Night Music: Spooky Tooth, “The Mirror,” and Boxer, “All the Time in the World”

Christmas–in fact the holidays at large–is an excuse for excess.

I was trying to think of a fitting tune as such, that would reflect the panoply of things that represent the season–food, drink, gifts, money–while also remembering that for Diane and me, Boxing Day will be the actual gift exchange with the family for the first time. That is because Kelly, Lindsay’s sister, has to work the holiday and cannot get away. (It was the same Thanksgiving, the first holiday where she was so grown up she couldn’t get home because of work, so it is fine to stall a day.)

For some reason, the thought of Boxing Day must have triggered my thoughts of the band Boxer, and the song All the Time in the World. While checking out versions, I was reminded of Mike Patto, who headed the group Boxer, and played with Spooky Tooth, a band full of great musicians, but one that never really caught on in the states.

An art rock group of sorts, SpookyTooth included such personage as Chris Stainton, Henry McCullough, Greg Ridley, Mike Harrison, and Gary Wright.

In reviewing this information, I was reminded of the song The Mirror, from the album of the same name, released in 1974. I was in love with ELO at the time, and when I heard the song The Mirror, I thought it was close to perfect.

Fortunately, within three years, punk would arrive and save me from the horrors of second generation prog rock. In fact, when I played The Mirror, while concoting this piece, I was sort of surprised that I ever liked it at all.

Certainly the song is heavily influenced by Gary Wright and the Dreamweaver phase, and I do like the arpeggio guitars and the drums, and even synths, but the words? God help me, and the chorale influenced singing during the over-indulgent bridge makes awful even worse.

Still, an interesting look at Brit psychedelia during the era of Elton John



Mike Patto left Spooky Tooth to form Boxer, and I remember buying their album Below the Belt when it came out, not so much because I loved the band but rather because I thought the album jacket would make the record collectable someday (I was right as it goes for between $75-$100 on Ebay). I do think though, that this had to be what Christopher Guest and Michael McKean and Harry Shearer and Rob Reiner were thinking when they were imagining the jacket of Smell the Glove.

Either way, curiosity got the better of me, so I pulled up All the Time in the World and it was actually sort of raw, but a lot better than The Mirror.

Which I guess isn’t saying much.

Hope your seasonal excesses don’t get the better of you, and if you are doing the gift thing tomorrow, happy Boxing Day!

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