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Groundhogs - Solid CD (album) cover




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3.31 | 18 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Solid, but about to Split

Having got his solo album ("Two sides of..") out of his system, Tony McPhee reconvened the Groundhogs in 1974 with an unchanged line up. While two thirds of the trio remained faithful to bass and drums, McPhee continued to enhance his collection of instruments, adding the latest synths, while retaining the services of his trusty guitar collection.

The opening "Light My Light" finds the band in an upbeat mood, the track being based on phased acoustic guitar and a light infectious melody. There are strong similarities with the music of Family here, McPhee doing a good impression of Roger Chapman. The following "Free from all alarm" appears to be exactly the same song again, but with a more sparse acoustic accompaniment.

For the mellotron affectionados, "Sins of the father" has some great phased mellotron. The song itself is a bit messy, it reminded me of Hawkwind's work from around the same time, but somehow it all works. Once again, "Sad go round" seems like an extension of "Sins of the father".

"Corn cob" is a basic blues based affair. While I appreciate blues is where the band started, I had hoped they had moved on from basic fare such as this. "Plea sing, plea song" was clearly written as a single, and indeed was released as one (with a non-album B- side). The rather indistinct main melody was probably the reason it failed to trouble the singles chart. "Snow storm" finds McPhee sounding like the great Raymond Froggatt, his gruff tones being supported by some further fine mellotron sounds. At just short of 9 minutes, the closing "Joker's Grave" is the longest track on the album. McPhee continues with his rough, indistinct vocals on this heavy dirge which jumps around between styles and sounds without ever being convincing.

In all, an album which is not without its appeal, but which suffers from muddled production and poor arrangements. "Solid" could have been much better.

At the time, this appeared to be the Groundhogs final album, the band breaking up shortly after it was released. The reality is though that Tony McPhee was the Groundhogs, and he soon reformed himself with alternative backing musicians.

The remastered version has one short bonus track, "Over blue", but it will be of interest to collectors only.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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