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Groundhogs - Solid CD (album) cover




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3.31 | 18 ratings

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4 stars 7/10

The 'Hogs pour out the pig iron. Hoofed-heavy, filthy, gluttonous and gloomy, so smeltering sloopy. Solid snorts out the eccentric, exitensial despair and the schizo side of "The 'Hog" (Tony McPhee).

Just coming off his solo album from 1973, 'The Two Sides Of Tony (T.S.) McPhee', with his experimentations of the latest electronics on the side long track, "The Hunt", is a real shift from the bluesed psych, guitar swilling so synonymous with the Groundhogs and showcases McPhee's talents on the Mellotron, synthesizers and other electro-gadgets. McPhee would take his twisted taste of technical trickery and snarl it with his sonic, shifting guitar style that would be 'Solid'.

Bringing back his rhythm section from 'Hogwash', drummer Clive Brooks and long time bassist, Pete Cruickshanks and recording in his home studio, this all about Tony (Tough Shit) McPhee and his new toys of a Mellotron and the latest synthesizer with a ring modulator, phasers and wah-wahs and even on some tracks sending his gruff vocals through a vocoder with muddled effects, at times being calculated messy.

The Mellotron morbidly magnifies the melancholy, manic-depressive lyrical content and shadely blends the bog bottom blues and the progressive, stabbing sig shifts with three of the best tracks off the album, "Light My Light", "Sins Of The Father" and "Snowstorm". These three songs would be a mainstay in the 'Hogs' live performances for the next two and half decades.

"Free From All Alarm" opens up acoustically, but McPhee can't make it without engaging electrification half way through the track. Too bad, the first part of this tune has a great greasy groove of swampy country gliding over boogie. "Gosh darn it Tony! Let the strings slide and sing".

"Corn Cob" is the bacon of the Groundhogs. Barbequed blues rock.

"Plea Sing, Plea Song". Please no.

"Hello da'ere" as McPhee welcomes us to "Joker's Grave" as it captures his capricious center of his personality. An eccentric showcase of synthesized and erratic noodling. Too many effects and an overload on the circuitry (the brain).

'Solid' isn't up to snuff as their conceptual trilogy, 'Thank Christ Of The Bomb', 'Who'll Save The World? The Mighty Groundhogs!' and 'Split' and has the qualities and irregularities of 'Hogwash'.

The Groundhogs disbanded after this release but McPhee put together a new lineup two years later and released two albums in 1976, 'Black Diamond' and 'Crosscut Saw'. The 'Hogs didn't "sell out" to the "mainstream" as so many of thier contemparies from the "heyday" of hard blues rock/proto-metal did, however they were also put out to pasture by the emergence of punk and disco.

August, 2011 saw the release of a live album titled, 'Solid Live'. A live album from the tour that followed the release of 'Solid' containing, "Light My Light", "Free From All Alarm" and "Sins Of The Father/Sad Go Round" from 'Solid'. "Dog Me Bitch" from McPhee's solo album, 'The Two Sides Tony (T.S.) McPhee' and "Soldier" from 'Thank Christ For The Bomb'. All these tracks were released in part on other live albums compilations or as bonus tracks but never together as recorded on May 23rd., 1974.

cannon | 4/5 |


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