The Platinum Album, the latest release from Judith Durham, most famously the former lead singer of ’60s folk-pop band, The Seekers, demonstrates that she has lost none of her vocal prowess over the years.
Resembling many of her post-Seekers releases, it contains a few jazzy numbers, one or two of a blues persuasion, a few covers, and two of The Seekers most popular numbers, ‘Morningtown Ride’ and ‘The Carnival Is Over’.
Durham has struggled post-Seekers to be accepted as a major artist in her own right. While no-one would ever deny her own inate talent as a singer, her songwriting abilities are perhaps not as accomplished as those of her former band members, and pale into consideration against the work of the Springfields, who wrote so many of The Seekers most famous numbers. So she tends to include a number of cover versions and re-arrangements in her works as well, to which she of course adds her own sterling, vocal soundtrack.
This album is typical, in this regard. The jazzy-ness of the opening track, ‘After You’ve Gone’, is counterpoised by the almost melancholic blues-based ‘Jelly Bean Blues’, with perhaps the best track being ‘Northern Lights’.
A quirky addition is her version, put to music, of AB Paterson’s ‘Clancy Of The Overflow’.
Durham has just re-emerged from hospital, after a short illness, to celebrate her 70th year, and it is perhaps ironic that one of the better tracks on the album is her rendition of former Seekers bandmate, Bruce Woodley’s ‘I am Australian’, an attempt at a new Australian national anthem, made famous by its use as the backing track to a series of Qantas ads.
Here the indigenous verse is sung by the recently deceased Yolgnu man, Dr Yunupingu, former lead singer of rock band Yothu Yindi, in what may become yet another of his musical legacies.
An album for the Judith Durham faithful, but with enough to interest a casual listener.
Judith’s voice shows little of the passage of her 70 years and is at the heart of what makes this album special.
Listen to a medley of tracks from Judith’s new album on Soundcloud: