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Eclectic Prog • Australia

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Tully biography
Tully was an Australia progressive rock band that performed in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s.

The first of two Tully incarnations was initially a quartet- John Blake, Robert Taylor, Richard Lockwood, and Michael Carlos met playing together in Levi Smith?s Clefs in 1968, an R&B group. The four men left to form Tully. They began playing improvisational music at the defunct Caesar?s Disco, but were sacked as the patrons complained that they couldn?t dance to the music. The band recruited Terry Wilson to sing, and soon the quintet were commissioned by Bill Munro of the Australian Broadcasting Commission to do six TV shows that would be called Fusions. Fusions earned them a wider audience, and it wasn?t long before Tully were invited to perform at other venues and to play whatever they desired.

Entrepreneur Harry Miller got Tully to perform as the backing band for the Australian cast production of the rock musical Hair. Annoyed by their antics and practical jokes, however, Miller eventually replaced Tully. At this time, Blake left the group, and Taylor?s friend, Ken Firth, filled in. This line-up recorded Tully?s first LP. Their live performances kept true with their psychedelic generation, as sometimes their sets meandered into avant-garde improvisations, the drummer setting his kit up as a work of art rather than as something to be played, and all five of them standing at the front of the stage and proclaiming ?I love you? to the audience.

The Arts Council brought together Tully and their antithesis- a delicate and gentle group called Extradition- to tour together. Surprisingly, this pairing not only became friends, but decided to unite as a new band, still under the banner of Tully. This more robust group recorded the second Tully album, Sea of Joy (soundtrack to a Paul Witzig film), and their third and final album, Loving is Hard. Tully disbanded not long after this, as income became sparse and ideologies became varied.

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Chapter Music 2014
$24.85 (used)
Loving Is HardLoving Is Hard
Chapter Music 2013
Sea Of Joy [LP]Sea Of Joy [LP]
Anthology Recordings 2016
$16.02 (used)
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TULLY discography

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TULLY top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.75 | 7 ratings
2.09 | 2 ratings
3.28 | 8 ratings
Sea of Joy
3.08 | 4 ratings
Loving is Hard

TULLY Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.92 | 4 ratings
Live At Sydney Town Hall 1969-70

TULLY Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

TULLY Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

TULLY Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

TULLY Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Sea of Joy by TULLY album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.28 | 8 ratings

Sea of Joy
Tully Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Among the important bands of the Aussie 70's Rock scene, Tully were formed in 1968 in Sydney by bassist Jon Blake, keyboardist Michael Carlos, multi-instrumentalist Richard Lockwood and drummer Robert Taylor, all of who played in Levi Smith's Clefs Blues Rock band, joined shortly after by singer Terry Wilson.Although Blake quit in 1969 and the band struggled with a few bassists before settling with Ken Firth, their growing fame led to the ''Hair'' release in 1970, a musical performed by Tully plus four additional musicians, and their Psych/Folk-oriented debut the same year.As they were closely associated with the act Extradition, guitarist Colin Campbell and female singer Shayna Stewart joined them in 1971, at a time when Terry Wilson and Robert Taylor had left Tully.The new core recorded ''Sea of joy''in 1971, a work created as the soundtrack of the film of the same name by Paul Witzig.The album was released on Harvest.

As Tully were actually a quite laid-back styled band with strong psychedelic and rural sources of inspiration, the abscence of a drummer resulted to an album with a Library Music atmosphere at moments, which still holds some great music quality.The concept of a soundtrack release helped the band explore some new territories outside their ordinary fields and they really shined in most of the displayed pieces, which contain jazzy and pre-New Age touches among the standard psychedelic and folky moods.Michael Carlos and Richard Lockwood appear to be the main leading instrumentalists, providing dreamy organ and atmospheric synth lines (the first) and a great, flexible use of flute, sax and clarinet (the second) in ethereal and imaginative soundscapes.A trully atmospheric album, which obtains even a nice lyrical value via Shayna Stewart's nostalgic vocals (tunes from first-period RENAISSANCE come to mind).As expected, ''Sea of joy'' is often driven by the acoustic guitars of Colin Campbell, but the music easily escapes from the typical sound of Psych/Folk bands of early-70's.Some Classical piano preludes, some nice jazzy work on wind instruments and the versatile execution of Michael Carlos on keyboards are enough to label this work as pretty daring for the time, even if its dynamics are held down.

Tully originally disbanded in 1972 after the album ''Loving is hard'', but a second incarnation was fronted by drummer Robert Taylor in Perth around 1976, when he teamed up with guitarist Andrew "Frizby" Thursby-Pelham and bassist John "Bass" Walton, in a line-up which featured also singer Bill Tahana for a short time.Reputedly this Tully formation expored more Fusion-tinged territories, but folded as well in 1978, when Walton started to deal with serious health issues.

Dreamy but original Psych/Art/Folk Rock.Not for fans of highly energetic or complex music, but definitely a priority for lovers of atmospheric, well-worked soundscapes.Recommended.

 Loving is Hard by TULLY album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.08 | 4 ratings

Loving is Hard
Tully Eclectic Prog

Review by sl75

3 stars Tully had already broken up by the time Loving Is Hard was recorded, the various members having already moved on to other bands or projects. The album was recorded to fulfill their contractual obligations, and the band's approach to the album was for each songwriter to exercise control over their own work, the other members serving as session musicians. The best elements of Tully can all be heard at various times: Shayna Stewart's lovely clear voice, Michael Carlos' stately piano and exciting Hammond, Richard Lockwood's gorgeous flute parts. Unlike the preceding Sea of Joy album, this album presents complete-sounding compositions. However, in comparison to it's two predecessors, this is a disappointing album. The first Tully album was musically diverse, but had an overall sense of unity; Sea of Joy even more so, despite (or perhaps due to) the fragmentary nature of it's compositions. Loving Is Hard lacks this sense of unity.

Richard Lockwood's opener is a simple tune, largely a self-accompanied (on piano) solo performance, with some light bass/drum accompaniment, lifted by his flute and clarinet parts, but suffering from the lack of input from Carlos or Stewart.

The title track is a Procol Harum-like ballad, Carlos double-tracking organ and piano, Keith Barber guesting in the band's long-vacant drum stool, and Stewart beautifully singing the simple melody. It comes the closest in sound to the Tully of the first album - but Lockwood's absence is notable.

Stewart again takes the vocal spotlight for "Song For Shayna", penned by Campbell, and more in the style of the Extradition album, with a brief Tull-like digression by Lockwood and Carlos at about the 2/3 mark

Firth's "The Real You" is a jarring moment - drums, double-tracked electric guitar, one of those repetitive two-note blues guitar riffs, and a general 70s soft rock vibe. Tully albums are not supposed to sound like this. Carlos, Stewart & Lockwood are all absent. Firth followed this direction in his later 70s work with bands like the Ferrets.

Carlos' instrumental "Poco A Poco" - finally, an exciting Michael Carlos organ solo! Some impressive piano as well. But virtually no input from any other member of the band.

"Ice" is the centerpiece of the album. One of Campbell's songs previously recorded by Extradition, Carlos takes over the arranging duties, adding ominous string quartet led by cellist Nathan Waks, insistent piano and acoustic guitar, and Stewart's clear vocals. It doesn't hit you over the head like Extradition's original (which had Graham Lowndes' more agitated voice and Stewart's wall of sound organ), but is far more powerful in it's impact for this. It shows the direction Carlos would take later in the 70s, in his outstanding collaborations with Jeannie Lewis. Treasure this track, because it is the last time you will hear Carlos on this album.

"Best Beloved" is a solo piece for Lockwood, just voice and piano, impressive in it's chromaticism (the voice-leading is always logical, but the underlying harmony goes in unexpected directions). Nice as this piece is, Lockwood is no Carlos when it comes to piano playing, and no Stewart or Terry Wilson as a singer.

Campbell's beautiful acoustic ballad "Sunshine Blues Again" follows, with Stewart's most beautiful vocal performance of the album, supported by Campbell's acoustic guitar, and one of Lockwood's beautiful flute solos - until this point, Lockwood's flute has been absent since the opening track. This is the best of Tully mk II/Extradition's folk side.

Lockwood's "This Tree" opens with several seconds of shrill free-jazz sax blasting of the kind that Lockwood was famous for in the early days of the band. It probably serves as a reminder of the kind of life Lockwood considered that he'd left behind, the song that follows outlining his subsequent spiritual journey. Lockwood again accompanies himself on surprisingly jaunty piano, as well as his own well-arranged flute and clarinet, supported again by Firth's bass and Keith Barber guesting on drums. (Keith Barber and Russell Dunlop between them play drums on six of the nine tracks, always appropriately and never intrusively, which makes one wonder why the band ever thought they were better off without a drummer.) Again, Campbell, Stewart and Carlos are nowhere to be heard, although Lockwood does a better job of covering for their absence this time around.

There are some wonderful moments on this album. I feel guilty giving it only three stars, but it is not up to the standard of the first album, nor does it possess the evocative mood of Sea of Joy.

The album has recently been re-released on CD by Chapter Music. This version includes as bonus tracks both sides of the 1971 single "Krishna Came"/"Lord Baba". Recorded around the time of the Sea of Joy album, they are much more in the mood of that album. With no drums, and with all members contributing, it's probably the closest we'll get to hearing what they actually sounded like on stage at this point. "Lord Baba" is a lengthy meditation on the name of their guru, propelled by a repetitive acoustic guitar riff, but kept interesting by their various extemporisations. "Krishna Came", also dedicated to Baba, is more straightforwardly anthemic, and probably the closest they got to a commercial track in those days (if they'd put some drums on it, it might have been a viable single. Might...)

 Live At Sydney Town Hall 1969-70 by TULLY album cover Live, 2010
2.92 | 4 ratings

Live At Sydney Town Hall 1969-70
Tully Eclectic Prog

Review by sl75

3 stars The inclusion of Peter Sculthorpe's "Love 200" makes this an essential release not only for anyone interested in this era of Australian prog, but also anyone interested in Australian classical composition. Although "Love 200" was frequently performed by Australia's professional orchestras in the early 1970s, with several different bands reprising Tully's role (including Copperwine and Fraternity), it has languished in obscurity ever since - no recording was issued until now, and the score is not easily available (it is one of the few Sculthorpe works that you will not find at the Australian Music Centre).

There have been many prog/orchestral collaborations. "Love 200" is unusual among them in that the conception came from the classical side of the fence - it was conductor John Hopkins' idea to pair the SSO with a rock band, and Peter Sculthorpe wrote the piece without any direct input from Tully. This has some benefits and drawbacks. The great benefit is that the orchestral writing is interesting for a change - instead of the usual 19th century cliches, Sculthorpe gives us the kind of post-Penderecki avant-garde string writing he had been exploring in his recent compositions such as the Sun Music series. On the other hand, he's not so comfortable writing rock music, and the two band sections are somewhat more conservative in their musical language. I'm not sure how much scope Tully were given to improvise - Michael Carlos and Richard Lockwood still manage to make their presence felt, but it's a much more restrained performance than we are used to from Tully. Formally there is no great integration between band and orchestra, instead they alternate sections. After a brief orchestral introduction, the band play "It'll Rise Again", then the orchestra takes over, singer Jeannie Lewis joining them to perform "The Stars Turn", the band then take over for a third section, and the orchestra supply the briefest imaginable coda. Vocalists Terry Wilson and Jeannie Lewis make some distracting moaning sounds in between verses in the weaker third section, but are otherwise in great voice, particularly Lewis, who shows her flexibility by switching to a legit classical technique for "The Stars Turn" - I can think of very few other contemporary singers who could pull off such a credible classical performance. So overall, not up there with Sculthorpe's best work, or Tully's for that matter, but an important piece of Australian music history, and a work that stands up very well in comparison to most other prog/orchestral collaborations.

"Sights and Sounds of 69" is half an hour of mostly free improvisation recorded at Tully's Town Hall concerts. Occasionally it is interesting, but most of it is noodling. I rarely bother to listen to this track all the way through. I regard track 1 as essential and track 2 as completely inessential, so therefore will split the difference with a three star rating

 Sea of Joy by TULLY album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.28 | 8 ratings

Sea of Joy
Tully Eclectic Prog

Review by sl75

4 stars By the time Tully recorded their second album, they'd lost the two members who were not followers of Meher Baba (their original singer and drummer), decided not to replace the drummer, and instead taken on two members of the prog-folk group Extradition. As a result, their music turned even more to the pastoral side, and lost nearly all remaining heavy rock elements. Sea of Joy is the soundtrack to a film - most of the tracks are therefore short functional snippets rather than complete-sounding pieces. Taken separately, they may seem to be a weak collection of pieces. Taken as a whole, the album succeeds in conjuring a meditative atmosphere, and a feeling of connectedness to nature. The weakest moment on the album is "Syndrone", a few minutes of faux-Indian noodling and percussion jamming. The best moments are: - any piece where Richard Lockwood has a flute solo ("Trinidad", "Thank You") - nearly any piece where Michael Carlos is on Hammond ("Sea of Joy" parts 1 & 2, "Brother Son" - not so much "Cat- Clarinet Mit Orgel" where he spends too long improvising on the same stepwise chord progression) - most especially, any piece foregrounding the gorgeous voice of Shayna Stewart ("Trinidad", "Thank You", "Softly Softly", "Down To The Sea").
 Hair by TULLY album cover Studio Album, 1970
2.09 | 2 ratings

Tully Eclectic Prog

Review by sl75

2 stars This is actually the Australian cast recording of the Broadway musical Hair. Tully "+4" (four additional musicians) were the original house band for the production, however their habit of digressing from the score in the most unpredictable ways eventually got them fired! They stayed on the project long enough to record this cast album, and their involvement in the recording is probably the main reason collectors still look for this album. In the controlled environment of the studio, they wouldn't have been able to get away with as much as they could in the pit, so those hoping to hear some of their famous unpredictability will be disappointed. Instead they behave like impeccable show musicians - always solid, but always in the background. You hear some glimpses of their distinctive sound - Michael Carlos' keyboards are often to the fore, and Richard Lockwood makes his presence felt on tracks like "Frank Mills" - but it's not so distinctive as to make this essential listening for anyone who is not a Tully completist, or an obsessive fan of Hair. On the latter point, it's merits as a cast album, there are many other cast albums that would be better purchases. Due to space constraints they do not feature the entire score, only selections arranged in thematic rather than narrative order. It has to be said that this recording features some of the most mediocre singing you'll ever hear on a cast album. Only two singers really stand out for the right reasons - Tully's own Terry Wilson singing "Aquarius", and Creenagh St Clare singing "Walking In Space" - Sharon Redd does a creditable "Easy to Be Hard", though nothing outstanding; Wayne Matthews has a nice trained sounding voice, but doesn't seem to have the flexibility to adapt it to the rock genre, and it's best I not say what I think of any of the other singers.
 Tully by TULLY album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.75 | 7 ratings

Tully Eclectic Prog

Review by sl75

4 stars Tully were arguably Australia's first authentic progressive rock group, and this debut album an important landmark in the local development of the genre. They had a distinctive sound, eschewing guitar, with the lead taken by Michael Carlos's keyboards (piano and Hammond in particular, often double tracked) and Richard Lockwood's mastery of many wind instruments. (Yes, I know they're not the only band with that instrumental configuration - but they don't sound anything like Van Der Graaf Generator.) They drew strongly on modern jazz and psychedelic influences, they could get into serious freak out territory sometime, but they also displayed a delicate, pastoral side, in slower more atmospheric pieces with dominant flute and piano, and an unusual harmonic sense. The easiest comparisons are with Procul Harum (particularly when Carlos doubles Hammond and piano), and early King Crimson (particularly the pastoral side of that band, although they have their Schizoid Man moments too), but they don't sound like copyists of anyone. For me, the highlights of the album are generally the more pastoral moments ("La Nave Bleu", "The Sun Is Shining", "Love", "You Are The World", "The Paradise of Perfect Silence" despite the slightly cheesy recitation), or those pieces where Carlos really goes nuts on the Hammond ("Just About Time") - the closing piece, "Waltz To Understanding", falls into both categories, so is a particular favourite. Opening track "You Realise You Realise", with it's slow anthemic verse devolving into a rushing instrumental passage, is their creditable attempt at a Schizoid Man moment. I'm less impressed with the various pastiche songs on the album (one of the more annoying trends in the psychedelic era) - the Dixieland pastiches "Do You Ever Think Of Nothing" and "Sleepy Head Red", or the hymn-like "Love's White Dove" - or the pure freak out moments like "Phssst" or "Lace Space" - but I'm willing to forgive those because the rest of the album is so strong. I wish someone would release this on CD.

2014 Update: Someone (Chapter Music) has finally released this on CD. Jubilation! One criticism of the outcome - on the original vinyl, side 1 ended with Lockwood's recitation of "The Paradise of Perfect Silence", which was then followed by a perfect silence as the needle lifted from the record - leaving you to contemplate that silence for as long as you wished until you got up to turn the record over. On the CD, Lockwood has barely finished speaking when the drums roll in to begin "Sleepy Head Red" - I find it spoils the mood somewhat. The CD also includes a bonus track, an early recording of "Yesterday", recorded at a time when Tully wrote little original music, instead playing stretched-out and re-arranged covers of pop standards (something they would have begun doing during their collective previous tenure with Levi Smith's Clefs - that band's 1970 album Empty Monkey covered similar territory). It's an interesting historical inclusion.

Thanks to epignosis for the artist addition.

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