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Groundhogs The Two Sides of Tony (T.S) McPhee album cover
3.61 | 12 ratings | 3 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Three Times Seven (3:13)
2. All My Money Alimony (3:00)
3. Morning's Eyes (4:48)
4. Dog Me, Bitch (2:48)
5. Take It Out (5:23)
6. The Hunt (19:08)

Total Time 38:20

Line-up / Musicians

- Tony (T.S.) McPhee / two ARP 2600 synthesizers, electric piano, Rhythm Ace drum synthesizer, acoustic & electric guitars

Releases information

LP WWA001 (1973)
CD Castle CLA267 (1994)

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GROUNDHOGS The Two Sides of Tony (T.S) McPhee ratings distribution

(12 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (50%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

GROUNDHOGS The Two Sides of Tony (T.S) McPhee reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by mystic fred
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "McPHEE QUITS GROUNDHOGS" - Sounds 1973 " I feel that I have something valid to say outside the framework of the Groundhogs and I want to get it out of my system.." -TS

During Tony's dalliances with Synthesisers and Mellotrons he became a master of the keyboards, creating his own home studio in Haverhill, Suffolk and producing his first solo album "Two Sides of Tony McPhee", a very personal work particularly concentrating on the subject of fox hunting - this vile practice was always abhorrent to Tony and indeed to most of us, and the cruel nature of the course of a day's fox hunt is reflected in the whole of side two using electronic synthesisers entitled "The Hunt".

Synthesisers are used to good effect simulating the chase , the animal's last dying moments and the baying of the advancing hounds and is a very progressive and involving piece.

Though many new listeners today may find the sounds on "The Hunt" dated and somewhat primitive, remember the use of Synthesisers was in its early development in 1973 and few pioneers had had any success with it, but here the sheer emotions within the piece are revealed..

"Yelping hounds pack to form a Gorgon's head of gyrating tails ready to turn a Stag's heart to stone at a single glance. Each dog has a pedigree that would fill a ream of paper as have their masters boasting generations of good breeding. Family trees with branches laden with the names of past landed gentry, their greatest contribution to the land being when they fall in their Autumn years, providing the earth with the same humus as their mongrel serfs."

The musical passages are interspersed with artificial yelps, howls and hunting horns, creating an atmosphere of sinister cruelty which culminates in a reflection of man's inhumanity to his fellow creatures.

"It makes me feel so sad, then again it drives me mad to realise the state of people's minds. Life is a frail thing but not a rich man's plaything, how far has he come from the days of ice. It's true the world is hard, death is always the final card in the game and no-one gets another deal. So shun the ace of spades, take your hand and only raise in the pursuit of life and not ....of death. "

The practice of hunting "game" in England was abolished recently but hunts still prevail in many areas of the UK without interference from the law. but from a growing band of hunt saboteurs.

The "Other" side of Tony T.S. McPhee is pure blues.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Split

In the time between the Groundhogs albums "Hogwash" and "Solid", Tony McPhee decided to create a genuinely solo album. Quite why he felt the need to do this is not abundantly clear, his role in the band being the only one outside the rhythm section.

However, the album fits in well in the Groundhogs discography, offering two distinct sides of their music, i.e. the blues on which they were founded and the later electronic sounds which became increasingly relevant to their style.

The five tracks which occupy side one of the LP are short acoustic affairs, featuring only McPhee and acoustic guitars. The style is blues/folk with a southern, swampy drawl. We do not get the standard blues song structure, the tracks generally being more upbeat, but the influences are clear. Fans of the Groundhogs are probably best advised to steer clear of these songs, even the straight blues of the first album "Scratching the surface" was more exciting than this. McPhee's performances are of course beyond reproach, but this is dull stuff.

Side two is a completely different kettle of fish. Here McPhee vents his anger at the peculiar British sport of fox-hunting. He does so via one of his closest ventures to prog, a 19 minute synthesiser and mellotron based side filler. The track takes us through the stages of a hunt, with intermittent narration telling us what is going on. The narrations act as links between the improvisations, each of which can be seen as a separate sub-track or section. With electronic rhythms as the only percussion, the overall effect is not unlike the experiments of Krafwerk and Tangerine Dream, a little clumsy perhaps but in its day this would have sounded quite novel.

Overall, this is probably one of the most divided albums ever. On the one hand we have rambling acoustic blues, on the other pioneering electronic prog.

Review by Progfan97402
4 stars There are two albums from 1973 with "Two Sides" in its title. One from Peter Banks, the other of Tony McPhee of Groundhogs fame. With the Peter Banks album it consists of one side of compositions and the other sides of jams with side one considered the superior side. With that album the flaws were obvious as he was being rushed to get his solo album out exactly the same time as the final Flash album Out of Our Hands. Now with Two Sides of Tony (T.S,) McPhee the two sides are even more striking. Side one consists of unaccompanied largely acoustic blues pieces with just vocal and guitar. This type isn't actually too shocking given this type of approach did find their way occasionally on Groundhogs albums. Side two consist of the side-length "The Hunt" and is simply amazing. Tony McPhee was clearly not just another white British blues guy, here's it's full-on electronic music utilizing the ARP 2600 (which isn't what you see in the insert with those awful mess of wires, it's simply an awful mess of wires attached to some other electronic equipment, the ARP 2600 interior is actually rather clean and clutter-free). Lots of spoken dialog criticizing fox hunting as practiced by the English aristocracy. His anti-establishment views was likely the big reason the Groundhogs appealed to John Peel. Anyways, it's hard to believe that a white British bluesman created such creative and innovative use of the ARP 2600 like you do here. It does sound a bit dated, but it's an amazing piece and those into progressive electronic, "The Hunt" is a must hear. Strangely the blues-influence can still be felt, especially during the sung parts. McPhee was already experimenting with the ARP 2600 on Hogwash, but was kept strictly in a band context. Without a band, he lets the ARP run loose on "The Hunt". This album all comes down to taste. If you like the acoustic blues side of the Groundhogs then you should have no trouble with side one. So even more so than Two Sides of Peter Banks, Two Sides of Tony (T.S.) McPhee shows a striking contrast between the sides. "The Hunt" is truly something that would be totally out of place on a Groundhogs album. So glad it was released and that I now own a copy.

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