McCully Workshop: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — March 30, 2022

399) McCully Workshop — “Head for the Moon”

“Head for the Moon” is the third song I have featured that was inspired (or, possibly, incensed) by Neil Armstrong’s landing on the moon.

The first — “Whitey on the Moon” by Gil Scott-Heron (see #21) — remarked:

“I can’t pay no doctor bill, (but Whitey’s on the moon), ten years from now I’ll be payin’ still (while Whitey’s on the moon) . . . I think I’ll send these doctor bills Airmail special (to Whitey on the moon).”

The second — “Slowly Towards the North (Parts 1 & 2)” (see #332) is by Freedom’s Children, a South African band whose album was inspired by the landing:

[“W]hen the Americans landed on the moon . . . we took all our beds and put them in a semicircle around this little black and white TV. Anyway, we took this acid and when they landed on the moon we were tripping. It was such an experience, I shall never forget it and that’s what Astra appeared out of.”

And, today, a third — by another great South African band, McCully Workshop. “Head for the Moon”, in which a benevolent alien entreats earthlings to leave their riot-torn planet and head for the moon, is “moon landing-inspired” (Brian Currin, https://mccullyworkshop.wordpress.com/albums/the-best-of-mccully-workshop/) and “[a] sweet song with a pleasant melody and one of my favorites on the[ir] album.” (Piet Obermeyer, https://mccullyworkshop.wordpress.com/albums/mccully-workshop-inc/) Kurt Shoemaker says “My God, an intro of narrated couplets! Tongue-in-cheek? Groovy song follows, though (and I don’t . . . use the word “groovy” lightly).”(http://www.sarockdigest.com/archives/issue_194.txt)

The song was off McCully Workshop, Inc. (’70), “[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.” (The Forced Exposure website, https://mccullyworkshop.wordpress.com/about/) “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.” (Psychedelic-Music.com, https://mccullyworkshop.wordpress.com/albums/mccully-workshop-inc/)

Brian Currin writes that:

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 strong.

https://mccullyworkshop.wordpress.com/about/

Currin provides some more history:

The McCullagh brothers, Tully . . . and Mike . . . . started as a folk-rock trio [in ‘65] with Richard Hyam and called themselves the Blue Three. Richard had been in a folk duo, Tiny Folk, with his sister Melanie. . . . “I had my own studio in the garage since I was 12” remembers Tully. . . . The brothers’ father, radio personality Michael Drin (his stage name), painted the name “McCully Workshop, Inc.” on the garage wall. “McCully” was an easier-to-spell version of McCullagh and the “Inc.” was a tongue-in-cheek addition. . . . Mike McCullagh [says] “In 1969 I was 22 and Tully was 16, along with Richard Hyam, his sister Melanie and Allan Faull the group started.” . . . Tully wrote ‘Why Can’t It Rain’ in the middle of the night and this became a hit single putting McCully Workshop on the charts for the first time[ and] dr[awing] the attention of the Gallo label, and they said they wanted an album. McCully Workshop signed probably the first independent licensing deal with a major label in South Africa. The ‘Inc.’ album shows a variety of styles and influences including The Beatles, Frank Zappa and Pink Floyd. “’Sgt Pepper’ was very important, as were the pop charts at the time”, recalls Tully. Another big influence, according to Tully, was The Moody Blues ‘Threshold Of A Dream’ which was released in April 1969.

https://mccullyworkshop.wordpress.com/albums/the-best-of-mccully-workshop/

[spoken word: “I’ve seen some planets in my time, but earth seems to be worst along the line. Do mortals have to kill each other to stay alive? Elsewhere that’s not how they stay survive. So, I’ve been sent from [?] to entreat you. Friends, there’s only one thing left to do.”] “Head for the moon, all people. Get out over there and build a steeple. For there on earth your world is riot-torn. You live in fear from dusk to dawn. Head for the moon, young lovers. Try to get there before the others. For footprints and peace and tranquil [?], are better for you than people-haters. Head for the moon, head for the moon come on now, head for the moon, head for the moon. Head for the moon all spacemen. Leave your paws and I will trace them. For here on Mars I long to meet you. So head for the moon and I will greet you. Head for the moon, head for the moon, come on now. . . .”

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