LP: June 1971, Trutone, STO 745,
CD: August 2009, Fresh Music, Freshcd 155
- Genesis (T McCully) [7.45]
- Overture To Cancel Hate
- Survival And Genesis
- (We All) Look For The Sun (T McCully) [3.15]
- Stone Man (T McCully) [9.44]
- Stone Man
- Satan's Dance
- Red Light City (B Gordon/T McCully) [7.40]
- Sweet Fields Of Green (T McCully) [3.45]
- Togetherness (T McCully) [4.35]
- Order Out Of Chaos (McCully Workshop) [3.20]
- Rainbow Illusion only released as a single
- Birds Flying High * only released as b-side of 'Rainbow Illusion' single
- Mike McCully: Drums, vocals
- Tully McCully: Vocals, bass
- Bruce Gordon: Guitars, percussion, vocals
- Ian Smith: Trumpet, flute, flugelhorn, trombone, percussion
Sleeve Notes from 2009 Fresh Music re-issue:
McCully Workshop is arguably one of
South Africa's finest pop rock bands. They started way back in the
'60's, dominated the South African airwaves in the '70's, continued
through the '80's and '90's and in the 21st century are still going
IN THE BEGINNING
When asked about their beginnings,
vocalist, bassist and producer Tully McCullagh had this to say: "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 we started a band called McCully Workshop and a whole
string of other bands and I started a garage studio."
McCully Workshop has had many line-up
changes over the years, but these 2 talented brothers have always
surrounded themselves with superb musicians.
In 1965, the McCullagh brothers, Tully
(born Terence on 31st May 1953) and Mike (born Michael on 7th April
1947) started as a folk-rock trio with Richard Hyam and called
themselves the Blue Three. Hyam had previously 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
Vocalist Glenda Wassman later married
Richard Hyam, and then formed the pop band Pendulum who had a big hit
with 'Take My Heart' in 1976. Glenda Hyam then went on to major
success with the all-girl group, Clout, who had a worldwide smash hit
with 'Substitute', which went to #2 in the UK in 1978.
Their debut album, 'McCully Workshop
Inc.' features a variety of styles and influences including The
Beatles, Frank Zappa and early Pink Floyd.
The Forced Exposure website has this
quote: "A superb South African band's stunning debut album.
'Sgt. Pepper' influenced psychedelic music blended with R&B,
garage punk tunes. Great songs, lovely vocals, strong harmonies,
great distorted guitar work."
'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 and reached #13 on the LM
Radio charts. This hit single featured a fiery guitar solo by Allan
Faull who went on to form the eclectic Falling Mirror with his cousin
Nielen Marais in the late 70s.
McCully Workshop also played on
country-pop singer Jody Wayne's 'The Wedding' in 1970 which hit #1
for 3 weeks on the Springbok Radio charts.
“Jody Wayne had come down from
Jo'burg” recalls Tully, “and he wanted to record a ballad, they
wouldn't let him do it in Jo'burg, so he asked us to do it. I took
the reverb unit out of an old Hammond organ and recorded everything
with yards of reverb and it went on to sell four gold discs (it was
called "The Wedding"), we made eleven rands each!!”
The follow-up to 'Inc' was the album
'Genesis' recorded in early 1971 and released in June of that year by
Trutone Records with catalogue number STO 745. After the 'Inc' album
there was a deliberate move to do something different and
progressive. “'Genesis' wasn't really a concept album based on the
Bible,” says Tully, “but more about looking back and learning
from old wisdom”.
Tully speaks of “his dream stories,
about waking up with ideas, the words and music together, real stream
of conciousness stuff.” “It was more about the feel than the
actual words,” Tully says.
The core of Mike McCully (drums), Tully
McCully (vocals, bass) and Ian Smith (brass and flute) from the 'Inc'
album were now enhanced by the Hendrix-influenced guitarist Bruce
The musical vibe at the time of the
album's recording was very brass influenced with bands like Chicago,
Blood, Sweat & Tears and Traffic pushing the boundaries of Jazz
Inspired by the progressive albums of
the time, 'Genesis' included a number of long tracks with
sub-sections. However in the interest of garnering radio play '(We
All) Look For The Sun' and 'Sweet Fields of Green' were more pop
influenced. “Pop” as inspired by The Beatles, though, rather than
the throwaway bubblegum pop prevalent at the time.
Tully remembers that when he was asked
what type of band they were he would reply, “we play heavy music”.
Terms like “heavy” and “underground” were very broad terms in
those heady days of the early '70's to describe music that was not
pop or radio-friendly.
'Sweet Fields Of Green' was released as
a single, reaching #2 on the LM Radio charts in August 1971. The
follow-up single 'Birds Flying High' (actually the flipside of
'Rainbow Illusion'), recorded shortly after the 'Genesis' sessions,
peaked at #9 on the LM Radio charts.
Tully recalls the recording sessions
being a fun time and due to the limitations of the 4-track recording
studio, most songs were recorded in one take. If they made a mistake,
they would do the whole take over again, not an easy thing to do with
songs exceeding seven minutes!
Ian Smith took care of the brass
arrangements and Tully used multi-tracking techniques to make him
sound like a horn section, mainly utilizing the trumpet and
flugelhorn, though the flute also makes it's presence felt a few
Due to wiring problems in the studio,
the original album mix was out-of-phase and unusable and Tully had
about two hours to remix the album in a Johannesburg studio before it
went to the pressing plant.
Keith Madders, a friend of the band and
big music fan introduced them to painter Tommy McLelland. He took
photos of the band members and then included their likenesses into an
original painting with religious overtones. The original painting was
one metre square and to be mysterious the name of the band does not
actually appear on the cover. “This was not a deliberate ploy”,
says Tully, but it has probably led a few vinyl collectors over the
years, to think they have discovered a lost gem by Peter Gabriel's
Madders also came up with the name for
Tully's Spaced-Out Sound Studios, as well as the name Crocodile
Harris for Robin Graham. 'Miss Eva Goodnight' was composed by the
McCully Brothers and McCully Workhop played on this song, which was
released by Crocodile Harris in 1974.
After 'Genesis' came more line-up
changes, more albums, and huge hits with 'Buccaneer' and 'Chinese
Junkman', but all that is for another time.
The McCully Brothers and their talented
friends continue to be very involved with making and recording music
and McCully Workshop released a live album recorded in early 2008.
There is even a possibility of a new
original McCully Workshop album due sometime in 2009 which will hark
back to the progressive rock sounds of 'Genesis' and their lengthy
jamming sessions from their Canterbury Inn residency in the late
After 40 years, the Workshop is still open
[Original album information supplied by Neil Daya from Vibes in N1 City, Cape Town in 1999.]