Thursday, 12 July 2012

SONG FOR TODAY: The Groundhogs - Cherry Red


Superb 60's rock classic I heard on BBC 6Music sometime over the last few weeks and decided it MUST make 'Song For Today'... The Groundhogs are a British 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.

"The band was originally formed as The Dollar Bills in New Cross, London in 1962 by brothers Pete and John Cruickshank. Tony McPhee, the lead guitarist in an instrumental group called the Shcenuals, 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".

Their line-up on their first album, Scratchin' the Surface, released in November 1968, consisted of McPhee as singer and guitarist, bassist Peter Cruickshank, Ken Pustelnik on drums and Steve Rye on harmonica. In 1969, the single "BDD" (Blind Deaf Dumb) flopped in the UK but hit number one in Lebanon. The group's album releases Thank Christ For The Bomb (May 1970); Split (March 1971); and Who Will Save the World? The Mighty Groundhogs (March 1972), recorded as a trio without Rye, all reached the Top 10 in the UK Albums Chart. '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 22 April 1971.
After breaking up in 1976 they came back as a largely live act almost a decade later with a different line-up. At times in the 1990s, McPhee alternated two line-ups, one with a second guitarist. 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 put together a new band in 2007, with long-time Groundhogs bassist Dave Anderson (ex-Hawkwind) and Marco Anderson on drums. This trio toured England 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. As of 2011, the new Groundhogs' lineup consists of McPhee, Anderson, Joanna Deacon (vocals), and Carl Stokes (drums)."



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