Groundhogs- Best of

The Groundhogs were an English Blues power trio from the early '70's on, who unfortunatly never made much of an impact in the states. Named after John Lee Hooker's tune "Groundhog Blues" leader T.S. Mcphee was backing Hooker during the Detroit bluesman's early '60's UK tours. After a brief foray into psychedelia with a group called Herbal Mixture, Mcphee realized where his strengths lay and put together The Groundhogs. What makes these guys so great is Mcphee's guitar playing. He can play mellow yet totally engaging finger picking or slide meloncholy bliss and then change gears into heavy heavy blooze jams that are not lunkhead. See, Tony was a very intelligent thoughtful player who really got to the heart of the blues and then put his own subtle stamp on it without being crass or ireverant. He also played sans a pick but don't come looking for some uptite Dire Straights trip!!! As the '70's progressed the 'Hogs hit their stride with "Blues Obituary","Thank Christ For The Bomb", "Split" (which has their best known jam "Cherry Red", 4 minutes of pure choppy guitar and a high-pitched vocal chorus that makes me smile), and "Who Will Save The World?" This import best of has many key tracks including all four parts of the side-long suite "Split pts 1-4" (from "Split, natch) which is a musical and vocal description of an apparant nervous breakdown Tony suffered around this time. Some of the best wammy strat damage post Hendrix I've heard! Scary groans and dive bomb audio shrapnel. The Groundhogs are still an institution in the UK where Mcphee still plays out. If you like pure unpretentious emotion and some guitar pyrotechnics, do check this!!!

posted by nick on 1:13 PM

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