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31 Jul 2017

Gary Wright (first solo-LP of ex-Spooky Tooth member) ‎"Gary Wright's Extraction" 1971 UK Prog Classic Rock









Gary Wright  (first solo-LP of ex-Spooky Tooth member) ‎"Gary Wright's Extraction" 1971 UK Prog Classic Rock

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While critically acclaimed, they were not commercial successes at the time, in spite of the quality of the material. Gary Wright, former keyboardist/songwriter/vocalist for Spooky Tooth, released these two fine albums in succession after the initial breakup of the band, with `Extraction' coming out in 1971 and `Footprint' the next year. They now get a second chance, and fans of great rock music have reason to rejoice.

Wright formed a touring band in the wake of Spooky Tooth's demise, calling it `Wright's Wonderwheel' (which featured, among others, future Tooth and Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones). Most of that band played on 'Extraction', although the name Wonderwheel was not credited (however,they did release a single called 'I Know', and recorded an unreleased album). `Extraction' differed markedly from the trademark Spooky Tooth sound; the songs were generally more up-tempo, with more focus on lead guitar than the heavy organ sound of his previous band. In addition, the production was very bright and clean, with individual instruments very discreet and well separated.

It was sonically impressive on vinyl back then , and remains even more so on CD today. Featuring some truly outstanding songs such as Get on the Right Road, I Know a Place, Too Late to Cry and his own, more rocking version of The Wrong Time, which was also covered on the Wright-less Spooky Tooth Album `The Last Puff'. To me, this and `Footprint' feature Gary's most powerful vocal performances, largely devoid of the falsetto often used in Spooky Tooth recordings.

`Footprint' is a real joy to have. `Extraction' was actually released the previous year on the Repertoire label, but until this two-for set, `Footprint' was something of the Holy Grail of Spooky Tooth related material still unavailable. While `Extraction' had minimal production gloss, with somewhat sparse instrumentation and a generally `hard rock' feel, `Footprint' went a different direction.

Continuing with top-flight songs, superb vocals and lyrics that showed the emerging spiritualistic side of Gary, the recording featured many guest musicians, including George Harrison (under a pseudonym), Bobby Keys, Alan White, Jim Gordon and others. It was a more textured album in production values, with shimmering acoustic guitars augmenting the keyboards and electric instruments, more pensive lyrics and a kind of loose, thematic unity to the album not found on `Extraction'.

This theme is represented in such titles as Give Me the Good Earth, Love to Survive, Fascinating Things and the anthem-like Stand for Our Rights, which featured what may have been the last sax performance from King Curtis before his untimely death. To this day, hearing that song makes me want to jump up with a clenched fist and start marching. A more powerful affirmation to the cause of personal freedom would be hard to find.

While these masterpieces should, by all rights, have been released long before now, the fact that they are now available is great news to fans of not only Spooky Tooth and progeny, but to fans of superb late 60s, early 70s rock music everywhere. Frequent and repeated listenings guaranteed!.
by Dennis Hawley.................

Gary Wright, former keyboardist/songwriter/vocalist for Spooky Tooth, released these two fine albums in succession after the initial breakup of the band, with `Extraction' coming out in 1971 and `Footprint' the next year. While critically acclaimed, they were not commercial successes at the time, in spite of the quality of the material. They now get a second chance, and fans of great rock music have reason to rejoice.

Wright formed a touring band in the wake of Spooky Tooth's demise, calling it `Wright's Wonderwheel' (which featured, among others, future Tooth and Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones). Most of that band played on 'Extraction', although the name Wonderwheel was not credited (however,they did release a single called 'I Know', and recorded an unreleased album). `Extraction' differed markedly from the trademark Spooky Tooth sound; the songs were generally more up-tempo, with more focus on lead guitar than the heavy organ sound of his previous band. In addition, the production was very bright and clean, with individual instruments very discreet and well separated. It was sonically impressive on vinyl back then , and remains even more so on CD today. Featuring some truly outstanding songs such as Get on the Right Road, I Know a Place, Too Late to Cry and his own, more rocking version of The Wrong Time, which was also covered on the Wright-less Spooky Tooth Album `The Last Puff'. To me, this and `Footprint' feature Gary's most powerful vocal performances, largely devoid of the falsetto often used in Spooky Tooth recordings.
`Footprint' is a real joy to have. `Extraction' was actually released the previous year on the Repertoire label, but until this two-for set, `Footprint' was something of the Holy Grail of Spooky Tooth related material still unavailable. While `Extraction' had minimal production gloss, with somewhat sparse instrumentation and a generally `hard rock' feel, `Footprint' went a different direction. Continuing with top-flight songs, superb vocals and lyrics that showed the emerging spiritualistic side of Gary, the recording featured many guest musicians, including George Harrison (under a pseudonym), Bobby Keys, Alan White, Jim Gordon and others. It was a more textured album in production values, with shimmering acoustic guitars augmenting the keyboards and electric instruments, more pensive lyrics and a kind of loose, thematic unity to the album not found on `Extraction'. This theme is represented in such titles as Give Me the Good Earth, Love to Survive, Fascinating Things and the anthem-like Stand for Our Rights, which featured what may have been the last sax performance from King Curtis before his untimely death. To this day, hearing that song makes me want to jump up with a clenched fist and start marching. A more powerful affirmation to the cause of personal freedom would be hard to find.

While these masterpieces should, by all rights, have been released long before now, the fact that they are now available for such a modest price is great news to fans of not only Spooky Tooth and progeny, but to fans of superb late 60s, early 70s rock music everywhere. Frequent and repeated listenings guaranteed!...ByDennis Hawley.................

One can't mention Gary Wright without thinking of Dream Weaver and there's no denying the strength of the song and of the subsequently impressive career that surprise hit launched. For those who find a stronger association with his previous band, Spooky Tooth, Extraction and Footprint are excellent companions to his finest efforts with that band. Both albums ring with echoes of Spooky Tooth's influence, bringing strong guitars and keyboards together in what are superb examples of early seventies rock. The lyrics tend to come off as a little mawkish and trite here and there, but the music more than makes up for it. If you're a fan of Spooky Tooth, consider this collection a must have. If you prefer the Dream Weaver era, this is still a good choice if you're curious about his origins and influences.....By.Mark Gatzke......

Gary Wright, like Steve Miller and Peter Frampton, was a musical journeyman who just kept plugging away until he earned some well-deserved success in the mid-70's. But, his best work came well before "The Dreamweaver" was released, as you will hear when you listen to these two albums.

"Extraction" and "Footprint" are nearly cut from the same mold, they are so similar in structure and style, and they fit together seamlessly in this re-release. Wright was good at melding punchy uptempo rockers with reflective ballads. He featured a good deal of electric piano on these tunes, and partly as a result, the work is lighter and more buoyant than his work with Spooky Tooth.

Highlights include "Get On the Right Road", "I Know a Place", "The Wrong Time" and "Too Late to Cry" from "Extraction", and "Gimme The Good Earth", "Two-Faced Man", 'Whether It's Right or Wrong" and "Fascinating Things' from 'Footprint'. If you have some familiarity with the albums, you'll understand that I favor Wright's harder rocking tunes. 'I Know a Place" is a particularly special treat, showcasing Blodwyn Pig/Jethro Tull guitarist Mick Abrahams in a rare appearance as a sideman for another rocker.

"Footprint" is the more assured, mature record of the two. It features a really stellar cast of musicians, including George Harrison and Jim Gordon--check out the energy that Gordon adds to "Two-Faced Man", "Whether It's Right or Wrong" and "Fascinating Things". "Fascinating Things", an ominous track that blows in like a summer thunderstorm, also features Wright trading wicked licks (on organ) with the excellent guitarist Jerry Donahue (Fotheringay, Fairport Convention) who is still active and contributing to contemporary albums like Linda Thompson's 'Fashionably Late" .

"Two-Faced Man", featuring Harrison's slide guitar, deserved to be a hit . Wright and Harrison performed the song on the Dick Cavett show in 1972, and anyone wishing to view the footage should buy the Cavett 'Rock Stars' dvd which is now widely available. Yes, it's on Youtube as well.

Though Wright's "Extraction" and "Footprint' are dated somewhat in their themes of ecological and altruistic concerns, they still sound fresh musically, and this cd is remastered to bring out the best in the music.

Fans of Spooky Tooth, Wright's old band, should also check out bandmate Mike Harrison's albums, "Mike Harrison with Junkyard Angel", and "Smokestack Lightning'. Considering that the Spooky Tooth album, 'Last Puff' was largely a solo project for Harrison, a case can be made that he more than matched Wright's early efforts.....By Peter Baklava..............

Musicians
*Gary Wright - Vocals, Keyboards
*Colin Allen - Drums, Percussion
*P.P. Arnold - Vocals
*John Barham - String Arrangements
*Madeline Bell - Vocals
*Jerry Donahue - Guitar
*Jim Gordon - Drums, Percussion
*Jim Keltner - Drums, Percussion
*Bobby Keys - Tenor Sax
*King Curtis - Saxophone
*Hugh McCracken - Guitar
*George O'Hara - Guitar, Slide Guitar
*Barry St. John - Vocals
*Liza Strike - Vocals
*Doris Troy - Vocals
*Klaus Voormann - Bass
*Alan White - Drums
*Mick Abrahams - Guitar

Tracklist
A1 Got On The Right Road 3:10
A2 Get Hold Of Yourself 3:10
A3 Sing A Song 3:10
A4 We Try Hard 2:30
A5 I Know A Place 4:55
B1 The Wrong Time
Written-By – Gary Wright, Hugh McCracken
3:19
B2 Over You Now 3:35
B3 Too Late To Cry 3:50
B4 I've Got A Story
Written-By – Gary Wright, Hugh McCracken
5:25

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