Sunday, August 14, 2022

The Seekers: Cloudy

As I wrote when paying tribute to Judith Durham, her bandmate from The Seekers, Bruce Woodley, wrote three songs with Paul Simon. (Woodley is on the right of the group as you look at the thumbnail above.)

One of them, Red Rubber Ball, reached number 2 in the US singles chart when recorded by The Cyrkle. That band also recorded Simon and Woodley's I Wish You Could Be Here.

Their third collaboration was Cloudy, which appeared on the Simon and Garfunkel album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, where it was credited to Paul Simon alone.

I love Paul Simon's music more than is decent, but it wasn't a wholly a surprise to read that this had happened.

All three Simon and Woodley compositions were recorded by The Seekers, and here is their take on Cloudy.

If I have a criticism, it's that this version isn't cloudy at all. It's pure sunshine - a reminder of how good Judith Durham's voice was and how good the male members of the group were as instrumentalists and close harmony singers.

The tinkly line on the piano (if that is what is being used) was probably played by Tom Springfield, who had much to do with the group's success as a songwriter and mentor. (His own folk-to-pop group The Springfields were the first British group to have a top 20 hit in the US,)

In writing this I came across two great facts about Tom Springfield (who was Dusty's brother):

  • His baptismal name was Dionysius O'Brien
  • Like Alan Bennett, Dennis Potter and Michael Frayn, he was a graduate of the Russian course at the Joint Services School for Linguists.

And that's where he came across the Russian folk tune that he turned into The Seekers' best-selling single, The Carnival is Over.

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