The song repetition on some Classic Rock stations may lead you to believe that there were only a handful of songs ever produced in the sixties and seventies. But just like modern music, for every top hit song that becomes subject to radio overplay, there are hundreds of undiscovered songs that are arguably just as good in quality. Today, we’ll be looking at one of the more obscure albums of the sixties: Spooky Two by the band Spooky Tooth.
Released in 1969, almost fifty years ago, the second album by the British band Spooky Tooth probably seems like a dinosaur of the past in comparison to contemporary music when judged by age alone. When judged by the listening experience, perhaps the hums of now-vintage keyboards in the background of several of the songs and British blues-rock feel characteristic of the sixties can admittedly make it feel dated on a surface-level. However, “dated” is by no means bad, as this album still provides a unique take on the sounds of the late-sixties.
Waitin’ for the Wind – The drum build-up is an interesting choice for the first song, though the organ-like keyboard soon takes the center stage with a droning riff to back up the vocals. Though not one of the more explicitly dark songs on the album, the opening does an excellent job at setting the darker mood for the rest of the album.
Feelin’ Bad – The first song where the guitar gets a chance to shine as both a solo instrument (though not for long stretches of time) and a backup to the vocal harmonies.
I’ve Got Enough Heartaches – The Soul-esque opening of this track is certainly a surprise compared to the first two tracks. It primarily features piano and vocal harmony, which provides a nice musical contrast to the darker mood of several of the other tracks. Although, the lyrics are not exactly “light”.
Evil Woman – A huge jump back into the darker atmosphere into the album. One of the more popular tracks, it spans an impressive nine minutes. A good portion of the song is based on a standard guitar riff, though being a nine-minute song, it features a two-minute long guitar solo in the middle that does not disappoint.
Lost in My Dream – A quiet beginning with a gradual build-up. The vocals shine here and do a fantastic job of conveying the desperation of the song’s narrator, and the instruments accompany the lyrical chorus using an effective gradual buildup. Perhaps the addition of an actual chorus could be seen as a tad overdramatic to some, but even that does its job at accentuating the bleaker mood of the track.
The Was Only Yesterday – A quintessential blues-rock track.
Better By You, Better Than Me – Possibly their most accessible track and one that’s known for its cover by Judas Priest. It begins with a catchy yet simple solo guitar riff that gradually builds up to the dramatic level of some of their other tracks. The lyrics are certainly grim, though the discreteness of the lyrics and the catchiness of the tune don’t make the lyrical content as obvious on the first listen. Though, this song works extremely well as a whole.
Hangman Hang My Shell on a Tree – Another song where the grim lyrics aren’t obvious from the tone of the song. The vocal style is similar to “I’ve Got Enough Heartaches”, and it could be somewhat easy to forget about the subject matter if not for the dark title.
Overall, despite the age of the album, it still offers a fresh experience with innovative lyrics and song structures. Some of the songs need a couple of listens to truly grow on the listener, but it leaves a satisfaction at the end.