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Groundhogs - Hogs in Wolf's Clothing CD (album) cover




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3.11 | 9 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Still got the blues

The history of the Groundhogs after their (relative) glory days of the 1970's is not well documented, nor indeed is their discography. Already confirmed as Tony McPhee plus a transient drummer and bass line up, they went from being a guitar blues band through an ever expanding keyboards based prog-ish band, and back again.

McPhee gradually lost interest in recording in the studio, preferring to restrict Groundhogs activity to the stage. The last album of original material appeared in the late 1980's, although various live albums have appeared since then. In 1998 however, McPhee did return to the studio to pay tribute to some of his influences. The title of the album is a reference to Howlin' Wolf, one of a handful of blues legends whose work is interpreted here, others including Chester Burnett and Willie Dixon.

McPhee naturally strips things back again, restricting himself to guitar and vocals, devoid of keyboards. The songs are given McPhee's branding, while remaining melodically, reasonably faithful to the originals. Many, such as "Shake for me" are invigorated substantially, McPhee's fine lead guitar elevating them from straight blues to guitar rock toe-tappers. A personal favourite is "Forty four", which really gets down and dirty, the underlying guitar riff making things decidedly heavy.

By definition, there is nothing new or original here, although it is always a pleasure to hear Tony's take on the music he loves. This is really a rites of passage affair, but an enjoyable listen to boot.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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