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Old 04-03-2011, 10:18 AM   #41 (permalink)
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Default Re: The "MIGHTY" Groundhogs


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Originally Posted by joe View Post
Glad you like them Wolf. Might be tough to find Back Against The Wall on CD or vinyl. I happened to be fortunate enough to find it on vinyl way back. I only saw it that one time. I'm not sure if it has been ever issued on CD.
If I can't find them I'll just download them. If they are out of print they probably aren't under a copyright any longer either and that makes it legal to grab them up as public domain . I would rather have the CDs believe me but if not then I still want the music
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Old 04-04-2011, 05:25 AM   #42 (permalink)
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Default Re: The "MIGHTY" Groundhogs

It wasn't until 12 years later that the 'Hogs released another studio album, Hogs In Wolf's Clothing, a tribute to Howlin' Wolf with a collection of his songs. A very poor effort IMO. However, here's a few tracks from the album:





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Old 04-07-2011, 08:07 AM   #43 (permalink)
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Default Re: The "MIGHTY" Groundhogs

Correction. The Muddy Waters Song Book(1999) was the last studio recording the Groundhogs recorded. Again this album must of been slapped down in a couple hours. What were they thinkin' with this and the last recording. Why bother.






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Chicago bluesman Billy Boy Arnold(vocals/harmonica) who apprenticed under Sonny Boy Williamson in the late '40's teams up with the 'Hogs for this 1977 album recorded in London but wasn't released until 2007. The 'Hogs and Billy Boy rip through standard blues classics and set the house afire. Hard, raw electric blues. Very well done.





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Old 04-12-2011, 09:25 AM   #44 (permalink)
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Default Re: The "MIGHTY" Groundhogs

Tony McPhee also contributed to other projects and has released some solo recordings since the late '60's. Here's a selection:

Me And The Devil(1968) featured some other blues musicians of the day like Jo Anne and Dave Kelley, Andy Ferbach, Steve Rye, and Bob Hall laying done acoustic blues.





I Asked for Water, She Gave Me Gasoline(1969) was similar in style as Me And The Devil and featured once again, Jo Ann Kelley and other guest musicians and was produced McPhee.






Two Sides Of Tony(T.S.) McPhee is concept album with side 1 focusing on the blues and side 2 show cases MvPhee's talent not only as a guitarist but as keys player as well. The side long track, "The Hunt" is a progressive, riveting and bizarre instumentally as is the emotional substance of the song.







The Blues And The Beast(1991) is another acoutic blues album covering the blues standards. Very well done.





Foolish Pride(1993). Sox is the only one I know who has this album.




Slide T.S., Slide(1994) is McPhee and is acoustic guitar slidin'. About 1/3 of the album is studio tracks and the remainder is live. Too long winded as it would of nice to have some electric bootlenecking mixed in.





Bleachin' The Blues(2002) was recorded up in Tony's attic again just him and his guitar.



The 'Hog has released two more albums, Blues At Ten(2004) with Joanna Deacon on vocals and Gypsy Waffle Iron(2008).

The Groundhogs have been touring the UK on and off for years though over the last few years Tony McPhee has taken ill which has slowed him down. Hopefully the 'Hog will be around for awhile yet. One of the true original blues rockers.
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Old 12-04-2011, 01:39 PM   #45 (permalink)
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Default Re: The "MIGHTY" Groundhogs

I first came to the Groundhogs via Split, their best-selling and most refined album, side one of which is divided into Splits part 1 to 5 and is concerned with mental illness inspired by a panic attack experienced by Tony McPhee. Although McPhee dominates the group as writer, singer, guitarist, producer and engineer, the rhythm section of bassist Pete Cruikshank and drummer Ken Pustelnik are extremely tight. No-one plays guitar like Tony McPhee, who has the perfect balance of sheer speed and blues-rock feel. I followed Split with Groundhogs' Best 1968 - 1972, a double-album compilation which gives an overview of the albums covered by that period as well as the varied styles, for example: the concise blues rock of BDD from Blues Obituary, the conscience driven lyrics of Garden from Thank Christ For the Bomb, the pure blues of Groundhog from split, all-out hard rock of 3744 James Road from Hogwash. Only disappointing by the Groundhogs' own high standards are the tracks from Who Will Save the World, on which McPhee tends to concentrate on synthesizer at the expense of his guitar playing, which is also multi-tracked. Suffice to say, I went on and bought all the albums represented along with the slightly later Solid and The Two Sides of TS McPhee.

The Two Sides of TS McPhee (1973) originated as a vinyl LP with two differing styles separated by the two sides of the disc. Side one was five pure blues tracks by McPhee on guitar, but without band, including Dog Me Bitch. Side two consisted of one twenty-minute track, The Hunt, about the cruelty of fox-hunting, played predominantly on synthesizers. Dog Me Bitch was played live by the Groundhogs as a band track and demonstrated Tony McPhee's willingness to adapt and alter his own material, something he continued to do years later. A memorable BBC Radio One In Concert programme, from the Solid era, is available on CD on Windsong.

Solid (1974) was the last of the three-piece classic-era of the Groundhogs and is Tony McPhee's masterpiece. Aggressive guitar playing on Light My Light and Free From All Alarm flows seemlessly into the further sophistication of synthesizer and mellotron on Sins of the Father and Sad Go Round . . . and that is just side one! When the power trio folded, McPhee experimented with a group called Terraplane and then reformed the Groundhogs surprisingly with a second guitarist.

Crosscut Saw and Black Diamond, both 1976, are by no means weak albums and show the effect of having a second guitar - allowing Tony McPhee the freedom to experiment further. Sadly, this band did not get the opportunity to develop beyond the two albums and again the Groundhogs were put on hold.

Live, the band were as tight as on record. Tony McPhee was a telephone engineer and used a homemade radio controlled guitar, which he started playing in the dressing room before he arrived on stage. For all I know, remote controlled instruments could be commonplace these days, but they certainly weren't in the nineteen-seventies. He was completely unpretentious, but his playing was phenomenal.

Razor's Edge, in 1985, showed a glimmer of the earlier fire, but the group did not fully reappear until the resurgence of heavy rock that came with grunge in the early nineties. Groundhog Night is an interesting live album, in that Tony McPhee, as always, reinterprets his own material. The album was the template for the future of The Groundhogs as Tony McPhee continued the band as a live act, periodically releasing live albums with further reinterpretations.

Steve Rye of the original Groundhogs band which recorded Scratching the Surface became a lecturer in geology (I know this, because he was the college lecturer of a friend of mine who went into geology). Rye died in the nineteen-eighties at only 46-years-old. Mick Cook of the Crosscut Saw band, died of cancer in the early nineties. Dave Wellbelove of the same lineup joined the excellent John Miles. Second drummer, Clive Brooks, opened a drum school and went on become Nick Mason's drum technician. Original rhythm section of Ken Pustelnik and Pete Cruickshank joined American guitarist Chaz DePaolo to perform during Tony McPhee's Groundhogs' downtime. In 2009, Tony McPhee suffered a stroke, so at the age of 67, he is probably retired(?)

A good starting place for the newcomer to the Groundhogs is the compilation The Groundhogs' Best 1968 - 1972, however tracks were removed by BGO to fit the album onto a CD - so be careful! Split is also a good starting place because it is their 'greatest hit' album. Solid is the best album and BGO kindly added a bonus track to the CD. If you like the heavy bluesrock of Jimi Hendrix, Cream and Robin Trower you will surely love the Groundhogs . . .
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Old 12-05-2011, 03:09 AM   #46 (permalink)
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Default Re: The "MIGHTY" Groundhogs

A label needs to issue a comprehensive retrospective of the band's career. Probably licensing issues(?).
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Old 12-05-2011, 04:57 AM   #47 (permalink)
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Default Re: The "MIGHTY" Groundhogs

Their albums were released by BGO (Beat Goes On) records on CD. I managed to replace and add to most of my vinyl with CDs, but they were not remastered (although there were some bonuses). I always thought BGO had a fascinating catalogue, with Quickilver Messenger Service, Dave Greenslade, Man, Robin Trower and many others.

Re-issue albums by Groundhogs - BGO Records - The Beat Goes On

The 'classic' albums were originally released on Liberty, an offshoot of United Artists, but Solid was released on WWA which was distributed by Phonogram. I am not certain but Pete Cruikshank and Tony McPhee may have fallen out over this organisation - certainly Pete Cruikshank was unhappy with them. Crosscut Saw was released on Cowbell, representing a return to United Artists, who are now controlled by EMI/Capitol.
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Old 12-05-2011, 08:14 PM   #48 (permalink)
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Default Re: The "MIGHTY" Groundhogs

Originally Posted by joe View Post
A label needs to issue a comprehensive retrospective of the band's career. Probably licensing issues(?).
I forgot to place compilation/anthology after retrospective. A double CD or a box set.

I was able to find most of the band's essential albums either on vinyl or CD with the exception of 'Backs Against The Wall' and most of McPhee's solo material which I have on a digital file/CD-R.
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Old 12-13-2011, 05:28 AM   #49 (permalink)
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Default Re: The "MIGHTY" Groundhogs

I enjoyed the Hogs in Wolf's Clothing clips, joe. I remember seeing the album in HMV when it came out and wondered what it was like.
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Old 02-01-2012, 05:13 PM   #50 (permalink)
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Default Re: The "MIGHTY" Groundhogs


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I saw THE GROUNDHOGS play live twice once in a (long since closed down) pub in north London a stones throw from the old RAINBOW in Finsbury Park in 1988 and a second time around 1990 in another pub in north London in Camden Town called the Dublin castle.

Tony McPhee and the rest of the band were in top form on both occasions!!.
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