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Groundhogs - Hogwash CD (album) cover




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4.02 | 26 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Love 'em or hate 'em?

It is unthinkable these days, but back in the early 1970's, bands would often release two (or more) albums in the same year. So it was that in November 1972, The Groundhogs followed up 'Who will save the world...' with this album 'Hogwash'. In the first significant line up change since they were formed, drummer Ken Pustlenik moved on, to be replaced by Clive Brooks, ex of Egg. Meanwhile, Tony McPhee injured his wrist sometime between the two albums, limiting his dexterity on lead guitar. It was therefore in part through necessity that his digression towards keyboards which started on the previous album was taken further on this album through the introduction of synthesisers in addition to mellotron.

The title of the opening 'I love you Miss Ogyny' is a play on words, Misogyny being the hatred of women. Musically, the song is unusually refined for the Groundhogs, a theme which will prevail throughout the album. Indeed the following 'You Had a Lesson' features some superb mellotron sounds alongside slide guitar. The songs are slightly more complex than on earlier albums, but the prog aspects should not be over emphasised here, this is essentially a blues rock album.

The weak point of the album is the short 'Ringmaster' which is just a few ambient sounds over some phased drumming. It is kept brief though, and soon we are into the longest track on the album, the 7+ minute '3744 James Road'. Once again, this is a pretty straightforward upbeat blues number of the style adopted by bands such as Ten Years After and Creedence Clearwater Revival. It plays out in narrative form, the band longing for their home from home in Memphis. McPhee is back to his best on lead guitar here, much of the track being given over to some extended soloing.

'Sad is the hunter' is a rather ordinary song with a prosaic vocal melody, but it does build nicely via the lead guitar towards the end. 'S'One Song' is another of those witty titles, this time playing on a 'Swansong' variation. The song itself is less inspired though, being a shorter pop style ditty for the first part, before changing completely midway and becoming a heavy rock number. 'Earth Shanty' is probably the track which will be of most interest in these parts. The opening mellotron solo set on a back drop of winds blowing is very prog It leads into some appealing acoustic guitar and processed vocals. It's all rather Moody Blues, and by far the best track here.

The album closes with a tribute to the band's mentor John Lee Hooker entitled 'Mr. Hooker, Sir John'. As might be expected, the song takes the band back to their earliest days, being a basic acoustic blues.

In all, a significant improvement on 'Who will save the world..'. Tony McPhee continues with his efforts to diversify the band's sound, while seldom straying too far from their blues roots.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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