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There was a time in the early seventies when it seemed as if The Groundhogs would finally be big. They had three top ten albums in the first half of the seventies and Split had made #5.
But it was to be a false dream. This was as good as it got. In truth they were always too hard, too raw for mass commercialism and by the second half of the decade their days as a chart band were over.
Crosscut Saw and Black Diamond, both released in 1976, failed to chart but were similar to the records which had done well. But times and tastes had moved on. People who liked rock wanted more AOR flavours rather than raw blues which was the Hogs stock in trade.
But those three albums, Thank Christ for the Bomb, Who Will Save The World and Split are well worth exploring. It’s not easy listening. But it is some of the best of British hard rock. Checkout Cherry Red from Split.
They were led by T.S.McPhee and had formed back in 63. Releasing their debut Scratching The Surface in 1968 you couldn’t accuse them of not putting the work in. They seemed perpetually on tour, forever on festival bills. Tony was a dynamic player and as a power trio they burned up many stages. Their music was a winning combo of shortish blues rock and longer more psychedelic workouts.
Fame was to escape them, but Tony continued on to walk a blues road until his death in June 2023.
The band’s peak form saw them influence many with their raw blues and psychedelia. Always more interesting than a standard ‘my baby done me wrong’ blues outfit, they are long forgotten, but have much to recommend them.
Hogwash features an early guitar synth. Tony’s solo albums also have a lot going for them.