Excellent debut album (the first of four by this South African Group) and a real rarity from 1969. A great album with a Pretty Things meets The Beatles vibe; psych blended with R 'n' B and garage punk tunes. Excellent songs with lovely vocals strong harmonies and super distorted guitar work.
The Psychedelic-Music.com Website describes McCully Workshop's first album like this: "Of all the albums we've heard from South Africa this one is topscore. What a beautiful masterpiece. Pepper-influenced Underground music with great songs, lovely vocals, strong harmonies, great distorted guitarwork."
Since 1965, the McCullagh brothers, Tully (born Terence on 31st May 1953) and Mike (born Michael on 7th April 1947), have become an integral part of the South African pop and rock scene.
"My brother [Mike] who plays drums and myself would play around and record ourselves in the lounge, I was about nine at the time. We recorded a track called 'Swinging Time' with some other friends when I was thirteen and sent it to a record company. The track didn't get anywhere but it was quite interesting. We grew a bit more and when I was sixteen (and Mike 22) we started a band called McCully Workshop and a whole string of other bands and I started a garage studio." – Tully McCully
McCully Workshop have had many line-up changes over the years, but the brothers have always surrounded themselves with superb musicians.
In 1965 they started as a folk-rock trio with Richard Hyam and called themselves the Blue Three. Richard had been in a folk duo, Tiny Folk, with his sister Melanie.
After a few personnel- and name-changes, like The Blue Beats and Larfing Stocke, the line-up settled down (for a while) in 1969 and they called themselves the McCully Workshop because they used to rehearse in Mrs McCullagh's garage.
Glenda Wassman later married Richard, and they formed the pop band Pendulum and had a big hit with 'Take My Heart' in 1976. Glenda then went on to major success with the all-girl group, Clout, who had a huge hit with 'Substitute' which went to #2 in the UK in 1978.
'McCully Workshop Inc' was produced by the great South African singer and producer Billy Forrest. The cover photo was taken by Sigurd Olivier and the cat's name was Sirikit.
'McCully Workshop Inc' was released in June 1970 and included the epic and powerful 'Why Can't It Rain' which went to #12 on the Springbok Radio charts in July 1970.
The follow-up to 'Inc' was an album titled 'Genesis' released in 1971. It was a concept album based on the book of Genesis from the Bible and included a number of long tracks with sub-sections, typical of other prog-rock albums of the time.
Crocodile Harris (real name Robin Graham, from Cape Town), recorded the brilliant haunting pop classic 'Miss Eva Goodnight' (Springbok #5, April 1974) which was written by Mike & Tully and featured the musicianship of all the then current McCully Workshop members.
'Ages' was released in 1975 and reflected musical styles from different ages of music and various influences could be heard: Uriah Heep, The Beatles, The Kinks and The Beach Boys, for example.
Their 4th album, 'Workshop Revisited', released in 1977 shot them to prominence when it introduced South African fans to hits like 'Buccaneer' and 'Chinese Junkman'. The album also saw Mike McCully winning the 1978 'Songwriter Of The Year' award.
They used to play in the late 70s at the Canterbury Inn in the Fairmead Hotel in Cape Town and wonderful renditions of classic rock songs could be heard on a Sunday night. Chicago's 'I'm A Man' (with a lo-o-ong percussion solo), Barry Ryan's 'Eloise', Grand Funk's (or Traffic's) 'Feeling Alright' and of course their own brilliant 1977 hit single 'Buccaneer' could all be heard; of course no dancing was allowed on a Sunday in those dark days, so the audience had to just sit and listen... and listen they did.
In 1998 the line-up from the late 70s reformed and re-recorded the old McCully Workshop classics and hits as well as 6 new songs and released the album 'Buccaneer'. 'Why Can't It Rain' also received a make-over losing none of its power and gaining an even stronger production.
In 2002 Tully is still running his successful Spaced-Out Sounds Studio in Cape Town and Mike regularly packs out concert halls with his nostalgic revue shows 'Sixty Something' and 'Music Of The Millennium'.
McCully Workshop is a band that deserves to be listened to, over and over again.
Originally posted by arcadium