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(2001/Castle) 31 tracks PYE 1963-68
Famous for their chart-topping version of The Beatles' classic 'Michele', The Overlanders spent three years with Pye 1963-68,
blending folk, pop, country and harmony pop via countles 45s, an EP and an album, all included here for the first time, remastered on CD.
Summer Skies And Golden Sands
Call Of The Wild
Gone The Rainbow
Don't It Make You Feel Good
Sing A Song Of Sadness
If I Gave You
I Wonder Why
The Leaves Are Falling
Along Came Jones
Walking The Soles Off My Shoes
Take The Bucket To The Well
Room Enough For You And Me
Cradle Of Love
Girl From Indiana
Go Where You Wanna Go
Don't Let It Happen Again
Circle Lines Blues
Love Is Strange
Have A Drink On Me (with The Settlers)
Pick A Bale Medley (with the Settlers): Pick
A Bail Of Cotton/Sally Don't Your Grieve/
Goodnight Irene/Down By The Riverside
Top customer reviews
The Overlanders were originally a trio composed of Paul Arnold (piano & guitar), Lori Mason (piano & harmonica), and Peter Bartholomew (guitar), with all three doing the singing. They were part of the British folk revival of the early 1960s and some of the tracks in this collection are pure folk music, most notably the lovely "Gone the Rainbow," which blows the familiar Peter, Paul & Mary version away. The group recorded with the Pye label, with Tony Hatch, who also worked with the Searchers as well as Petula Clark (his wife), producing their records. What you have on "Michelle: The Pye Anthology" are the group's records in the order they were produced. "Movin'" and "Rainbow" were the two sides of their second 45, while their third, a cover of Chad & Jeremy's "Yesterday's Gone" was ironically the first non-original song they released and their only chart success (#75) in the U.S.
With both the guitar playing and the vocal harmonies being well above average I am at a loss ot explain why we did not hear more of the Overlanders. "Don't It Make You Feel Good" is a better song than a lot of the British Invasion songs that made it to the Top 10 on this side of the pond and "Room Enough for You and Me" is pretty good too. In 1965 they evolved into a legitiamte beat group by adding Terry Widlake (bass) and David Walsh (drums) and had their big moment when the Beatles released "Rubber Soul." Lots of groups covers songs from the album (e.g., the Hollies did "If I Needed Someone"), but the Overlanders took "Michelle" to the top of the charts in the U.K. for three weeks in January 1966. The differences from the Beatles version are obvious, with the song being more of a rock song and not as light as what the Fab Four released. Some of you are going to find that you might actually like this cover a bit better than the original. The B side of the single, "Cradle of Love," is more representative of the group's sound, and reaffirms that the Overlanders usually had good songs on both sides of their 45s.
This is the only Overlanders album you need because this includes their complete recordings. The title makes it sound like they went on to record with another label, but that is not the case. After the success of "Michelle" the Overlanders returned to their folk routes doing familiar American folk songs like Woody Guthrie's "This Land" and "Pick a Pale of Cotton." You will get a chuckle out of "Circle Line Blues," which is obviously a London vesion of the Kingston Trio's "M.T.A." In the 1970s Arnold toured with the New Overlanders, who were strictly a folk group. But as you will hear in these 31 tracks, the Overlanders were much more than that. It is just too bad that what we have here is not just their best but everything that they ever recorded.
They had begun their career in the Folk genre, but unfortunately for them that boom was winding down in popularity and so they switched their approach closer to the more contemporary sound stirring in 1963 and known as The Merseybeat Sound, but still incorporating a distinctive “folk” feel. Their first two singles came out in July and Oct 1963 for Pye Records - the lovely Summer Skies And Golden Sands b/w Call Of The Wild (Pye 7N 15544) and Movin' b/w Rainbow (Pye 7N 15568). The first one struck a chord with Mercury Records in the U.S who picked it up and released it as Mercury 72165, attracting some decent local/regional interest.
None of the sides made any impact on the U.K. charts, however, nor did their 3rd release there, a cover of the late 1963 Chad & Jeremy U.K. hit Yesterday’s Gone b/w Gone The Rainbow (Pye 7N 151619) which for them was released in March 1964. But Yesterday’s Gone did crack the U.S. Billboard Pop Hot 100 at # 75 in the May-June stretch of 1964 after being picked up by the Nashville-based Country outlet Hickory Records. In Aug 1964 the U.K. single Don’t It Make You Feel Good? b/w Sing A Song Of Sadness once more flopped there (Pye 7N 15678), but in the U.S. the A-side again did well enough regionally as Hickory 1275 to keep the label’s interest.
The failures, though, kept repeating in the U.K. well into 1965, several of them covers of old hits: If I Gave You b/w I Wonder Why (Pye 7N 15712 in Oct 1964); The Leaves Are Falling b/w Delia Gone (Pye 7N 15719 in Nov 1964); Along Came Jones b/w Walking The Soles Off My Shoes (Pye 7N 15804 in March 1965); Freight Train b/w Take The Bucket To The Well (Pye 7N 15883 in June 1965); and Room Enough For You And Me b/w January (Pye 7N 15967 in Oct 1965). Hickory, meanwhile did a mix-and-match with some of those sides, releasing January b/w The Leaves Are Falling as Hickory 1295 and Rainbow b/w Take The Bucket To The Well as Hickory 1327, both in late 1965. To no avail.
Then they covered the Lennon-McCartney composition Michelle and in January 1966 it became their only charted side in the U.K., reaching # 1 as Pye 7N 17034 b/w Cradle Of Love, and when released in the U.S. as Hickory 1362, Michelle made it to # 117 Hot 100 Bubble Under in January. Back in the U.K., though, neither of My Life b/w Girl From Indiana (Pye 7N 17068 in March 1966 nor Go Where You Wanna Go b/w Don't Let It Happen Again (Pye 7N 17159 in Aug 1966) generated enough interest to get them back on those charts. The same fate befell their last two U.S. releases in 1966: My Life b/w Girl From Indiana as Hickory 1384 and Shanghai Rooster b/w Leaves Are Falling as Hickory 1427. By this time Arnold had departed to pursue a solo career, with his spot taken by Ian Griffiths.
They did have two U.K. albums released in 1965/66 (see their contents in the Comments below) but neither was released in the U.S. At the moment you have two choices when it comes to CD compilations of their music. - the 2007 BMG Japan 22-track limited edition, and from Castle, the 2002 31-track release titled “Michelle: The Pye Anthology.” However, I seriously doubt anyone is going to fork over the used price currently being asked for the latter, so as matters now stand your best bet is the BMG Japan release as it contains all key sides.