Friday 4 October 2019

McCully Workshop new Double album

The new album, titled INFINITY, from one of Cape Town's greatest rock bands of all time, McCully Workshop (also known sometimes as McCully's Workshop), is slated for release on the 25th of October 2019.  It is a time leap into the eighties, that wonderfully creative era of musical inspiration, but is also a record with a quality of sound that could only have been produced now.

If your band played in the clubs of that period, you covered the songs of the Beatles, Supertramp, Queen, Police, The Small Faces, Tears for Fears, Bee Gees, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd and others, and your own writing could not help but be deeply influenced by these artists. McCully Workshop's own hits, Birds Flying High, Buccaneer and Chinese Junkman were pure eighties UK style pop rock.

The tracks on this new album, nineteen of them in all (it would be a double album if we lived in that era still), are written and produced by different members, all members being represented on the composition side, with bassist and master producer, Tully McCully overseeing everything.

L to R, Gordon, Mike, Tully, Richard and Rupert. Pic Irene McCullagh
Many of the new tracks pay tribute to the above mentioned super groups. Though all new material, there is a nostalgic feel to the collection. It is a celebration of commercial rock, with a contemporary production approach.

McCully Workshop were/are a party band, a show band, whose fans came back for more, week after week, to their Rondebosch residency, amongst others. They were booked to play the Matric Dances (Proms) of many a South African school who wanted to make their celebrations something to remember.

The band members enjoyed their live gigs and had the luxury of holding on to their day jobs, an essential reality check for musicians who were on stage for the good time. Tully and guitarist Richard Black are successful sound engineers and producers servicing the advertising industry. Drummer Mike McCullagh is a show producer with his own business and pianist Rupert Mellor was packing them in at the solo residencies he had at different piano bars in the week. Relatively new addition, Gordon MacKay (brother of 70s UK rocker Duncan MacKay) adds to the fullness of the live sound. He also contributes two of his songs to the package.

Many bands see their career plan as starting out in a small club in their home town and growing a following and a media image. With luck they get a hit or two and then sign a record deal and have a shot at the international market. McCully Workshop did not dream of this path. Perhaps they did not want the disappointment that that route almost certainly guarantees. Perhaps the life in a city like Cape Town was too good to sacrifice. They have the talent to play in the bigger arena but do not have the singleminded hunger necessary for greater success in the pop music game.

Tully McCully produced number one hits for several acts, Lesley Rae Dowling and Crocodile Harris, to mention two. His own vocals on some of the tracks on Infinity, are the perhaps the best he has recorded with his own band.

Logically many of the songs on this new album reflect on the past more than anything released by the group up to now. This is to be expected for a band with a thirty year track record on stage and at least half a dozen albums behind them.

Link to sales -

Tin Cans Discs
October 2019