The original Groundhogs emerged in 1963 when struggling UK beat group the Dollarbills opted for a more stylish name; Tony McPhee (23 March 1944, Humberstone, Lincolnshire, England; guitar), John Cruickshank (vocals/harp), Bob Hall (piano), Pete Cruickshank (b. 2 July 1945, Calcutta, India; bass) and Dave Boorman (drums) also adopted a ‘John Lee’ prefix in honour of mentor John Lee Hooker, whom the quintet subsequently backed in concert and on record. John Lee’s Groundhogs recorded two singles before breaking up in 1966. McPhee completed several solo tracks with producer Mike Vernon before rejoining Pete Cruickshank in Herbal Mixture, a short-lived pseudo-psychedelic group. In 1968 the two musicians formed the core of a re-formed Groundhogs alongside Steve Rye (b. c. 1946, England, d. 19 July 1992, England; vocals/harmonica) and Ken Pustelnik (drums). The new unit made its debut with the rudimentary Scratching The Surface, but were then reduced to a trio by Rye’s departure. A second set, Blues Obituary, contained two tracks, ‘Mistreated’ and ‘Express Man’, which became in-concert favourites as the band embarked on a more progressive direction. This was confirmed with Thank Christ For The Bomb, the Groundhogs’ powerful 1970 release, which cemented a growing popularity. Arguably the Groundhog’s definitive work, this uncompromising selection included the stage classic, ‘Cherry Red’.