George Starostin's Reviews



Become a Certified Commentator today by following this link!

!!Before adding new comments, please check the GUIDELINES. Don't say I didn't warn you!!


Guillermo F. Vazquez Malagamba <> (05.10.2002)

I was reading some of your reviews about Spooky Tooth´s albums, and I saw that you don´t have the release dates of those albums. I have the book called "The Complete Rock Family Trees" which was written by Pete Frame (Omnibus Press, Great Britain,1993), a respected writer of rock´s story. In his "family tree" dedicated to Spooky Tooth he says that the albums were released in:

-It´s all about (later released as Tobacco Road in the U.S. in 1971): May 1968.

-Spooky Two: March 1969.

-Ceremony:January 1970

-The Last Puff: July 1970.

-You Broke my heart so I busted your jaw:March 1973.

-Witness: November 1973.

-The Mirror: October 1974.

I recommend this book very much, despite it has minor mistakes. For example, for Ceremony it says that Greg Ridley was still the bassist in Spooky Tooth, but the bassist for this album was Andy Leigh. This book has "Family Trees" for many bands.

Neal Parrett <> (06.12.2002)

Ok first off, I really dig the website with the album reviews. Ok second, I am 27 years old and I live in California. Ok 27, California you say? Well I guess my dad turned my on to all the music he liked from 65' to 70' and I always like that music ever since. I also liked Judas Priest especially Stained Class which in my opinion is one of the most underrated and overall best rock records but enough of that! I loved "Better By You, Better Than Me" and I always wanted to hear the original. I finally did and wow I really liked it! I remember my dad saying once that he really liked Spooky Tooth. Anyway, I started doing research on the band and started sampling some of there songs. I instantly loved them! Then I found your page and its eerie some of the same observations we both made in fact, one of the first things I noticed was the similar sound to the first Black Sabbath record which I also love. I am a major Sab fan and I think that explains everything. Ok so I like the music and its great to run into a great resource like you album page. Oh yeah, isn't Mike Kellie one of the greatest and most underrated drummers ever!? I mean Ginger Baker and John Bonham were great and all but come on, where's Kellie's freakin praise? I guess my favorites are: "Evil Woman, Better By You, Better Than Me", "Lost in a Dream", "But that was only Yesterday", and "Society's Child". Any recommendations? I will continue to do research on the cool and mysterious band and I will also continue to peruse your awesome review page. So I'm guessing your a Brit, well then good luck, god speed, and cheers mate!

Thomas <> (16.01.2002)

I'm from Hamburg/ Germany and I''ve seen Spooky Tooth in the "Star Club" about 1968 and the second time at the same Venue, just before the Closing of the Club at the End of 69. For me it was one of the most thrilling experience in my whole life. I'm 53 of age and attended thousands of concerts and saw Groups & Artists from Mothers of Invention, later Frank Zappa in different Line Ups, The Beatles, Rolling Stones to Led Zeppelin, Little Feat, Jimi Hendrix etc. Today I listen to different types of Music like Jazz, African and Brazilian Music, Roots , Blues & Country but I will always remember this magnificent Band, which, to my opinion, is too underrated. By the way. Tomorrow I will see the "Hamburg Blues Band", together with Mike Harrison, besides Gary Wright,the former Vocalist of Spooky Tooth.

<> (07.04.2004)

Many fans must have been waiting for this while they listened to their great albums:

Spooky Tooth are reforming, this time with Gary Wright!

They are going to start soon, with two concerts in Germany in June 2004, one in Worpswede near Bremen, and one in Hamburg.

Their new line-up:

Mike Harrison: vocals, piano, harmonica

Gary Wright: vocals, keyboards

Mike Kellie: drums, percussion

Joey Albrecht: lead guitar, vocals

Bexy Becker: bass guitar, vocals

Dan braconnier <> (01.08.2005)

I was 18 years old when it came out on fm radio. I still have a copy on vinyl {The MIRROR} . One of the most orignal albums ever. I have always been a fan of different music ie Emerson Lake & Palmer Gothic sound { Pictures at an Exibition}.What was Gary Thinking of when he wrote { The MIRROR} 1973-74 and on were good years for rock , pink floyd ect. I think Spooky Tooth fit in nicely. Gary Wright is a geinus. Another geinus that does not get enough recognition is Alan Parsons. His work with pink floyd & the Beatles ect was awesome. Thanks for your coments on one of my favorite albums The Mirror.


No reader comments yet.


Guillermo F. Vazquez Malagamba <> (05.10.2002)

This is a "dark" album with a lot of emotions expressed in the music (and maybe in the lyrics, which I don´t have). I think that the only real "heavy" song is "Evil Woman", but the rest is a mixture of songs played with acoustic and electric guitars and some keyboards, sometimes sounding "progressive". This album and The Mirror are the only Spooky Tooth´s albums that I have listened to, but I can´t comment about The Mirror because I listened to that album in the late seventies and I don´t remember the songs now. But many people says that Spooky Two is their best album. The first time that I listened to Spooky Two I was 8 years old, and I remember that the album (British version, Island Records) was lent to one of my brothers by one of his friends, and it had a gatefold cover which I found a scan in a russian website called "Collectable Records-Collectable Artists and labels" ( The version that I bought in 1980 (A&M Records, U.S.) doesn´t ! have the gatefold cover.

Gordon Hodgson <> (20.10.2002)

I first heard this record in 1969 and it has been a favourite of mine ever since. I never get tired of playing it as the music was responsible for the development of my interest in rock and blues music. It was a great era with other bands like Led Zep, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, ELP and Curved Air etc all starting around that time.

My great regret is that I never saw Spooky Tooth Live - although I have all the albums that they did as well as many of the individual ones by Gary Wright, Mike Harrison and Luthor Grosvenor.

Im desperately searching for a place in the UK that I can buy the cd's of You Broke my Heart.... and Witness if anyone out there can help.

Bob Kerwin <> (24.10.2003)

Spooky Two was my first introduction to Spooky Tooth. I was playing guitar in local bands in my home town at the time. Most of the music then did not have the "class" I felt Spooky Tooth had. Or, at least, anything in this vein was not available. The musicianship seemed a couple steps above most other groups around that were available to be heard on the radio in my area. They just "played better", I thought.

Where I lived on the American east coast in Virginia, the best music to hear was from albums other people had, not what was available on the radio. The late 60's was still beach music, Motown and a few one hit wonders. You clicked on a fuzz tone or made your wah-wah peddle cry like a baby during a guitar solo, and girls ran screaming out of the bar and guys threw beer bottles at you. Spooky Tooth Spooky Two, was a breath of fresh air to me. FM radio started coming on as "underground" music. I became hooked on what was out there that I had no idea was actually being recorded. Maybe it was the time of my life, maybe it was just plain chance. But Spooky Tooth was the opening salvo for me. Luther Grosvenor will always have a place in my guitar heroes catalog. That's my 2 cents worth.


Michael J. <> (06.11.2002)

Ceremony is a travesty, an absolute must to avoid for anyone interested in good music. Greg Ridley, the original bassist was smart to leave the group for Humble Pie before they recorded this incoherent ode to spiritualism. It's hard to believe that outside of Ridley this is the same bunch of creative guys who recorded Spooky Two. Fans reaction to Ceremony was so negative that the group broke up. (They would reform without Gary Wright to record their best album The Last Puff.) You would think an album with biblical overtones would suit Harrison's devilish voice and would be a perfect fit for Gary Wright and Mike Kellie, who were very spiritual men. Had the group not involved French artiste Pierre Henri the album might have been more successful; it did indeed sell well upon it's initial release based on Spooky Two's positive reviews, but when people actually started to listen to it, Ceremony was right allocated to the cut-out bins. Ceremony can be construed as a rock opera or rock mass along the lines of Jesus Christ Superstar. Gary Wright often wrote about living on a higher spiritual plane, especially on later albums like You Broke My Heart and Witness ("Oceans of Power," "Wings on My Heart," "Holy Water") but here he subjected listeners to a full frontal assault. Even a devout Christian would want to crucify Wright for this material. Remove Henri's intrusive sound effects and you still have a full album of weak songs, Harrison's fallen angel vocals not withstanding. Not that this album's failure rests solely with the Tooth. Pierre Henri, who had expressed his desire to record with a rock group actually never met with the group -- he simply took what they had recorded and swamped their music with chants, screams, blips and other annoying sound effects. The group was mortified when they heard it and later admitted they did it for the money. If you like the idea of listening to an acid trip --- a bad acid trip than Ceremony is for you. Have Mercy indeed. On a scale of ten, Ceremony rates a one, only because the group had the guts to try and record it.

Peter Mork <> (04.12.2002)

I like Ceremony! It's so awful it's great. I even like the Pierre Henry contributions. Whenever the voice on "Confession" (what you insist on calling "Credo") begins mid-song it spooks the bejeezus out of me. By the way, I believe what he's saying is not 'ba ba ba b-ba b-ba' but 'puh puh-puh puh pwah puh puh puh'. See, NOW it makes sense.

<> (05.06.2003)

only one thing to say about spooky tooths ceremony awesome!!! one of the great heavy rock records amen

Deepinder Cheema <> (01.11.2005)

Without doubt, Ceremony is an album that works. It would have been made better if the project was a collaboration in the true sense of the word. I do not hold any thing against the reviewers diatribe of this work. One of the more underated Pink Islands, God bless Chris Blackwell and his £200,000.000, well earned! Deepinder Cheema

Tagbo Munonyedi <> (17.11.2005)

As a christian with a wide imagination and a love of every kind of music the planet has to offer {except - forgive me -C&W and ragga },I have to say, I rather like Ceremony. I've been into it since 1989 and I must admit that it took me a few months to like it. The songs themselves are pretty good with an inventive fusion of moody, bluesy, atmospheric pieces and some seriously heavy rocking splange, heaven sent {sorry} for the air guitarist. But those sound effects literally made my nerves crawl. However, now I can sort of appreciate the album as a whole and if you can listen to the album without prejuidice, you may find it surprizing. Obviously for me most of the words have a significance, but then, no more so than great pieces like "I am the walrus" and it's the overall sound that grabs. I'm not a fan of Spooky Tooth but this creatively courageous has assured them of a place in my heart....and my record collection!

Adam Blake <> (20.02.2006)

Re: Ceremony by Spooky Tooth and Pierre Henri: To compare this record with Jesus Christ Superstar - as one of your reviewers did - is extremely misleading. Firstly, the lyrics are actually the words of the Mass, not the words of Tim Rice interpreting his idea of the Bible story of Jesus. Quite a difference, I think you'll agree. Secondly, the music is completely different: if Henri had had no input there might be some justification in making a loosely generic comparison, ie, both albums were made around the same time with similar instrumentation (loud guitar and Hammond organ, "heavy" bluesy vocal mannerisms etc.), but the fact is that Pierre Henri's input takes this album out of the realms of late 60s heavy rock and into a completely uncharted territory. Obviously that's too much for some of your more conservative readers but I think it's important that this record is recognized as the completely unique piece of work that it is. Apparently nobody involved with it was happy with it. That doesn't surprise me. It's a very oppressive and bleak work. One of the darkest and most disturbing records I have ever heard - and I have listened to a lot of music of all kinds in 40 years or so. It's not a record I would choose to listen to often, but I would not be without it in my collection. Compared to this, Spooky Tooth's other albums are dated and often pedestrian. There is nothing on any of the other records (and, yes, I have heard them) as terrifying as some of the content here - and I am not only referring to the tooth-grindingly unpleasant interjections of Henri's sound effects but also to the genuinely menacing playing of the band. Don't let the prejudices of dull rockists deny you the experience of listening to this completely unique record at least once.


Michael J. <> (06.11.2002)

Spooky Tooth's best album, in part because Gary Wright and his screeching falsetto are missing. Although Wright wrote 90% of the group's material the quality of the songs on the album isn't at all diminished -- you can't go wrong with Lennon/McCartney ("I am the Walrus"), Elton John/Bernie Taupin ("Son of Your Father"), and David Ackles ("Down River"). The album was supposed to be lead singer Mike Harrison's first solo effort (hence the title Spooky Tooth Featuring Mike Harrison), but Island records honcho Chris Blackwell and the remaining band members (Drummer Mike Kellie and guitarist Luther Grosvenor) convinced him to make it a group effort. The album also benefits from the inclusion of Grease Band members Chris Stainton (keyboards), Alan Spenner (bass) and guitarist Henry McCulloch. The three new additions help reign in the group's occasional overindulgence, particularly Grosvenor's over the top guitar solos. On "The Last Puff" Grosvenor plays one of his best solos on the group's version of "I Am the Walrus," one of their signature tunes. The group strips the song down and turns it into an intense, scary rocker. (If the devil could sing he'd sound like Mike Harrison). "Wrong Place, Wrong Time," a leftover from a gary Wright solo effort benefits from all things a chorus of background singers, mad percussion and another growling vocal from Mike Harrison. "Something to Say," a ballad written by Chris Stainton and Joe Cocker, (and alter recorded by Joe) shows that Harrison could out-Cocker Joe any day of the week. Harrison's previously gruff delivery here is much smoother. Harrison was often praised for his ability to wring emotion from his voice and "Down River" is a prime example. His voice sounds pained, wounded and stops you cold. Stainton delivers a sweeping piano and Kellie hold it all together with his brand of economical drumming. "Nobody There at All" and "Son of Your Father" are tunes where Grosvenor and McCulloch show their musical chops and the title track, an instrumental that concludes the album shows off Stainton's skills on the keyboards. On a scale of ten, Last Puff is an eleven.


Michael J. <> (06.11.2002)

Next to Last Puff and Spooky Two, You Broke My Heart.. is one of the group's best albums. After a two year hiatus in which both Gary Wright and Mike Harrison released two solo albums the group reformed. Instead of Spooky Tooth in its original incarnation, this version of the band is actually Gary Wright's solo band, Wonderwheel, with Mike Harrison on lead vocals (original guitarist Luther Grosvenor wound up in Mott the Hoople under the name Ariel Bender, Greeg Ridley was still with Humble Pie and Mike Kellie was with Peter Frampton). Kellie's choppy, simple drum patterns are missed, but the good news is that Bryson Graham is a powerful, driving force. Harrison's voice has never sounded better. He is one of the few singers who can sound mournful, on the verge of tears in one song ("Holy Water") and scare the hell out of you in another ("Cotton Growing Man"). Wright has thankfully dropped his annoying, forced falsetto and sings with confidence. He has also written a batch of killer songs -- "Moriah," which ends the album with an apocalyptic blast of synthesizers, is a mythic blast of heavy metal; "Cotton Growing Man," which starts the album is a gut-bucket rocker with a condemning vocal by Harrison and some fine heavy riffing by future Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones; "Self Seeking Man" builds in intensity with each verse and the aforementioned "Holy Water" may be Harrison's finest singing ever, a gospel tinged ballad that features a group of back up singers that sound like angels. Wright also throws down a surprisingly solid vocal on the funky "Wildfire," which features Harrison on harp and drummer Graham and bassist Chris Stewart playing like Sly Stone's band. Other stand out tunes are "This Time Around" a shared vocal by Harrison and Wright and "Old As I Was Born," where Jones provides an ominous riff to Wright's almost choir boy vocal. "You Broke My Heart" benefits from Stewart's sneaky, but soulful bass, Wright's judicious use of synthesizers and Graham's style being almost completely different from Mike Kellie's. The real star here is Harrison's whose plaintive vocals will leave you wondering why this guy wasn't a bigger star than he was (can you say bad management?) On a scale of ten, I rate this one a nine, the only misstep being Wright's wimpy "Times Have Changed."

David Sterenchock <> (15.11.2002)

This is one of my all time favorite albums. I love Mike Harrison's voice. The song "Self Seeking Man" is worth the cost of the entire album/disc. Maybe it was my state of mind at the time but I found Spooky Tooth in this incarnation to be heavy but not overbearing. Good rock'n'roll in my opinion.


Michael J. <> (06.11.2002)

The Tooth continued its second coming with an album that was almost as strong as You Broke My heart. It also marked the return of drummer Mike Kellie, whose distinctive slow rolls can be heard opening the album. Kellie also collaborated with the prolific Gary Wright for several songs on the album; bassist Chris Stewart helped out on "Don't Ever Stray Away" and guitarist Mick Jones co-wrote the very poppy "All Sewn Up." Mike Harrison, the lead singer, didn't contribute to the writing process (he seldom did), but his whiskey-throated emoting is what makes Witness a success. The group also returns to a tried and true practice they hadn't used since Spooky Two -- duets between Harrison and Wright. The pair teams up for all but one song on side two ("All Sewn Up"). "Dream Me a Mountain" the first of the duets is the best and features a throat tearing scream by Harrison that would have rendered a lesser singer mute. "Sunlight in My Mind" and "Pyramids" harkens back to Wright and Kellie's love affair with all things spiritual. "Pyramids" also seems to have some autobiographical references in it as Harrison sings "I found myself beside you, I never will know how," undoubtedly a reference to Wright, an American, not only finding himself in an English rock band, but winding up the leader as well. Other highlights include the opening tune, "Oceans of Power," a showcase for Harrison's own power and "Don't Ever Stray Away" a dirty, soulful romp that is nearly sabotaged by some off-key back up vocals. Unfortunately, Harrison departed after this album, replaced by sound-alike Mike Patto for the group's final effort, The Mirror, a competent effort swamped by too many synthesizers. Witness is a seven out of ten, docked for three docile Wright vocals in a row, two of which, "As Long As World Keeps Turning" and "Things Change" sound too much alike.


<> (28.06.2003)

I'm surprised that no one seems to have mentioned the pre- Whitesnake feel to tracks like 'Two Time Love' I know it's a much used (at the time ) groove but...........

Nice album and well worth a listen.

The cover for the cd copy I have is awful though

Cat no:CDCD 1032 The Classic Rock lable

It has a back drop of the Mount Rushmoor Memorial complete with a shagadelic black and white mop-top-hairdo-gone-wrong picture of the band slapped on top. I'm uncertain if other versions have the original artwork but I would guess so.

I would get up in to the loft and dig the album out and scan the original sleeve but I can't be bothered.

Also the cd sleeve does not list 'The Hoofer' but shows it as a listed track on the cd.

Ted Culley <> (12.03.2004)

Recently purchased this album. I bought it for the Mike Patto content. I disagree with the former critic as the Patto vocal track "Two Time Love" seems more Stevie Winwood that Stevie himself.

Most of it does not age that well the arena rock synth and high harmonies tend to date it. However, there are some gems 'Two Time Love' and 'The Mirror' are of high quality. Kyle still seems fresh even though rather sugary, but what stands out for me is 'I'm Alive' would stand up in any set these days.

On my CD 'The Hoofer' is not listed on the sleeve notes but is the last track.

Return to the main index page