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Groundhogs - Hogwash CD (album) cover




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4.02 | 26 ratings

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mystic fred
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "'s going to be about rubbish" - TS

"It is an extraordinarily good record that covers a wide expanse of ideas and sound" "Tony McPhee has really come to terms with both Mellotron and Synthesiser and knows how to use them to dynamic effect" - Melody Maker.

"Hogwash", the follow-up album to "Who Will Save The World" made the same year (1972) was a more experimental affair. As Tony was temporarily limited on the use of the guitar due to a riding accident resulting in a fractured wrist, the Mellotron which was used on the previous album and newly developed synthesisers were brought forward into the band's music with great effect. During a turbulent year drummer Ken Pustelnik left and ex-Egg drummer Clive Brooks was brought in to replace him, adding a new dimension to the band's sound.

"Hogwash" was a different animal to the preceding albums, much publicised and again featuring socio- political and sci-fi song themes, and listing "Astronic Equalisers", "Schaller wah wah's" and "Ring Modulators" into the mix, the Ring Modulator was used to good effect on "The Ringmaster" , some clever word play on "I Love You Miss Ogyny" and on " S'One Song" (Swan Song), and the deeper songs awash with a "sea" of Mellotron on the ecology / sci-fi yarn "Earth Shanty" (the nearest the band came to creating a Prog epic), and the first signs of Tony's abhorrence with hunting "SAD IS The Hunter" (SAD.IS T. ).

As guessed "I Love You Miss Ogyny" contains a lot of contradictory words and statements which Tony enjoyed writing,

"The days that you're gone, I can't stand the silence, The hours that you're here, I can't stand your prescence, The starlight that shone from your eyes in the beginning, now blinds me with hate for you and all women.."

The next song "You Had a Lesson" was a warning about a young person falling in with bad company, the next track the aptly named "The Ringmaster" featured experiments on drum sounds using an electronic device called a Ring Modulator - something which can be found in most easily obtained computer effects programmes or devices nowadays but in 1972 was revolutionary. Alluding to the band's roots "3744 James Road" was the place in Memphis they stayed in during part of their US tour and had grown very fond of. The track features some amazing playing from Tony and remains a live favourite.

"Sixteen hours after leaving my home, three thousand miles to the west. Feeling tired and very alone, need. to take a bath and get refreshed. " "3744 James Road you've been like a home to me, 3744 James Road I'll come back and see you again."

To me "Earth Shanty" remains the album's crowning glory - awash with Mellotrons, Synthesisers and every effect imaginable, it captures a bleak ambience which lends itself perfectly to the song title -

"Skyward fly the Eagles as the Hawks search out their prey, Seaward fly the seagulls.catching fish beneath the spray, For their young amongst the shingle to feed them for the day, Look back on this and linger seeking thoughts of yesterday." "And the Moon. mirror of the Sun, night-light of the World, Drags a blanket of cooling sea across the sand in furls, In the night when the stars provide a reason for Man to strive, He reasons that's the reason He's alive." The album rounds off the mood perfectly with "Mr Hooker, Sir John", a moving acoustic blues tribute to the band's mentor John Lee Hooker.

mystic fred | 4/5 |


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