THE SEARCHERS – IN FOCUS

Incorporating records from ex-members Chris Curtis and Tony Jackson


Here are some of my random thoughts and words about The Searchers over the years. All of the original Searchers blog posts on my old website have since been deleted so no label scans or picture sleeves are available. Instead, I’ve used images scanned from monthly music magazine ‘Record Collector’.

THE SEARCHERS – ”Umbrella Man” / ”Pussy Willow Dream” (Liberty 15 159) November 1968

The Searchers disc ”Umbrella Man” came up in conversation earlier this week. This one dates from late 1968 and was written by Kenny Young. Classy orchestrated pop but by now The Searchers were totally ignored in Britain although it faired better in some European countries especially Germany.

Not at all well known, the UK release on Liberty is both sought after and hard to find. The German ”Umbrella Man” is easier to locate and comes housed in a picture sleeve.

(30/03/17)

CHRIS CURTIS – ’Aggravation’/’Have I Done Something Wrong’ (Pye 7N 17132) June 1966

Here’s an obscure 45 by ex Searchers drummer Chris Curtis, released on Pye a few months after he quit the hit making beat group. It’s uptempo mid \’66 mod beat with background female vocals, plenty of tambourine, brass and strong vocals.

Too bad ’Aggravation’ wasn’t a hit in England, the record seems to have stalled in no-wheresville just like so many other 60s records. I’m sure Chris Curtis had the songs and the tough vocals to succeed as a solo star after The Searchers but with this flop his recording career was over and he moved into production work until 1969, then quit the music industry for good.

The 45 is sought after especially the Dutch picture sleeve release.

(20/11/10)

TONY JACKSON with THE VIBRATIONS – ’Bye Bye Baby’/’Watch Your Step’ (Pye 7N.15685) Sept 1964

Soon after Tony Jackson was ousted from The Searchers he got together a backing band called The Vibrations and this was their first single released on Pye in September 1964. It eventually climbed to it’s peak of 38 in the charts and gave Jackson a small hit and exposure on teen shows like Ready Steady Go.

’Bye Bye Baby’ is a cover version of a Mary Wells hit on Motown but this time up-tempo beat music is added to the soulful mix. The flip ’Watch Your Step’ was recorded by many 60s groups and could easily have been the A-side.

(11/10/10)

THE SEARCHERS – ’When You Walk In The Room’/'(I\’ll Be) Missing You’ (Pye 7N.15694) Sept 1964

This single by Liverpool group The Searchers was released exactly 46 years ago, way back in September 1964 and a month before I was born.

They had been releasing successful beat singles since mid 1963 but my main interest in them is their 12 string jangle moments combined with those faultless, crisp harmonies. ’When You Walk In The Room’, written by Jackie de Shannon reached top 3 in England and made them Merseybeat stars.

The flip ‘(I’ll Be) Missing You’ is more commercial jangle beat.

(14/09/10)

THE TONY JACKSON GROUP – ’You’re My Number One’/’Let Me Know’ (CBS 202039) Feb 1966

Back in March 2007 when one man and his dog used to visit my blog I wrote about Tony Jackson and included a rare photo from the 1966 Teenbeat annual.

I can’t understand how The Tony Jackson Group (previously called Tony Jackson with The Vibrations) failed to be household names in England. Sadly each release sold less and less leaving their record label no choice but to drop the band.

’You’re My Number One’ is a fantastic beat jangler loaded with pop hooks and melody. It harks back to Tony’s days with The Searchers. They had the sound The Byrds ’borrowed’ and called folk rock but that’s another story. Next up will be some Searchers music! The flip ’Let Me Know’ is also impressive jangle beat.

(13/09/10)

TONY JACKSON with the Vibrations – ‘Love Potion No.9’/’ Fortune Teller’ (Pye 7N.15766) 1965

After leaving success behind with The Searchers, Tony Jackson formed his own band and signed for Pye. It was a risky decision. After all, The Searchers were very popular in England and Europe.

According to Jackson, he wanted to sing much ’harder and more beaty numbers.’

’Love Potion No. 9’ was Tony Jackson’s third 45 release. The previous two singles sold moderately but were not huge sellers. This cover of the Leiber and Stoller song again flopped. The flip ’Fortune Teller’ is a pounding R’n’B killer with cornball lyrics. The first version I ever heard was way back in the 80s when I bought The Fire Escape LP. Their version pales in comparison.

Here’s a moody looking band shot of Tony Jackson and the Vibrations. This picture came from a Teenbeat annual.

(17/03/07)

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