Although the Seekers have a five-CD box set released in Australia, it's hard to argue with the title of this two-disc European compilation, which focuses on the group's mid-'60s heyday. In the U.S., they were a two-hit wonder, those hits being "I'll Never Find Another You" and "Georgy Girl." In the U.K., they had six Top Ten hits, plus a couple that got to number eleven. Of course, all of those are included on a set containing 50 tracks that runs 131-and-a-half minutes. The rest of the material provides strong evidence of both the Seekers' talents and their limitations. There is a bright dividing line in '60s pop music between the musicians who, in the wake of the Beatles, learned to write their own songs and those who didn't. Although they fell under the wing of Tom Springfield, (who wrote "I'll Never Find Another You" and co-wrote "Georgy Girl") early on, the Seekers did have a songwriter in their midst, Bruce Woodley, who collaborated occasionally with Paul Simon, notably on his most successful composition (unfortunately, not a Seekers hit, although they cover it here), "Red Rubber Ball." His association with Simon also brought the group an otherwise unheralded Simon song (and one of those number elevens), "Someday One Day." But he was not prolific enough to turn the Seekers into a group that primarily generated its own material. Springfield brought them most of their hits, with Judith Durham singing lead in her warm, Judy Collins-like voice, and then they filled up their albums with cover songs, on which other members sometimes took the lead. Those covers fill up this album, too, to the extent that a large part of the collection could be called, "The Seekers Sing the Folk-Pop Hits of the '60s." They present their versions of songs written by and/or associated with Peter, Paul & Mary, Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, Joan Baez, Simon & Garfunkel, the Beatles, the Mamas & the Papas, and so on, all of them done effectively, but none any better than their originators. In this sense, an "ultimate" Seekers collection may be a bit more than even a loyal fan needs. And despite the length of the set, the sequencing and mastering are questionable. A decision has been made to push the hits up to the front, but thereafter the tracks are all mixed up, and since their sound quality is quite variable -- some clear and powerful (and recently remastered), some sounding the worse for wear, some in stereo, some in mono -- the listening experience is inconsistent. Still, one gets a good sense of the Seekers' music at the peak of their success on this collection. ~ William Ruhlmann
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