(Image courtesy of Music Station)
Like much of the population of the Western World, I grew up unreservedly loving The Beatles (even though they broke up a few months after I was born). Also, like many, I've always had more mixed feeling for what Beatlemania wrought in their native land. Don't get me wrong, I can hum those once ubiquitous Merseybeat-era hits by bands like The Hollies, The Dave Clark Five and The Searchers but they sound far more frozen in a black & white time.
(tronvierundzwanzig videotaped a German show of the band in this era and considering the obvious limitations it`s an astounding document in eleven parts!)
So how strange was it for me to discover a few years ago that The Searchers had made a break for full-colour modernity in the years between 1979-1982. After having played on the cabaret circuit for much of the decade, the band signed to Sire Records and recorded two amped-up power-pop albums brimming with fantastic songs. The band, never their own primary writers dug into some of the best writing since they'd left the scene. That means diggings up neglected mid-seventies songs like Big Star's "September Gurls" and John Fogerty's "Almost Saturday Night`, covering some of the great writers to emerge from what we called New Wave (John Hiat, The Records`Will Birch, Tom Petty and Mickey Jupp) and, of course the de rigeur Dylan obscurity, `Coming From the Heart``. Though the song is hardly top-drawer Dylan (it`s one a series of never-released songs he co-wrote with back-up singer Helena Springs in the late seventies),`Coming From the Heart`` works quite well in this context (though it may well veer a little too close to the slick sounds of AOR for fans of either Dylan or punky power-pop).
Earlier in their career the band had covered one of Dylan`s finest outtakes, ``Lay Down Your Weary Tune`but only ever played it live.