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As a high school student, I almost never listened to current music on purpose. The end date for my musical tastes ended right around 1973, but I knew enough about the bands and the period that I could converse competently with adults more than twice my age about it.
The only Seekers’ song that was in regular rotation on the local “oldies” station, WJMK Chicago, was, of course, “Georgy Girl”. I always loved the song, from the upbeat whistling, to the encouragement given to a girl who seemed maybe as awkward as I was.
Later on, I would end up buying the entire Rhino 9-disc “British Invasion” collection (the first 4 came in a boxed, for the others, I had to keep checking at Best Buy over the course of many months to see if another disc was in stock) and finally heard songs like “I Know I’ll Never Find Another You” and learned a little bit more about the band – including that they are from Australia, not the UK!
Somewhere during that time, I also found the Seekers’ album “Georgy Girl” (LP, of course) at a yard sale for something like $1.50. The album really made me realize that the group was more of a folk group than most – not nearly as folkie as Peter, Paul, and Mary, but at the album level, there was a lot of overlap in songs. I had been a Peter, Paul, and Mary fan pretty much since I was born, and think that they have a lot of the best versions of a lot of folk songs. However, to hear Judith Durham sing alone made the Seekers’ versions worth it. I really consider her to be one of the best female singers out there.
And so, this music memory is to mention the death of Judith Durham, who passed away this week at the age of 79. I consider all the public weeping and wailing over celebrities and musicians pretty weird, but there is a certain sadness that comes about when someone so very talented is no longer with us.
Back to Georgy Girl, though. As I was learning to play recorder, there were two “hard” songs that I worked on a lot to be able to play. One was “Jig” from The Little Mermaid, but first, there was Georgy Girl. I remember sitting in my grandmother’s farmhouse, using the music from Great Songs of the Sixties as a guide when I couldn’t quite figure things out by ear. I think it was the first song I ever played that heavily used the second octave, and I learned how to play it – and developed muscle memory – with a couple of the notes fingered incorrectly (or shall I say, “alternatively”). It was a song that I played many, many times down the halls of my high school. It was a song that was instantly recognizable, cheerful, and powerful enough with the high notes so as to allow the recorder not to get instantly drowned out by the noise of hundreds of high school kids milling about. More than that, it’s a song that Judith Durham sang so perfectly it almost immediately became a classic.
As always, I am thankful for the music!