Sunday, March 24, 2019

Groundhogs - The United Artists Years (1972-76 uk, exceptional hard prog space blues rock, 2013 three discs remaster)



Wasting no time at all, The Groundhogs released Hogwash in late 1972. Sticking to their new progressive blues template, they produced another good album in a similar vein to its predecessor, although I detect slightly more jamming, possibly to fill a quickly-recorded follow-up. On the 'Tron front, You Had A Lesson has some nice string chords, double-tracked with brass at one point, but the album's other Mellotronic track is most certainly its highlight. Earth Shanty opens with wave sounds from McPhee's ARP 2600, before a strong 'Tron strings part, lasting some time, leads into the main part of the track. Further along, a cello line underpins the acoustic guitar, and some brass chords ride over the top. Excellent.

Crosscut Saw is the album wherein T.S. McPhee launches you into the universe.Beautiful, powerful guitar work that grasps the mind and bends the consciousness.In an era of Jean Luc Ponte's Moog violin work and Pink Floyd's lazy psychedelia, Mr. McPhee gives muscle to an otherwise too-sweet genre.Bravo for voicing the masculine male's malaise in that last gasp of white boy angst fueled by too much speed, acid, smoke and wine!

Crosscut Saw / Black Diamond were McPhee's final run with his synthi-hifli guitar synth - he took it farther than anyone ! -his over the top guitar work on crosscut saw can acutally scare people - 3 way split, promiscuity and fulfillment are some of the most dynamic in your face guitar you'll ever hear. Black Diamond actually  contains better material but isn't quite as aggressive as Crosscut Saw - friendzy, fantasy partner, live right , Black Diamond are all exceptional tunes - not a bad one on the album - this is probably McPhee's most under-rated LP.
Tracks
Disc 1
Hogwash 1972
1. I Love Miss Ogyny - 5:25 
2. You Had A Lesson - 5:53
3. The Ringmaster - 1:23
4. 3744 James Road - 7:18 
5. Sad Is The Hunter - 5:19
6. S'one Song - 3:34
7. Earth Shanty - 6:51
8. Mr. Hooker, Sir John - 3:34
BBC In Concert 1972
9. Split I - 6:20 
10.I Love Miss Ogyny - 7:00 
11.You Had A Lesson - 7:37
12.Earth Shanty - 11:15
13.3744 James Road - 8:14  
All songs by Tony McPhee
Disc 2
BBC In Concert 1972
1. Sad Is The Hunter - 4:45 
2. Split II - 6:21 
3. Split IV - 4:48 
4. Cherry Red - 5:44 
BBC In Concert 1974
5. Ship On The Ocean - 4:18 
6. I Love Miss Ogony - 5:44 
7. Split I - 7:26
8. Soldier - 14:52 
9. Split II - 8:22 
Single 7" 1976
10.Live A Little Lady - 4:59
All songs by Tony McPhee
Disc 3
Crosscut Saw 1975
1. Crosscut Saw - 3:44
2. Promiscuity - 5:43
3. Boogie Withus - 3:53
4. Fulfilment - 7:32
5. Live A Little Lady - 6:06
6. Three Way Split - 4:56
7. Mean Mistreater - 2:33
8. Eleventh Hour - 6:43
Black Diamond 1976
9. Body Talk - 4:53
10.Fantasy Partner - 5:13
11.Live Right - 3:46
12.Country Blues - 4:19
13.Your Love Keeps Me Alive - 4:49
14.Friendzy - 5:28
15.Pastoral Future - 3:11
16.Black Diamond - 5:55
All songs by Tony McPhee

The Groundhogs
*Tony McPhee - Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals
*Peter Cruikshank - Bass (on Hogwash and both BBC In Concert)
*Clive Brooks - Drums (on Hogwash and both BBC In Concert)
*Mike Cook - Drums (on Crosscut Saw and Black Diamond)
*Martin Kent - Guitar (on Crosscut Saw), Bass (on Black Diamond)
*Dave Wellbelove - Bass (on Crosscut Saw)

1968-72  Groundhogs - Thank Christ For The Groundhogs The Liberty Years (2010 three disc set remaster)
1971  Groundhogs - Live At Leeds (2002 reissue)

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