Greatest Albums Of The 70s: 80
Split – The Groundhogs (Liberty, 1971)
Grungy, aggressive and profoundly inventive, Groundhogs’ fourth album saw the increasingly smooth path the British blues pack was taking in the early 70s and ran in the opposite direction.
In doing so, it helped reinvent bandleader/guitarist Tony McPhee as one of the most radical and experimental musicians around.
Lincolnshire-born McPhee was a one-time telephone engineer who exercised his fascination with technology by modifying his gear and drilling into every guitar that he owned. After meeting singer/harp player John Cruickshank at the GPO, he joined his South London blues band the Dollar Bills in 1963. Newly rechristened The Groundhogs, after a John Lee Hooker song, they became a backing-band-for-hire, playing with Little Walter, Champion Jack Dupree and Hooker himself.