Aonghus McAnally & Maxband
‘Celtic Rock’ band Mushroom broke up in 1974 after a pretty successful few years and leaving behind the classic album Early One Morning, released in Ireland in late 1973 and in Canada in 1975. Percussionist Colm Lynch went on to release four solo albums in his adoptive Denmark, but the biggest name to emerge from Mushroom was Aonghus McAnally. The son of noted theatre and film actor Ray McAnally, Aonghus, with his huge mane of red hair, was the singer/guitarist/tin whistler with the band.
After Mushroom split, McAnally eventually joined forces with Adrian Mullen from Chips, singer Dee ‘Julie’ McMahon and the three survivors of the Miami Showband massacre – Des McAlea, Stephen Travers and Ray Miller – as Starband. They released a single in late 1978, Kiss Me, Kiss Your Baby / If I Had You Back Again. In 1980, Travers and McAnally left Starband to form ska/pop band Crackers and recorded the single Move On / Billies, after which McAnally left and the remaining band-members became The Crack. It’s not clear exactly when Aonghus released this solo single, but most likely it was shortly after this. With backing from the mysterious Maxband, and issued on their own MAX label, the disc featured a faithful cover of the Bachman Turner Overdrive hit. Of interest to Mushroom fans, the ‘B’ side – the traditional reel Drowsy Maggie – had also been on the Early One Morning album, and the version here compares well.
There was apparently another solo single – a novelty Christmas song from 1981 – but from this point Aonghus McAnally followed a career as a TV presenter and producer. He became nationally known to a generation of children as a co-presenter of RTE’s Anything Goes in the ’80s. The Saturday morning show included play-along guitar lessons from McAnally, and among the many musical guests were The Crack. He later presented inexplicably popular game show The Lyrics Board, among many others, and still performs occasionally.
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