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Spooky Tooth - The Last Puff CD (album) cover

THE LAST PUFF

Spooky Tooth

 

Proto-Prog

3.38 | 46 ratings

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Guillermo
Prog Reviewer
3 stars This album sounds to me like it maybe was recorded to fill contractual obligations with the record label. Maybe Iīm wrong. But at that time SPOOKY TOOTH was a trio of remaining original members Mike Harrison (vocals), Luther Grosvenor (guitar) and Mike Kellie (drums), after Gary Wright (keyboards, vocals, and main composer of the band) and Andy Leight (bass) left the band after the release of the "Ceremony" album, which was recorded with French Avant Garde musician Pierre Henry. For this "The Last Puff" album, which was released as "SPOOKY TOOTH FEATURING MIKE HARRISON" in July 1970, they had Chris Stainton as producer. He also was the keyboard player / bassist for the GREASE BAND, a band which accompanied singer Joe Cocker in some of his early albums and tours in the late sixties and early seventies. So, maybe it was Stainton who brought some of the other members of the GREASE BAND to help SPOOKY TOOTH to record this album (guitarist Henry McCullough and bassist Alan Spenner). So, this album obviously sounds somewhat influenced by the sound of Joe Cocker, Chris Stainton and the Grease Band. Maybe one connection between SPOOKY TOOTH and Chris Stainton and The Grease Band was Mike Kellie, who previously appeared as session drummer on two tracks of Joe Cocker's successful "With a Little Help from My Friends" (1969) album.

This "The Last Puff" album starts with a cover of THE BEATLES's "I am the Walrus". A very well arranged heavy version, with some uncredited female backing vocals (like in other songs in this album), good guitar solos and generally very well played by the band. This song is maybe the most known song from this album, even being played a lot on the radio. It even was played by another very different line-up of SPOOKY TOOTH during their tour in 1974 (Gary Wright, Mike Patto, Val Burke, Bryson Graham and Mick Jones) with a similar musical arrangement!

The next track is Gary Wright's "The Wrong Time", also with some uncredited female backing vocals. I don't know why a song composed by a former member of the band was recorded for this album. Maybe it was played by the band before Wright left the band, so they decided to record it for this album.

The next track is Joe Cocker's song titled "Something to Say", a song which he was going to release in his album titled "Joe Cocker" (or titled as "Something to Say" in the U.K.) from 1972. Maybe SPOOKY TOOTH was the first band to record this song.

Two other covers of songs, "Nobody There at All" and "Down River" (both from less known songwriters, at least for me) sound good but maybe more far from the bandīs original musical style, both sounding a bit like Pop Rock / Blues / Soul songs from the U.S.

"Son Of Your Father" is a song composed by Elton John and Bernie Taupin which is good, too.

The album ends with Stainton's "The Last Puff", which is a slow Blues / Jazz musical piece without vocals. It sounds good, too, but I think that they only recorded it to have more material to finish the album.

In conclusion: this album is good, but, as I wrote before, it sounds more like a record contract obligation album than anything else, with a lot of influences from Blues, Soul and Heavy Rock music, obviously influenced by the presence of three members of Joe Cocker's backing band led by Producer Chris Stainton. The band even toured a bit to promote this album in late 1970, but with John Hawken on keyboards and Steve Thompson on bass (there is a short video from this tour on youtbe), and without Stainton, McCullough and Spenner, before they split until 1972, when the band was reformed by Harrison and Wright with some new members.

Guillermo | 3/5 |

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