on Universal/Island 570 547-8 (Barcode 602557054781)
6. Witness (1973 6th LP) - 30 Sep 2016 CD release on Universal/Island 570 547-7 (Barcode 602557054774) with 1 Bonus Track
7. The Mirror (1974 7th LP) - 30 Sep 2016 CD release on Universal/Island 570 547-6 (Barcode 602557054767)

1 comment:

Andy Pollard said...

Thanks for the reviews. These reissues are part of the Spooky Tooth box set released a couple of years ago. A great collection, if you can find one at the right price, as it now appears to be deleted from the catalogue.

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