Friday, December 15, 2006

The Seekers

The Seekers came to England in 1963, Judith Durham fronted the four piece folk group with Keith Potger, Athol Guy and Bruce Woodley. Their debut UK single was released in 1964 and reached the number one position in February of the following year. Selling over 1.75 million copies, this was the first time an Australian group had a number one hit outside Australia. Meantime Judith Durham joined an elite group of four female singers to top the UK charts. I never find another you sold well in the states and was of course number one in Australia.

Keen to follow up with another success the group released and other Tom Springfield song. If you listen carefully to this song you may hear Judith on autoharp and the distinctive sound of Keith's 12 string guitar hook.

After the demise of the Springfields, Tom Springfield took on the Seekers and produced and wrote most of their hits songs. They say things come in three so it was no surprise when the Seekers released their third single written by Tom Springfield it would give the group a hat trick of number ones in the UK and Australia. Inexplicably the song did nothing in the States. “We shall not be moved,” was the B side to the Carnival is Over and vied with, You'll never walk alone as the UK soccer supporters anthem. A true folk song embraced by the populous.

Their next single was a Paul Simon composition but proved less commercially successful. Paul Simon and Bruce became close friends and wrote several songs together including Red Rubber Ball which was a smash hit for Cyrkle.

A folk group competing with beat music at the time was very difficult and the Seekers dipped in popularity. Still capable of reaching the charts with respectable sales Walk with me made the top ten.

Morning town ride was the group's Christmas single in 1966 and when released it firmly reestablished them in the number one position, yet again. The song had previously been included in an earlier album but was rerecorded and then released as a single. It sold over one million copies.

Their next success was a song written for a movie based on a Margaret Forster novel. It was never intended to be released as a single but when their record company did so, it proved to be their most popular works. The comedy, Georgy Girl was an important film at the time with a strong moral message. It starred James Mason and Lynn Redgrave, subject and stars determined an international success. The Seekers went to number one in the US displacing The Monkee's "I'm a believer".

Their next release was a Kenny Young song entitled When will the good apples fall and was the last Seekers song to make the top forty. This was at a time when the Beatles and Stones were in their heyday and the folk boom was well and truly over.

Judith's voice was every bit as crystal clear as Joan Baez but female singers were becoming passé. Tom Springfield produced their last chart success with Emerald City. Despite the hype surrounding their new producer, Mickie Most. The Seeker's next single failed to chart but was an excellent recording.

By 1968 the record buying public could be divided into two groups, those who slavishly bought single releases, and those who purchased albums. Whilst the Seekers had little success with their singles, the sales of their albums told a different story. The Bruce Woodley song, Love is kind, love is wine was a live recording and was taken from the highly successful album entitled "Live at the Talk of the Town."

Judith and the boys continued to release singles in Australia and in the States in 1968, although On the other side failed to chart, it does illustrate how the group had developed musically.

Their fans were out there and when "The Best of the Seekers" was released in the same year, it went straight to number one in the UK charts, and stayed there for 125 weeks! As a tribute to the Springfields, they released Island of dreams which had been produced by Tom Springfield and appeared on an earlier album "Come the day". The B side to Island of dreams was Red Rubber Ball, which perhaps in hindsight may have been a more successful A side.

The group changed record companies in 1969 and their first release was a Judith Durham and David Reilly composition. The song was released in Australia in 1993 where it raced up the charts peaking at Number 3 position and eventually going platinum with sales in excess of 140,000 copies. The Seekers were alive and well albeit the group had broken up several years before but would get together occasionally to perform and record.

Judith Durham continues to record and probably is better now as a singer than she was when playing with the Seekers. Far shore is a superior recording and displays the true voice of a diva. Despite extensive airplay in the UK, the single was only released in Australia.

Worth a listen:
I’ll never find another you (1964)
A world of our own (1965)
The Carnival is over (1965)
We shall not be moved (1965)
Someday, one day (1966)
Walk with me (1966)
Morning town ride (1966)
Georgy Girl (1967)
When will the good apples fall (1967)
Emerald City (1967)
Days of my life (1968)
Love is kind, love is wine (1968)
On the other side (1968)
Island of dreams (1968)
Colours of my life (1969)
Waltzing Matilda (1987)
Keep a dream in your pocket (1993)
Far shore
Bush girl

No comments: