The Groundhogs

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The Groundhogs
McPhee with The Groundhogs, London, September 1991
McPhee with The Groundhogs, London, September 1991
Background information
OriginEngland
Genres
Years active1963–present
LabelsFire
Liberty
United Artists
MembersTony McPhee
Dave Anderson
Joanna Deacon
Carl Stokes

The Groundhogs are an English rock band founded in late 1963, that toured extensively in the 1960s, achieved prominence in the early 1970s and continued sporadically into the 21st century. Tony McPhee (guitar and vocals) is the sole constant member of the group, which has gone through many personnel changes but usually records and performs as a power trio.

Career[edit]

The band was originally formed as The Dollar Bills in New Cross, London in 1962 by brothers Pete and John Cruickshank (born in 1943 and 1945 respectively[1] in Calcutta, West Bengal, India). Tony McPhee (born 22 March 1944), the lead guitarist in an instrumental group called the Seneschals, joined the group later that same year. McPhee steered them towards the blues and renamed them after a John Lee Hooker song, "Groundhog's Blues".[2]

John Cruickshank suggested they became John Lee's Groundhogs when they backed John Lee Hooker on his 1964 UK tour:[2] they later supplemented Little Walter, Jimmy Reed and Champion Jack Dupree when they toured the UK. McPhee featured on Dupree's From New Orleans to Chicago (1966) alongside Eric Clapton. The Groundhogs issued "Shake It" b/w "Rock Me" on the Interphon record label in January 1965.[2]

Their line-up on their first album, Scratchin' the Surface, (produced by the 19-year-old Head Of A&R for Liberty Records, Mike Batt) released in November 1968,[1] consisted of McPhee as singer and guitarist; bassist Peter Cruickshank (born 2 July 1945,[1] in Calcutta), Ken Pustelnik on drums (born 13 March 1946 on a farm near Blairgowrie, Angus, Scotland) and Steve Rye on harmonica (born 8 March 1946 in London – died 19 July 1992, in London).[2] In 1969, the single "B.D.D." (Blind Deaf Dumb), taken from Blues Obituary, flopped in the UK but hit number one in Lebanon.[1]

The group's next four album releases Blues Obituary (September 1969); Thank Christ for the Bomb (May 1970); Split (March 1971); and Who Will Save the World? The Mighty Groundhogs (March 1972) were recorded as a trio without Rye,[2]; all but Blues Obituary reached the Top 10 in the UK Albums Chart.[3] Split reached number 5, spending 27 weeks in the UK Albums Chart and achieved gold record status, while a single release from the album, "Cherry Red", was featured on BBC Television's Top of the Pops programme on 15 April 1971.[1]

They supported The Rolling Stones on their 1971 British tour at the request of Mick Jagger and released an album of their live set on the Stones tour, recorded at Leeds University and called Live at Leeds. All these albums and live shows were performed by the classic power trio of Cruickshank, McPhee and Pustelnik.[2] Ken Pustelnik left in 1972 and Clive Brooks from the band Egg joined on drums for Hogwash released in November 1972. 1974's album Solid saw a last return to the charts.[1]

After breaking up in 1974, they returned in 1975 with a different line-up. Two albums, Crosscut Saw and Black Diamond, were released in 1976.[2] At times in the 1990s, McPhee alternated two line-ups. After years of performing and recording for a loyal following, original manager Roy Fisher put together a short-lived 'original line-up' to celebrate their fortieth anniversary. McPhee left the band again to pursue an acoustic career, leaving Cruickshank and Pustelnik to continue, subsequently forming 'The Groundhogs Rhythm Section' with invited frontmen, latterly with Eddie Martin, while McPhee embarked on a major tour in 2004 with Edgar Winter and Alvin Lee and issued an acoustic blues album Blues at Ten.

McPhee put together a new band in 2007, with long-time Groundhogs bassist Dave Anderson (ex-Hawkwind) and Marco Anderson on drums. This trio toured the UK in 2008 with Focus and Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash. The 2009 line-up of Tony McPhee's Groundhogs comprised McPhee, Anderson and previous long-term drummer Mick Jones. The Groundhogs Rhythm Section's latest recruits, Bob Bowles (guitar, vocals) and Jon Buckett (guitars, keyboards, vocals), joined Ken Pustelnik and Pete Cruickshank in February 2011.[4] As of 2011, the new Groundhogs' lineup consisted of McPhee, Anderson, Joanna Deacon (vocals), and Carl Stokes (drums) from the death rock band 'Cancer'.[5] Due to McPhee's ongoing health issues relating to a stroke in 2009, Tony McPhee & The Groundhogs retired in January 2014; although Tony McPhee and Carl Stokes have since worked with David Tibet's Current 93.

Music[edit]

The Groundhogs initially formed as a blues band,[6][7] but subsequently began incorporating elements of psychedelic,[8] progressive music[7] and space rock[8] into their sound. This style has been classified as blues rock,[7][9][10][11] acid rock,[12] hard rock,[6] psychedelic blues[13] and progressive rock.[8]

Personnel[edit]

Members[edit]

Current members
  • Joanna Deacon – vocals (2001–2003, 2011–present)
  • Tony McPhee – guitars, vocals (1963–1974, 1976, 1982–2004, 2007–present)
  • Dave Anderson – bass (1987–1988, 2001–2003, 2007–present)
  • Carl Stokes – drums (2011–present)
Former members

Lineups[edit]

1963–1964 1964–1965 1965 1965–1969
  • John Cruickshank – harmonica, vocals
  • Tony McPhee – guitars, vocals
  • Bob Hall – keyboards
  • Peter Cruickshank – bass
  • Dave Boorman – drums
  • Tony McPhee – guitars, vocals
  • Bob Hall – keyboards
  • Peter Cruickshank – bass
  • Dave Boorman – drums
  • Tony McPhee – guitars, vocals
  • Tom Parker – keyboards
  • Peter Cruickshank – bass
  • Ken Pustelnik – drums
  • Tony McPhee – guitars, vocals
  • Peter Cruickshank – bass
  • Ken Pustelnik – drums
1969 1969–1972 1972 1972–1974
  • Tony McPhee – guitars, vocals
  • Steve Rye – harmonica
  • Peter Cruickshank – bass
  • Ken Pustelnik – drums
  • Tony McPhee – guitars, vocals
  • Peter Cruickshank – bass
  • Ken Pustelnik – drums
  • Tony McPhee – guitars, vocals
  • Peter Cruickshank – bass
  • Dave Thompson – bass
  • Clive Brooks – drums
  • Tony McPhee – guitars, vocals
  • Peter Cruickshank – bass
  • Clive Brooks – drums
1974–1976 1976 1976 1976–1982

Disbanded

  • Tony McPhee – guitars, vocals
  • Dave Wellbelove – guitars
  • Martin Kent – bass
  • Mick Cook – drums
  • Tony McPhee – guitars, vocals
  • Rick Adams – guitars
  • Martin Kent – bass
  • Mick Cook – drums

Disbanded

1982–1983 1983–1984 1984–1987 1987–1988
  • Tony McPhee – guitars, vocals
  • "Mighty" Joe Young – guitars
  • Alan Fish – bass
  • Wilgar Campbell – drums
  • Tony McPhee – guitars, vocals
  • Alan Fish – bass
  • Wilgar Campbell – drums
  • Tony McPhee – guitars, vocals
  • Alan Fish – bass
  • Mick Kirkton – drums
  • Tony McPhee – guitars, vocals
  • Alan Fish – bass
  • Dave Anderson – bass
  • Mick Kirkton – drums
1988–1989 1989 1989–1994 1994–1996
  • Tony McPhee – guitars, vocals
  • Alan Fish – bass
  • Mick Kirkton – drums
  • Tony McPhee – guitars, vocals
  • Alan Fish – bass
  • Jon Camp – bass
  • Mick Jones – drums
  • Chris Bennett – drums
  • Tony McPhee – guitars, vocals
  • Alan Fish – bass
  • Mick Jones – drums
  • Tony McPhee – guitars, vocals
  • Eric Chipulina – bass, live guitars
  • Pete Correa – drums
1996 1996–2000 2000–2001 2001
  • Tony McPhee – guitars, vocals
  • Pete Chymon – bass
  • Dale Iviss – drums
  • Tony McPhee – guitars, vocals
  • Eric Chipulina – bass, live guitars
  • Pete Correa – drums
  • Tony McPhee – guitars, vocals
  • Brian Jones – bass
  • Mick Jones – drums
  • Tony McPhee – guitars, vocals
  • Mick Jones – drums
  • Jon Camp – bass
2001–2003 2003–2004 2004–2007 2007–2009
  • Joanna Deacon – vocals
  • Tony McPhee – guitars, vocals
  • Dave Anderson – bass
  • Mick Jones – drums
  • Tony McPhee – guitars, vocals
  • Peter Cruickshank – bass
  • Ken Pustelnik – drums

Disbanded

  • Tony McPhee – guitars, vocals
  • Dave Anderson – bass
  • Marco Anderson – drums
2009–2011 2011–present
  • Tony McPhee – guitars, vocals
  • Dave Anderson – bass
  • Mick Jones – drums
  • Joanna Deacon – vocals
  • Tony McPhee – guitars, vocals
  • Dave Anderson – bass
  • Carl Stokes – drums

The Groundhogs rhythm section[edit]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

as The Groundhogs:

Studio albums[edit]

Live[edit]

  • Hoggin' the Stage (April 1984) - Recorded in Leeds and London in 1971 & Stockholm in 1976.
  • Extremely Live (July 1988)
  • Hogs on the Road (June 1988) - Recorded in Germany in December 1987
  • No Surrender (August 1989)
  • Groundhog Night (July 1993)
  • Who Said Cherry Red? (October 1996)
  • Live at Leeds 71 (August 1998) - Featuring the 5 tracks recorded in Leeds previously released on "Hoggin' The Stage".
  • No Surrender – Razors Edge Tour 1985 (1998) - Recorded in Northfleet, Kent in 1985
  • UK Tour '76 (1999)
  • Live at the Astoria (September 2001) - Recorded at the Astoria, London on 20th February 1998.
  • Live at the New York Club, Switzerland 1991 (2007)
  • Live at Anti WAA Festival 1989 (CD, 2014; Nibelung Records)

Compilations[edit]

  • Groundhogs Best 1969-1972 (March 1974)
  • Moving Fast, Standing Still (May 1986) - compilation of Razor's Edge and Two Side Of T.S. McPhee plus 4 mid 60's tracks.
  • The Best Of (May 1997) - compilation from first 6 studio albums.
  • 54146 (October 2001) - compilation of Back Against The Wall and Hogs On The Road.
  • Thank Christ For The Groundhogs: The Liberty Years (1968-1972) (2010)
  • The United Artists Years (1972-1976) (2013)

[1][3]

Tony McPhee (solo):

  • The Two Sides Of T.S. McPhee (1973)
  • Foolish Pride (February 1993)
  • Slide, T.S., Slide (1996)
  • Bleaching the Blues (April 1997)

With John Lee Hooker:

DVDs And videos[edit]

  • Live at the Astoria (1999) [Video]
  • 60/40 Split (2005) [DVD]
  • Live at Anti WAA Festival 1989 (DVD, 2014; Nibelung Records)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. pp. 405–406. ISBN 1-84195-017-3.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Colin Larkin, ed. (1995). The Guinness Who's Who of Heavy Metal (Second ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 155. ISBN 0-85112-656-1.
  3. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 237. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  4. ^ "Blues Night: BOB BOWLES with the legendary GROUNDHOGS Rhythm Section! – Saturday 19 February 2011 at 19:30 | Riffs Bar – Live Originals & Covers Music Venue in Swindon, Wiltshire". Riffs Bar. 19 February 2011. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
  5. ^ "The Groundhogs Archive". Thegroundhogs.co.uk. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
  6. ^ a b Unterberger, Richie. "Groundhogs – Artist Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  7. ^ a b c Banks, Joe (March 2021). "The Groundhogs: their path from blues to something far more progressive". Prog Magazine. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  8. ^ a b c DeGagne, Mike. "Hogwash Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  9. ^ Williamson, Nigel (2007). The Rough Guide to the Blues. Rough Guides. p. 178. ISBN 1-84353-519-X.
  10. ^ "The Top 30 British Blues Rock Albums Of All Time". Classic Rock. Future plc. 23 March 2007. Retrieved 1 September 2018.
  11. ^ DeGagne, Mike. "Split Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  12. ^ Clarke, Patricia (5 August 2021). "High On The Hogs: Artists On The Genius Of The Groundhogs". theQuietus. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  13. ^ Clarke, Patricia (5 August 2021). "Brix Smith Start on 'Split (Pt. 2)' from Split (1971)". theQuietus. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  14. ^ There may be an issue with this listing. The Groundhogs official website http://www.thegroundhogs.co.uk/41%20years.html does not list Chaz Depaolo as being with them as a member. It also lists these people for collaborations: John Lee Hooker, Jo Anne Kelly, Dave Kelly, Champion Jack Dupree, Eddy Boyd, Big Joe Williams, Hapshash & the Coloured Coat, John Dummer Band, Andy Fernbach, Mike Batt, Billy Boy Arnold, Blue Cheer, Amon Duul, Yorkshire Chamber Choir, Dick Heckstall-Smith. The UK Scarborough News has articles about Depaolo using the rhythm section of The Groundhogs for some short tours in the UK. He had Ken Pustelnik and Pete Cruickshank back him for a few tours. http://www.thescarboroughnews.co.uk/what-s-on/gigs-music/as-printed-in-the-scarborough-evening-news-on-8-december-1-1489220#ixzz427XZQvN4

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]