In the summer of 1974 Ronnie Lane and the band Slim Chance toured Britain with clowns, fire eaters, caravans, and a handful of great songs (not to mention Viv Stanshall as the ringmaster). It was called THE PASSING SHOW. The venue was a circus tent. The idea was to turn up practically unannounced and have a great time.
What happened next has gone into Rock & Roll history. Drew McCulloch was in Slim Chance for the duration.
Since then Drew has recorded 3 solo albums and worked with artists as diverse as Cliff Richard, Jim Davidson Go West and Gary Numan. Enjoy an evening of Ronnie Lane and Gallagher & Lyle classics, and original songs from Drew’s amazingly talented Spirit of Slim Chance band.
As a writer / producer and musician, Drew McCulloch has worked for Sir Cliff Richard, Gary Numan, Jim Davidson, Go West, Isla St Clair, Denny Lane, and many others. He now writes music for TV and radio, as well as recording 3 studio albums of original songs. His 1974 album “A Salty Tale” lay gathering dust for 30 years before being finally released in 2007. It has been called a forgotten treasure and is a who’s who of great session players including members of Fairport Convention, Wings, Cat Stevens and Elvis Costello.
Robin Lucas & Drew McCulloch were a Scottish song writing duo originally from Ayrshire before moving to London. They were signed to British Lion Music, writing songs and touring with a number of acts including John Martyn and The Pretty Things often playing at The Marquee Club, in Wardour Street, Soho, London.
When Gallagher and Lyle left Ronnie Lane’s Slim Chance, (the band Ronnie formed after quitting The Faces in 1973) Ronnie’s manager Billy Gaff asked Lucas & McCulloch to take their place. At the time, Lucas played guitar & McCulloch played guitar and keyboards. So this presented a bit of a problem as Gallagher and Lyle also played mandolin, banjo, and accordion! So they lied and claimed they could play those too, then immediately bought the instruments and spent the next three weeks learning how to play them.
They also played with Slim Chance in Ronnie’s UK live tour known as ‘The Passing Show’ which was a bizarre kind of carnival, complete with tents, barkers, etc with Kenny Slaven and Bill Barclay. Viv Stanshall, from the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, was the ringmaster for a time until his penchant for alcohol got in the way.
This in turn led to a recording deal with Polydor, and eventually a producers post in Rock City Studios in Shepperton.
– Working in Shepperton Film Studios was great, says Drew, especially at lunchtime; they filmed Superman, Star Wars, and Alien while I was there, so you never quite knew what strange creature would be standing next to you at the bar.
Drew worked with Gary Numan when he made “Cars” and with Peter Cox from Go West. He wrote “Learning How to Rock and Roll” for Cliff Richard, and produced several records for Comedian Jim Davidson.
Drew also had a top 3 hit with the Tartan Army hit “Scotland Be Good”.
“A Salty Tale”, Drew McCulloch’s previously unreleased album from 1977 features a true all star line up: Dave Mattacks (Fairport Convention, Nick Drake, Brian Eno, EBTG, George Harrison, XTC, Paul McCartney…), Bruce Lynch (Cat Stevens, Murray Head, Mickey Jupp, Kate Bush…), Laurence Juber (Wings, Alan Parsons, Belinda Carlisle, Ringo Starr, solo), Ricky Hitchcock (Love & Kisses, Walker Brothers, Roger Daltrey), Kenny Slaven (Ronnie Lane’s Slim Chance), B.J.Cole (Elvis Costello, Humble Pie, Joe Strummer, Beck, Bjork, Squeeze, Julian Cope and almost everybody else…), Ray Warley (Roy Harper ), Tessa Niles (Paul McCartney, David Bowie, George Harrison, Rolling Stones, The The, Duran Duran, Pet Shop Boys…), Chris Thompson (Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Mike Oldfield, Alan Parsons…), orchestra led by Gavyn Wright (Penguin Café Orchestra, Simpy Red, EBTG, The The, XTC, Prefab Sprout…) and arrangements by Dr. Richard Niles (Paul McCartney, Dusty Springfield, Cat Stevens, Swing Out Sister, Pet Shop Boys, Kylie Minogue and many others)!