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High On The Hogs: Artists On The Genius Of The Groundhogs
Patrick Clarke , August 5th, 2021 09:59

Artists including Brix Smith Start, Luke Haines, Underworld's Karl Hyde, reflect on the overlooked genius of Tony McPhee and The Groundhogs, and pick their favourite albums and tracks


Underworld’s Karl Hyde on ‘Light My Light’ from Solid (1974)

I was fourteen years old when I saw The Groundhogs at Birmingham Town Hall promoting the Split album. They were the first band I ever saw live and have been a constant in my life ever since.

Tony McPhee is one of the greatest unsung guitarists that this country has ever produced, and also one of its most distinct vocalists. He reimagined the blues with every recording and with each different incarnation of The Groundhogs. He was a true visionary when it came to reinventing the electric guitar and what it could do, always managing to find sounds that I’d never heard before. He singlehandedly inspired me to play the blues, and that become a core element in Underworld’s sound palette. He inspired me to throw away my plectrum and play with my fingers and he inspired me to find new sounds in old instruments.

We eventually became friends when I was asked to write the sleevenotes for a reissue of Two Sides of Tony T.S. McPhee. Like many people I was grief stricken when Tony’s inimitable singing voice was taken from him after a stroke. His guitar playing remains astonishing.

I guess most people will choose something from Thank Christ For the Bomb or Split but I’m going to go for ‘Light My Light’ from the album Solid which is my go to record whenever I need to get my blood pumping.