Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Searchers: Coming From the Heart

(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.



So, if you`re a lover of power-pop, new wave, obscure Dylan covers or things Beatlesque, my heartfelt recommendation is that you go to Amazon and order the two Sire albums, The Searchers and Love`s Melodies or pick-up The Rockfield Sessions which pairs both albums together.


4 comments:

  1. I just picked up the Rockfield Sessions last year and it is an incredible collection of edgy pop rock. I remember spinning "Hearts in Her Eyes" as a college radio DJ in the early 1980s but had forgotten about the rest. This is a real jem that is deserving of rediscovery!

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  2. CallPastorJerkfaceJuly 18, 2011 at 9:37 AM

    Thanks so much for getting me into the "new wave" Searchers via the Rockfield Sessions! Those albums are fantastic thought, yeah, I could easily live without the Dylan cover. I'm also not a huge fan of the lyric re-writes in "September Gurls" but that vocal part they added to the ending totally makes up for it.

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  3. Hi,

    These are great recorders. They are in that quite rare group of "comeback" or "reunion" albums by mid-1960s-era folks that actually go beyond competent to actually being welcome additions to the band's output and that could stand on their one if these were the band's first releases ever.

    Fractured grammar, but I think you get what I am saying.

    Ace K.

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  4. E-Mann
    Let's hope enough people buy it that we get a deluxe re-issue!

    CPJ
    I love the Dylan cover but it doesn't really sound like one of his.

    Ace K
    I get you loud and clear - a comeback that trumps the original!

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