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Groundhogs - Solid (1974)

Discussion in 'Album Reviews' started by joe, Aug 28, 2011.

  1. joe

    joe Senior Member

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    [​IMG]

    Solid - Groundhogs

    1974 - WWA(UK) LP
    1993 - Repertoire(Germany) CD
    2001 - Talking Elephant(UK) CD
    2005 - Akarma(Italy) CD

    1. Light My Light
    2. Free From All Alarm
    3. Sins Of The Father
    4. Sad Go Round
    5. Corn Cob
    6. Plea Sing, Plea Song
    7. Snow Storm
    8. Joker's Grave

    - Tony T.S. "The 'Hog" McPhee / vocals, guitars, Mellotron, synthesizer
    - Pete Cruickshank / bass
    - Ken Pustelnik / drums

    The 'Hogs pour out the pig iron. Hoofed-heavy, filthy, gluttonous and gloomy, so smeltering sloopy. Solid snorts out the eccentric, existential despair and the schizo side of the "The Hog" (Tony McPhee).

    Just coming off his solo album, 'The Two Sides Of Tony (T.S.) McPhee' (1973), with his experimentation of the latest electronics on the side long track, "The Hunt", is a real shift from the bluesed psyched, guitar swilling so synonymous with the Groundhogs and showcases McPhee's talents on the synthesizers and Mellotron. McPhee would take his twisted taste of technical trickery and snarl it with it his sonic, time signature shifting guitar style that would be Solid.

    Bringing back his rhythm section from Hogwash, drummer Clive Brooks and long time bassist, Pete Cruickshanks and recording in his home studio, this is all about "The Hog" and his new toys of a Melltron and the latest synthesizer of the day, with a ring modulator, phasers, wah wahs and even on some of the tracks sending his gruff vocals through a vocoder with muddled effects, at times being messy, a sound I'm sure he searched out.

    Three tracks, "Light My Light", "Sins Of The Father" and "Snow Storm" with the use of a Mellotron morbidly magnifies the melancholy, manic-depressive lyrical content and shadely blends with the bog bottom blues-rock and the progressive , stabbing sig shifts. Three outstanding tracks that would become a mainstay in the 'Hog's live perfirmances for the next two and half decades.

    "Free From All Alarm" opens up acoustically with the bottleneck, but McPhee can't control his temptation of engaging electrically halfway through the track. Too bad, the tune has a great greasy groove. "Gosh darn it Tony, let those strings slide and sing". (Fans of the slide guitar should check out his solo recording from 1973, 'Slide T.S. Slide'.

    "Corn Cob" is the bacon of The 'Hogs. Barbequed blues-rock.

    "Plea Sing, Plea Song". Plea no.

    "Hello da'ere" opens up "Joker's Grave" as it captures the capricious center of Tony McPhee's eccentricity. Synthesized silliness. Erratic and really no purpose, waivering and inconsistent. Nine and half minutes of needless noodling.

    'Solid' isn't up to snuff as thier conceptual trilogy, 'Thank Christ For The Bomb', 'Split' and 'Who'll Save The World? The Mighty Groundhogs! and has the same qualities and irregularities of 'Hogwash'.

    The Groundhogs disbanded after this release but McPhee put together a new line up two years later and released two albums, both from 1976, 'Black Diamond' and 'Crosscut Saw'. The 'Hogs didn't sell out to the "mainstream" as did so many of thier contemporaries did from the heyday of proto-metal did, however they were also put out to pasture in the late '70's by the emergence of punk and yes, that awful thing called disco.

    Note: August 2011. Just released, a live album from the tour that followed the release of 'Solid' in 1974 containing, "Light My Light", "Free From All Alarm" and "Sins Of The Father/Sad Go Round" from 'Solid'. "Dog Me Bitch" from the solo album, "The Two Sides Of Tony (T.S.) McPhee" and "Soldier" from, "Thank Christ For The Bomb". All these tracks have been released in part on other compilations or as bonus tracks but never together as recorded on May 23rd., 1974.

    [​IMG]



     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011
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  2. DaKillerWolf

    DaKillerWolf Cosmic Time Warp Warrior

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    Re: Solid - Groundhogs

    Nice write up ,Joe. I like the first track but will have to get back to the rest as I am having connection problems ...songs are cutting out :mad
     
  3. Sox

    Sox Avoiding The Swan Song

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    Re: Solid - Groundhogs

    Great write up Joe, a tidy album that seems to always get good reviews, for me it sounds fresh and if it has dated it has done so really well, quality.
     
  4. LG

    LG Fade To Black

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    Re: Solid - Groundhogs

    Another classic "Joe" write up. It's because of your efforts/expertise I now have 3 Groundhog albums...well I think it's 3 I'll have to check and see if this one is in the collection.

    On the house...:hab:

    :D
     
  5. Magic

    Magic Woman of the World

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    Re: Solid - Groundhogs

    I like this album. Nice write up joe !


    I would have to say the song off this album that tickles my ears with it's "swamp-like" boogie would have to be:


    Joker's Grave




    Needless noodling, maybe, but it has something in the groove that I like :)
     
  6. joe

    joe Senior Member

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    Re: Solid - Groundhogs

    [​IMG]
     
  7. DaKillerWolf

    DaKillerWolf Cosmic Time Warp Warrior

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    Re: Solid - Groundhogs

    I just ordered this..I also like the needless noodling song , Magic :D
     

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