McCully Workshop Inc.

album cover - click for bigger picture

Tracks:

  1. Why Can't It Rain [4.12]
  2. Hardcase Woman [2.34]
  3. Ice Lover [3.05]
  4. Four Walls [2.40]
  5. Stargazer [2.48]
  6. Rush Hour At Midnight [3.42]
  7. Jackin' Around [2.04]
  8. Head For The Moon [4.00]
  9. The Circus [4.00]
  10. Years Of My Life [3.19]
  11. Fast Car [3.41]
  12. Sťance [3.05]

Musicians:

  • Tully McCully: Vocals, bass, guitar
  • Mike McCully: Vocals, drums
  • Richard Hyam: Rhythm and acoustic guitars, vocals
  • Glenda Wassman: Organ, vocals
  • Ian Smith: Trumpet, flute, flugelhorn

    Additional musicians:

  • Allan Faull: Lead guitar on 'Why Can't It Rain', 'The Circus', 'Hardcase Woman' and 'Stargazer'
  • Alan van der Merwe: Vocal harmony and organ on 'Why Can't It Rain' and 'Stargazer'
  • Melanie Hyam: Vocal harmonies on 'Why Can't It Rain' and 'Rush Hour At Midnight'

    Produced by Billy Forrest

Release information:

LP: 1970, Trutone, STO 727
CD: February 2003, Merry-Go-Round Records, a division of Beatball Music (Korea), BMRC-0001

Sleeve notes for 2003 Korean re-issue:

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 album shows a variety of styles and influences including The Beatles, Frank Zappa and Pink Floyd.

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.

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.

Thanks to:
Tully McCully, Mike McCully, Piet Obermeyer, Michelle Longman, Stephen 'Sugar' Segerman, John Samson, Kurt Shoemaker, Andrew King.

Brian Currin, Cape Town, South Africa, November 2002



Original sleeve notes from album back cover:
(See scan of original back cover (65KB) here)

An angel must have been passing overhead. In McCully Workshop the silence was deafening. While it lasted Bill Forrest said, "Could happen."

It did happen. It's still happening and we hope it will go on happening for a long time to come as more addicts become 'hooked' on McCully Workshop sound.

Producing it wasn't all that simple.

"Tully, put the cans on," comes through the speaker in Billy's dulcet tones. Everybody puts the cans on. What they hear is Tully telling them with a good deal of candid soul-searching why he couldn't do that particular number. General collapse and recording adjourned for some canned compensation.

Rich embellishes the interval with a few ninths and diminished chords while Tully murmurs, "That won't fit," or Mm, maybe," or suddenly "Hell, that's great. Do it again." Ian is heard muttering that in America the brass section has it scored for them and promptly scores a big nil by tripping over the nearest mike.

"Could happen," says Billy.

"How about this before the lead comes in?" says Mike and the peace is shattered by a furiously intricate four bar roll. "Lousy!" comes back the chorus in four party harmony with a vulgar noise from the trumpet. Billy leaps to his feet and smashes another globe in the ceiling.

"Ridiculous. Man, it's a gas. We'll use it."



Track-by-track analysis
Piet Obermeyer, November 2002

01) 'Why Can't It Rain'
Listening to this song makes me realize how much talent McCully Workshop had. Even after all these years, it sounds as fresh as the day it was recorded. 'Why Can't It Rain' was very popular in South Africa when it was first released and made #12 on the Springbok Radio Charts. It is a pity that Tully always refused to do a live version at the Fairmead Hotel!

02) 'Hardcase Woman'
Interesting guitar work by Allan with a nice bass riff from Tully.

03) 'Ice Lovers'
Nice song with a strong melody. Ian's flute complements the song very well. The "feel" of this song is typical of the 1970 era with influences from many contemporary artists.

04) 'Four Walls'
Features Ian Smith on trumpet. Not as strong as some of the other songs on the album, but easy to listen to.

05) 'Stargazer'
A very interesting song with a strong melody and some good guitar work from Allan and organ backing from Glenda.

06) 'Rush Hour At Midnight'
The first impression I get when listening to this song is that it escaped from the musical 'Hair'. Nice vocal harmonies and a good song overall.

07) 'Jackin' Around'
The opening song on the second side of the original album. The title of the song says it all. Mike doing his thing on the drum kit towards the end of the track.

08) 'Head For The Moon'
I also feel like departing for the moon somedays. A sweet song with a pleasant melody and one of my favorites on the album. The trumpet blends in well with the rest of the band. Looks like Tully started practicing to sing 'Blues in C Minor' (from 'Ages' album) if you listen to the "announcement" at the start of this song.

09) 'The Circus'
Something different although not one of my favorites on the album. Nice vocal harmonies.

10) 'Years Of My Life'
Starting with a serious church organ, this track unfolds to a refreshing ballad with a cool melody. Sounds like early Byrds, but still distinctly McCully Workshop.

11) 'Fast Car'
The opening riffs of this song reminds me of the music they used play at the Boswell Wilkie circus. Not one of my favorite songs, but obviously a filler on the album.

12) 'Sťance'
The other side of life? A serious song with quiet vocals from Tully, nicely complemented with flute and guitar.

Ian Smith Glenda Wassman Mike McCully

Richard Hyam Tully McCully

McCully Family Tree - click for bigger picture


TOP back to where you came from