During the 60's, he trained as a teacher in Armidale and taught in schools in New South Wales before recording his first album for Col Joye's ATA records in 1972, under his own name.
He recorded this debut album with the assistance of respective artists such as Graham Lowndes and Duncan McGuire (Ayers Rock). The album was released in June 1972 and although it received some excellent reviews, nothing much came of it, probably because his record company ATA did nothing to promote it. They did manage to get out a poster three months after it had been released but it received no airplay to speak of. Two singles were lifted from the album "Some Other Sunrise" and "Suzie, Get Off This Train" but neither made an impression on the charts. In my opinion, ATA should have released "Lonely Man" as a single, as it is clearly the strongest track on the album. Col didn't like his new material so he left and Mike recorded his next (and all subsequent albums) with EMI Australia.
|Mike McClellan On GTK 1972|
In 1975, he released a third album on the EMI label entitled 'Until The Song Is Done' but this too made no real impact on the charts as did the single "Carry Me".
In March, 1976 Mike came up with a more aggressive, rock style sound on his 'Coming Up For Air album'. A single, 'Caddie' (inspired by the movie) was lifted from it and its release coincided with his successful tour of Australia with Melanie.
Mike was noted as much for his songwriting as for his singing and his material was recorded overseas by several artists, including Rick Nelson.
A proposed trip to the US following an offer to record in Nashville unfortunately didn't materialise and it wasn't until mid 1977 that Mike surfaced again with an album and a single entitled 'Another Night'.
In September '77 he recorded a live album for EMI which was released in November under the title of An Evening With Mike McClellan - Live. [extract from Noel McGrath's Australian Encyclopedia Of Rock, Outback Press, 1978. p215-216]
Through all the demands on his time he still managed to release a new album in 1990. The Heartland is considered by many who know his work to be as good as anything he has recorded and marked a return to the EMI label.
He subsequently sold his share holding in Kazoo to re-establish Mike McClellan Pty Ltd and take complete control of his own destiny once more. He needed the time to write for himself and take advantage of the dramatic changes that had been happening in the communications industry.
1998 marked the release of a single commissioned for Warner Music. But the three songs it contained were a little different to past McClellan discs. They were tributes to three great Australian sportsmen, Mark Taylor, the much-admired former Aussie cricket captain, the great Sir Donald Bradman, and David Campese, often called “the Bradman of Rugby.”
Late 2001 saw the release of a comprehensive retrospective of his recording career. Personally chosen and carefully remastered from the original tapes Time. And Time Again. is a double CD containing 35 of his best songs. Among them are re-recordings of two from his very first album, a studio version of California Cool that was only ever released as a B side on a single and New York City Blues, a never before released gem that was recorded during the sessions for The Heartland CD but didn’t fit comfortably with the other songs.
Late 2001 also saw the first of what were standout concerts with his old friends Kevin Johnson (who wrote Rock’n Roll I Gave You All The Best Years of My Life) and Doug Ashdown (Winter In America). A sell out crowd at Sydney’s Basement and a standing ovation said it all – “Their artistic and intelligent acoustic alchemy had a capacity house singing, stamping and tingling beyond the witching hour. A night indelibly imprinted”, said Glenn A. Baker.
In 2005, in conjunction with Andrew Pattison, who established Melbourne’s premier acoustic venue the Troubadour, he brought to Australia and shared the bill with the wonderful US singer/songwriter Danny O’Keefe. The concert crowds reinforced his belief that there was still a sizeable, enthusiastic audience in Australia for acoustic music of depth, conviction and real quality.
|Mike McClellan Today - Still Playing|
2011 saw the release of his first album of new songs in 20 years. In reviewing it for Country Update Pat Drummond called it "a stunning new CD. In the context of a long and illustrious career this is a very special album.... for one of Australia's most influential country/folk legends."
Mike took to the road again in 2011 playing concerts across the country to standing ovations. As a performer he just seems to get better with time and it is a tribute to his talent that many in his audiences have been coming to see him sing for well over 40 years. And now, 40 years after Song and Danceman hit the charts he is releasing a new CD, Dancing In The Rain. If the initial reaction is any indication this one is even better than the last.
Reviewing one of Mike’s Troubadour performances for the Melbourne Age some years ago journalist Paul Speelman wrote, “McClellan is a national asset”. His 2011 CD, If only for a moment… only added to his reputation as one of our finest singer songwriters. The new one, Dancing In The Rain, will surely enhance what is already an exceptional body of work. [extract from Mike's Website]
This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from my rare vinyl copy (I've never seen another copy) and includes full album artwork and label scans. Mike McClellan has a voice and sound that is similar to Justin Hayward (Moody Blues), Michael Murphy and on occasions, even John Denver. As song writers go, he is as good as Doug Ashdown, John Williamson and Hans Poulsen. One observation however, is that his track "Playing It By Ear"
sounds a little like Harry Nilsson's megahit "Everybody's Talkin'" and as good as Mike's song sounds, one has to wonder.
As a bonus, I have included several live tracks taken from some early 70's GTK appearances, sourced from Youtube.
If you like this post, then stay tuned - cause' I've got a couple more albums of Mikes to post in the future which you are really going to enjoy.
01 - Blues For Ginny
02 - There Is A Place
03 - Love Is A Lady
04 - Country Morning
05 - Will She Come?
06 - Lonely Man
07 - Some Other Sunrise
08 - The Fiddler
09 - Playing It By Ear
10 - Nursery Rhyme
11 - Where Will I Be Tomorrow?
12 - Susie Get Me Off This Train
13 - (Bonus) Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues (GTK) *
14 - (Bonus) Some Other Sunrise (GTK 1971) *
* Sourced from YouTube
Credits:Mike McClellan - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Grahame Lister - Harmony vocals, Acoustic Rhythm Guitar
Red McKelvie - Electric Guitar
Duncan McGuire - Bass Guitar
Warren Daly - Drums
Gillian McIntyre - Violin
John Capek - Piano
Billy Weston - String Arrangements
Mike McClellan MP3 Link (112Mb)
Mike McClellan FLAC Link (269Mb)