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Groundhogs Thank Christ For The Bomb album cover
3.85 | 40 ratings | 2 reviews | 35% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Strange Town...alienness of a community 4.20
2. Darkness Is No Friend...alienness of a small room. 3.48
3. Soldier...alienness of a country. 4.55
4. Thank Christ For The Bomb...alienness... 7.25
5. Ship On The Ocean. 3.27
6. Garden. 5.24
7. Status People. 3.34
8. Rich Man, Poor Man. 3.26
9. Eccentric Man...the story of a man who lived in
Chelsea all his life; first in a mansion then on
the benches of the embankment. 4.56

Line-up / Musicians

Tony McPhee - Vocals / guitar.
Pete Cruikshank - Bass.
Ken Pustelnik - Drums.

Produced by Tony (T.S.)McPhee for Zak Productions.
Recorded during February, 1970 at De Lane Lea Studios, London.
Engineer - Martin Birch.
All compositions written and arranged by Tony (T.S.) McPhee.
Published by United Artists Music Ltd.
Sleeve Design - Clearwater Conception.
Artist - Alan Tanner.

Releases information

LP Liberty LBS 83295 (70)
CD EMI 5848 202 (Digital Remaster 2003)

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GROUNDHOGS Thank Christ For The Bomb ratings distribution

(40 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(35%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

GROUNDHOGS Thank Christ For The Bomb reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by mystic fred
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "I hate the glorification of war. I hate how people were duped into fighting. Not much changed between World War 1 and World War 2 for the soldier." - TS

Intending to create something away from the Blues, manager Roy Fisher, thinking of a concept Tony could work on, came up with the phrase "Thank Christ for the Bomb". At the time the cold war with Russia was still deep in the public psyche, "Ban the Bomb" marches occupied the press, the album title statement was an antedote to all this, saying that the nuclear standoff would stop nuclear wars happening in the future - and here we are 39 years later and still no world war three nuclear holocaust. yet!

Completely divorcing himself from the blues, the album "Thank Christ For The Bomb", released in may 1970, consists of nine tracks; the main theme covers both World Wars beginning with the soldiers in the First World War and ending with the nuclear bomb in the Second, but the sympathies in the message carries through to this day...

"I always felt that through the ages, the broadsword must have been the ultimate weapon at one point, because they could chop people's heads off all over the place, and the crossbow and the longbow - there's always been the ultimate weapon, it's just a question of degree, really. -TS

Side One has the group of four war songs "Strange Town.alienness of a community", which features some solid riffs, fast drumming and meandering swirling guitar solos, the music ebbs and flows from one peak to another. "Darkness Is No Friend.alienness of a small room" a shuffle / boogie rhythm on this song interspersed with punctuated time signatures and changes in tempo. "Soldier.alienness of a country" was the song aired by John Peel which resulted in huge sales of the album - "without him it would have been just another album among many. The album wouldn't have made it, no doubt about it." said Tony on the importance of airplay promotion. The song is full of catchy riffs, interweaving double tracked guitars and bass lines. "Thank Christ For The Bomb..alienness.", the song is in two parts developing from just vocals and acoustic guitar.

"Our fathers fell in thousands for the freedom of the rich and poor, believing as we do today that democracy is the only way"

The song fades to the sound of a procession of soldiers marching across the speakers, and builds frenetically towards a crescendo ultimately climaxing in a huge nuclear BOOOOM..!

The album actually boast two concept pieces which would connect somewhere in the middle - " I realised that every song was about the way that, in a world crammed with people, there are levels of alienation, from individuals living isolated in one room through to communities which cannot accept individual differences and countries that are unable to communicate with each other."

"Soldier, fix your bayonet - before the enemy comes, cos you won't have time - when they start to climb the hill y'know. Soldier - when you see 8,000 - climbin' up the hill, Don't see them as men - just see them as enemies of the king, y' know"

The other songs on alienation are on Side Two - "Ship On The Ocean", "Garden", "Status People", " Rich Man, Poor Man", "Eccentric Man..the story of a man who lived in Chelsea all his life ; first in a mansion then on the benches of the embankment".

The album was recorded at De Lane Lea Studios and engineered by in-house Engineer Martin Birch. Tony remembers. "I wanted to use the three-piece band fully, so I wrote the bass parts as well. I didn't really want the usual root notes. I was writing different chord sequences and I wanted everything whirling about."

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Thank John Peel for the break

"Thank Christ for the bomb" was the album which delivered recognition and album chart success to the Groundhogs for the first time. Having released two decent if unremarkable blues based albums, Tony TS McPhee asserted his de facto position as band leader and guided them in a new, more ambitious direction. The three man line up remained unchanged, with Pete Cruikshank and Ken Pustelnik simply providing bass and drums respectively in support of McPhee's lead guitar and vocals. McPhee also writes all the songs here.

The album's anti-war concept needs no explanation or expansion, the songs covering various 20th Century conflicts and threats. The album came to the attention of noted BBC (UK) DJ the late John Peel, who regularly played the track "Soldier" on his Saturday afternoon show. This was enough to bring the band and the album to the attention of an eager public, who bought the album in sufficient quantities for it to enter the UK top 10 album chart.

The album opens with "Strange Town", a far more complex piece than anything on the first two albums. Still restricted by the basic guitar and vocals backed by bass and drums line up, Tony McPhee manages to diversify the sound well here, primarily though the multi- tracking of various lead guitar sounds and effects. "Darkness is no friend" has something of a boogie feel to it, similar to some of the early work of Wishbone Ash.

As mentioned, "Solider" was the song which single handedly changed the band's fortunes. Significantly, the track features acoustic guitar as well as electric, the result being a much more refined sound than the band have managed up to now. The multi tracking of the various guitar parts was advanced for its time (1970) and the song as a whole has a dynamic to it which makes it stand out from the others on the album.

The 7 minute title track opens with just acoustic guitar and vocals, the lyrics describing in vivid but basic terms the two world wars and subsequent nuclear stalemate. There is something of a folk feel to the early part of the track, until a marching beat introduces a lengthy instrumental section which builds through acoustic then electric guitar towards a chaotic crescendo and bomb blast!

"Ship on the ocean" is the least distinguished of the tracks, although even here the guitar- work is impressive. "Garden" boasts a veritable guitar orchestra, the downbeat vocal sections contrasting superbly with the multi tracked lead guitar flourishes. "Status people" is a simple folkish pop piece.

"Rich man, poor man" is the heaviest of the tracks, the multi-tracked vocals being supported by some rocking lead guitar. Even here though, the song has a semi-acoustic core section and an interesting arrangement. The album closes with "Eccentric man" sub- titled "the story of a man who lived in Chelsea all his life; first in a mansion then on the benches of the embankment". This Allman Brothers like driving blues rock number is also reminiscent of some of Frijid Pink's work.

One of the most impressive aspects of "TCFTB" is the way it demonstrates how a band with limited options in terms of line up can still make an album of considerable diversity. While the focus is naturally on the guitar playing skills of the band leader, the tracks are well crafted and arranged, retaining the interest of the listener throughout. In today's terms, this album will undoubtedly sound somewhat dated, but in many ways that it part of its appeal.

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