on January 3, 2008
Among Christmas Albums, "Morningtown Ride to Christmas" shines like the jewel it is. Other reviewers have rightfully called it a masterpiece. This will not surprise long-time fans of the Seekers, familiar with this wonderful Australian group's time-honored ability to achieve pure magic on any song they touch. Such loyal fans need no persuasion to acquire this album.
This review is for those unfamiliar with the Seekers, particularly Americans. We did not get a chance to fully know the Seekers at the height of their popularity in the mid 1960's, due to lack of touring and promotion within the U.S. That was truly a loss to America. This Christmas album will demonstrate the genius of the Seekers: their ability to use simple acoustic instruments, combined with traditional song arrangements, and perform with incredible power, beauty and harmony. The Seekers are difficult to compare with any other group, past or present, as their beautiful harmonies and style are so unique. Originally classed in the simpler days of the 1960's as Pop/Folk/Gospel, the Seekers are best described as being in a class by themselves. To attempt description of the Seekers style would require reference to Blues, Jazz, Folk, Bluegrass, Country, Gospel, Soft Rock, and more, and even that attempt would fall far short.
The Seekers are Judith Durham, Athol Guy, Keith Potger, and Bruce Woodley. Judith, blessed with perfect pitch, has a voice that ranks as one of the finest in the world. It is difficult to bring to mind, a singer today, capable of matching the range, power and beauty of Judith's voice. Her voice will be distantly familiar to many older Americans, due to the 1967 worldwide hit "Georgy Girl", probably the only Seekers song that actually got decent radio airtime in the U.S. The "Boys", Athol, Keith and Bruce, provide incredible harmonies of absolute perfection with Judith, another Seekers trademark. Bruce provides his rich baritone as lead or co-lead on some songs. The awesome guitar (6 & 12-string), banjo, and mandolin skills of Keith and Bruce also enhance this beautiful album. Athol's skill with the double bass is equally impressive, whether used as an upright bass, or as a bass violin.
"Morningtown Ride to Christmas" will become a favorite Christmas Album for most. Do not be surprised if this album launches a search for other Seekers albums. The magic of the Seekers is evident in all they sing, whether classed as Pop, Gospel, Folk or Christmas. Over many years, the Seekers' wide range of music, performed with matchless skill, sounds as good or better live as in their studio recordings. The Seekers can cover an incredibly wide range of music with such superb skill, that there simply exists no other group to compare them with. The Seekers, Judith, Athol, Keith and Bruce, are truly in a class by themselves.