Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

Henry McCullough

Apologies for my recent absence but various issues have kept me away from blogging, normally I am a week ahead in composing blogs but now I am almost a week behind.

Anyway one of the few highlights from the last couple of weeks was getting up to The Green Hotel Kinross to see the legenday Henry McCullough in a small intimate setting.

The Hotel has recently converted it’s leisure area into a great live venue with concerts being promoted as “Backstage At The Green” by Mundell Music.

I recently missed Steve Gibbons, however, my sister-in-law was there and managed to get my “Caught In The Act” album signed.

I will be there again this Saturday (6th Nov) to see Maggie Bell playing live with Dave Kelly.

Henry Campbell Liken McCullough (born 21 July 1943, Portstewart, Northern Ireland, has played guitar in such bands as Spooky Tooth, Paul McCartney’s Wings, and The Grease Band.

He turned up in many different places as sideman or a performer in his own right.

His most recent release was Poor Man’s Moon,

released in 2008 whichfeatures the single, “Too Late to Worry.”

“Too Late To Worry” – Henry McCullough

McCullough first came to prominence in the early 1960s as the teenage lead guitarist with The Skyrockets showband from Enniskillen. In 1964, with three other members of The Skyrockets, he left and formed a new showband fronted by South African born vocalist Gene Chetty, which they named Gene and The Gents.

In 1967 McCullough moved to Belfast where he joined Chris Stewart (bass), Ernie Graham (vocals) and Dave Lutton (drums) to form the psychedelic band The People. Later that year the band moved to London and were signed by Chas Chandler’s management team, who changed the group’s name to Éire Apparent. Under Chandler’s guidance, despite only having one single released, they toured with groups such as Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, The Move and The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

Things went well until 1968, when McCullough was sent back to Ireland, from Canada, due to visa problems, and Mick Cox took his place in the band.

Back in Ireland McCullough joined what was primarily a folk group called Sweeney’s Men. Under his influence, however, they soon began to mix folk and rock, and are often regarded as the innovators of the folk/rock genre.

After a year in Ireland, McCullough returned to London to work with Joe Cocker as a member of his backing group, the Grease Band (also playing on their eponymous album minus Cocker). With Cocker he toured the U.S. and performed at the Woodstock Festival.

Henry was in a relationship with Janis Joplin

In 1971 Paul McCartney asked McCullough to join his new band, Wings, alongside Denny Laine and Denny Sewell. His guitar solo on “My Love” is regarded by many as one of rock music’s greatest solos.

Musical differences with McCartney, however, saw McCullough move on the eve of the “Band on the Run” sessions. He spent two years in the band, playing lead guitar on “Hi Hi Hi”, “Live and Let Die” as well as “My Love”.

McCullough also appeared as lead guitarist on the original 1970 recording of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar.

McCullough landed from his Wings experience into another two year gig alongside his own mate Chris Stewart, keyboards ace Mick “Wynder K. Frog” Weaver and drummer Stu Perry in the brilliant Frankie Miller Band.

Miller’s “Ain’t Got No Money” featuring McCullough’s guitar work allegedly inspired Bob Seger to write and record “The Fire Down Below”.

“Ain’t Got No Money” – Frankie Miller Band

In 1975, McCullough released Mind Your Own Business, his only album on George Harrison’s Dark Horse label.

McCullough then did some session work, and played concerts with Roy Harper, Frankie Miller, Eric Burdon, Marianne Faithfull, Ronnie Lane and Donovan.

In 1977 he temporarily joined Dr. Feelgood, following the departure of Wilko Johnson and he also spent some time with progressive band Spooky Tooth.

While recovering from an injury to his hand while visiting his family in 1980, McCullough decided to stay in Ireland. He began to sit in with some old friends, The Fleadh Cowboys, at their Sunday afternoon residency in The Lower Deck in Dublin, and soon decided to move back to Portstewart and put a new band together. He was joined by Percy Robinson on pedal steel guitar, Roe Butcher on bass and Liam Bradley on drums.

Percy Robinson

Percy Robinson was brilliant at the “Backstage at The Green” gig.

In 1998 McCullough went to Poland, where he rehearsed with a band of Polish musicians for an upcoming tour. After the tour, they went into a recording studio and recorded a ‘live’ album which was released as Blue Sunset.

This was followed by a further Polish tour. On returning home, McCullough recorded and released “Failed Christian”, a song that has since been covered by Nick Lowe on his album, Dig My Mood.

McCullough continued to record and perform and released solo material, including Belfast To Boston (2001) and Unfinished Business (2003).

McCullough’s spoken words “I don’t know; I was really drunk at the time” can be heard on Pink Floyd’s album The Dark Side of the Moon, at the end of the song “Money”. He was recalling a fight he had the night before with his wife.

The Henry McCullough Band – FBI Live was released in 2007 on Mundell music, from a recording at The Famous Bein Inn in 2006 and which I bought at the recent gig.

In 2007, Over the Rhine covered “Failed Christian” on their album, Live from Nowhere, Vol. II.

“Failed Christian” – Over The Rhine

In late 2007 McCullough teamed up with Dave Sharp (ex Alarm) and together they enlisted Zoot Money on keyboards; Gary Fletcher on bass guitar; and Colin Allen on drums. In January 2008 The Hard Travelers performed their debut gig at The Cellars, Portsmouth.

As noted above in 2008 McCullough recorded Poor Man’s Moon at Amberville Studios and was released in Ireland only on 5 September 2008. It featured new McCullough compositions and a number of songs co-written with poet Eamon Carr (of Horslips) including the single, “Too Late to Worry”. Among the musicians featured on the album were James Delaney on keyboards; Roe Butcher on electric bass guitar; Nicky Scott on double bass and electric bass guitar; Enda Walsh on keyboards; Adie McIlduff on drums; Percy Robinson on dobro and pedal steel guitar and Peter McKinney on drums/sequencing.

McCullough attended Paul McCartney’s concert at the O2 in Dublin on 20 December 2009. McCartney publicly acknowledged Henry’s contribution to Wings and this resulted in McCullough being warmly applauded and cheered by the audience.

To buy the music of Henry McCullough click HERE

To buy the music of Frankie Miller click HERE

To buy the music of Over The Rhine click HERE

November 4, 2010 Posted by | Blast from The Past, Family, Old Music, Video | , , , , , , | 1 Comment


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