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BLACK DIAMOND

Groundhogs

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Groundhogs Black Diamond album cover
3.68 | 12 ratings | 1 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1 Body Talk 4:50
2 Fantasy Partner 5:13
3 Live Right 3:44
4 Country Blues 4:17
5 Your Love Keeps Me Alive 4:51
6 Friendzy 5:28
7 Pastoral Future 3:09
8 Black Diamond 5:55

Line-up / Musicians

Tony McPhee - guitar, vocals
Rick Adams - guitar
Dave Wellbelove - guitar
Martin Kent - bass
Mick Cook - drums

Releases information

Vinyl LP United Artists UA-LA680-G

Thanks to alberto muņoz for the addition
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GROUNDHOGS Black Diamond ratings distribution


3.68
(12 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(0%)
0%
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(25%)
25%
Good, but non-essential (67%)
67%
Collectors/fans only (8%)
8%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

GROUNDHOGS Black Diamond reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sagichim
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is the 10th album by the legendary blues rock band Groundhogs, released in october 1976. While the band became moderately familiar in rock circles at the early 70's thanks to albums such as Split, Thank Christ For The Bomb and Hogwash, they never really managed to break through that glass ceiling. I believe this has to do a lot with the band lacking a charismatic singer, although I do enjoy Tony Mcphee's unmelodic and dry vocals which I always thought was a rougher version of Mark Knopfler, he wasn't exactly FM material to say the least. More over their sound had always been a bit muddy and rough around the edges for it to be accessible. Unfortunately the mid 70's brought even less interest in the band, 1976 was the year of their last recordings until they came back in 1985, they've released two albums, Black Diamond and Crosscut Saw before calling it quits. That was a real shame since those albums saw them take an even more mature, adventurous approach and a fresh new sound. In the early 70's their style was rooted heavily in blues rock, but after a while the band gradually began spicing things up with a mild psychedelic hazy kind of rock. Mcphee's guitar sound also started to change and by the mid 70's became monstrous, adding more sound effects and a brighter tone. The line up is pretty much the same as in previous Crosscut Saw, except for Rick Adams replacing Dave Wellbelove on guitar, again I'm not sure why Mcphee felt the need to include another guitarist. Like previous album, Groundhogs updated production is far superior to their early 70's albums, I must admit with Martin Kent and Mick Cook on bass and drums the band sounds tighter than before, they are doing a great job throughout the album.

From the first notes of the jubilant opener Body Talk you know you're into something bigger, Cook's drums are in your face, and the balance between everyone is just perfect. Mcphee's guitar is more present than before, he uses more layers to enrich the sound, and it does sound fuller unlike previous albums on which the guitar parts were a bit more modest like it is customary in old blues records. I love what he's done with the effects, I don't know what he's using but his spine tingling guitars sounds brighter and fresher but also raw and fuzzy like a steamroller chasing you. While the band never tried to go for prog rock at all, this might appeal to fans since the arrangements while still confined in basic structures are still interesting on their own. The songwriting is really good, his updated mix of blues and rocky guitars has come to perfection here, all songs are propelled by a strong riff or idea and perfectly executed. Tony of course is the main man here especially when he lets loose and goes out on his killer solo parts. The super groovy Live Right, Country Blues, Body Talk, well everything actually has some kind of a wild exhilarating twisted solo.

As I mentioned before their material has a more rocky approach, their blues influences are toned down a bit, it is always there to some extent and in some cases are more evident. Check out Fantasy Partner which is one of the best songs on the album, with its infectious groovy blues lead, Tony's vocals are great as well especially in that beautiful chorus. There are all kinds of different guitar parts flying around boasting with distortion backed up with a synthesizer for a good measure, great piece. Friendzy enjoys a shift of gears in the middle and goes into another boogy blues tinged riff which slides into the beautiful short instrumental of Pastoral Future, fantastic really. The closing piece Black Diamond sums up the album nicely with Tony sounding as most melodic as he can get, the song of course wouldn't be perfect without another mesmerizing solo.

So this is a different Groundhogs album if you're looking to try something fresh from the band, it is a personal favorite of mine although other albums are just as good as this one. I'd say It's a good album to start with and definitely worth your while if you're already a fan. Rounded up a bit to a well deserved 4 stars.

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