Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A World Of Our Own - The Seekers

A World Of Our Own
The Seekers
Columbia 1722/Capitol T2369

I'm not embarrassed that I'm a fan of the Seekers, but I am a little embarrassed that I'm a big enough Seekers fan that I have both the English and American versions of this album.  It was their second album for Capitol Records and I believe their 4th album overall.  I bought the Capitol issue first and then I came across the English version many years later.  I didn't remember the track listing for the Capitol album and I knew that there were often significant differences between the Capitol and EMI issues of albums so I bought the import but in fact the only difference is that the American album has one less track and the English album has much better liner notes.  There might be a little difference in the mix, the American pressing sounds a little clearer to me, but I haven't the patience to compare the two that closely.  I probably ought to get rid of the Capitol album, but I like the cover picture so I keep it for now.  I became a Seekers fan as a child when I fell for "Georgy Girl."  It was one of my favorite songs for many years, I even would watch some of the movie just to hear it although I didn't succeed in sitting all the way through it until I was an adult.  This is genteel folk-pop similar to Peter, Paul and Mary.  The record was produced by Tom Springfield who had been in the similar sounding Springfields with his sister Dusty Springfield.  He also wrote the title song which was a hit single and is the best song on the album.  It is extremely catchy and the group's vocal harmonies are sublime.  The rest of the album consists mostly of a bunch of well-known folk standards including two Dylan songs, "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" and "The Times They Are A'Changin'."  They also do Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" and Ian Tyson's "Four Strong Winds."  Those are all great songs but the Seekers bring nothing new to them.  They do a pair of traditional songs as well, "The Leaving of Liverpool" and "Just A Closer Walk With Thee."  The former is my second favorite song on the record and boasts one of Judith Durham's best vocals.  The latter has been done a million times and I'm partial to the Patsy Cline version myself.  I love Durham's voice but this version seems lackluster to me.  "Allentown Jail" benefits from a more passionate vocal from Durham and she single-handedly rescues Bob Gibson's "You Can Tell The World" from folkie tedium.  She takes the mike after the first verse and brings the song to life.  Group guitarist and banjo player, Bruce Woodley, wrote a pair of songs for the record.  I like "Two Summers" which is a lovely and moving song.  It is one of the best on the record.  I enjoy his "Don't Tell Me My Mind" as well but its familiar babe-I-got-to-ramble lyrics bore me.  The biggest dud on this record is the old-timey instrumental "Whistling Rufus" which Capitol left off the American version of this album.  The only good thing about it is that it is short.  Ultimately how you feel about this album will probably depend on how you feel about Judith Durham.  I like her big voice and enthusiasm.  Even though I think some of the music is pedestrian, her singing makes it special.  Recommended for We Five fans who don't like electric guitars.

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