If you are a fan of The Seekers, you will need to decide if this 2009 four-CD release "All Bound For Morningtown" is worth adding to your library. Most of this material is already available on the five-CD set "The Seekers Complete" which was released in 1995. What this set has going for it is really good audio quality, a never before available song "Paper Bird", four Judith Durham solo rarities and the inclusion of the "Live At The Talk of The Town" 1968 concert that has been available on CD, but seems to be very hard to find. In addition, you get to compare mono/stereo mixes of most of their single releases. So, what isn't here? The earlier set offers the first recordings the group made in Australia - twelve "audition" songs plus some of the tracks from their W&G album. This material is only licensed for release by E.M.I.-Australia so that is why it isn't included here. The booklet with this album is good, but not extensive. Graham Simpson wrote the album notes for both box sets and the information included with "The Seekers Complete" has much more detail on each of the songs, studios used and even credit to the recording engineers. One wishes E.M.I. had allowed Mr. Simpson more space in their booklet and had also given us more documentation (if available) on the recording dates, alternate takes and the mono/stereo mixes.
"THE SEEKERS COMPLETE": It is interesting to note that the group cut new versions of seven of their audition songs for their W&G album, but these are not included. The original W&G album "Introducing The Seekers" is available on CD, although it is a bit hard to find. An English company, Vocalion, has released these twelve songs under the title "The Seekers" with the original U.K. and American cover picture and running order. Searching for this title will pull up a whole lot of releases, so you have to do some digging to find the correct one. By the way, they have mastered their release in electronic stereo, but it sounds great by switching your music system into the mono mode. You do need to listen very closely to hear the differences between the audition and the final versions, so unless you are a hard-core fan you won`t be missing anything critical. "The Seekers Complete" has only four of the "Talk of The Town" songs - just those that are not duplicated on any of their regular studio recordings. The album also includes Australian concert recordings from 1965 and 1993, plus some early radio performances. The odd thing about "The Seekers Complete" is that "I Wish You Could Be Here" from the "Come The Day" album is not included. It is mentioned in the notes, but seems to have gotten lost in the mastering of the album.
If you already own "The Seekers Complete" and a copy of "Live At The Talk of The Town", you will get only a limited number of new tracks with "All Bound For Morningtown". If you don't have "The Seekers Complete" and "Live At The Talk of The Town", then this release is a good choice. If you are only looking for their hits, "The Capitol Collectors Series" CD has lots of "A" and "B" sides of their singles and only a few album tracks. Hidden at the end is a Coke radio commercial. You also happen to get "I Wish You Could Be Here". The booklet with the disk has lots of good information, but it is slanted toward the American Capitol releases.
As you can see, if you want it all, then you need to buy both box sets and the Vocalion CD. If you are limited to just one purchase, then my vote is for "All Bound For Morningtown" since the "Talk of The Town" recordings are great performances and very hard to find.