Steve Rye

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b. c. 1946, England, d. 19 July 1992, England. Playing harmonica, in the mid- to late 60s Rye was regularly with the Groundhogs, a hard-hitting blues band that had been formed in 1963 by Tony McPhee and…
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Artist Biography by

b. c. 1946, England, d. 19 July 1992, England. Playing harmonica, in the mid- to late 60s Rye was regularly with the Groundhogs, a hard-hitting blues band that had been formed in 1963 by Tony McPhee and John Cruickshank out of the latter’s pop group, the Dollar Bills. The band had an on-off existence, including a spell as Herbal Mixture, before making their first album, Scratchin’ The Surface, in 1968, on which Rye appeared. Soon after this, however, he moved on while the band went on to considerable fame. Among other artists with whom he played and sometimes recorded were Jo Ann Kelly, Simon Prager and Bob Hall. With the latter pair, Rye toured in the 70s as the All Star Medicine Show.

In later years, Rye became involved in promotion, touring artists such as Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, and also encouraged up-and-coming young musicians such as harmonica player Paul Lamb. For a while Rye ran a folk club at the Half Moon in Herne Hill, south London.