[ Post a Response | Kingston Crossroads ]
Re: Some more thoughts about Judith Durham.
Edited by Ken Bradshaw on 8/10/2022, 9:27 pm
Graham Simpson's 1994 biograpy of Judith, as quoted in my text. Colours of My Life (Melbourne, Random House, pp.47-48, p.51)
Interview with Dave Guard in Squire Magazine, Sydney, 1964 (I have just a photocopy of the full article but it does not contain the month that it was published), pp.12-13, pp.53-54.
Those were the main sources.
Others with additional supporting information as I recall were Chris Bonett of The Dave's Place Group (possibly) and Les Miller, a fellow musician, neighbour and friend of Dave who worked with him in Australia. Tom Guard mentioned some stuff regarding Judith to me too.
There may have been one or two others who I have forgotten because it was over 20 years ago.
Great material and excellent writing, Ken. Would you happen to remember what your sources were for the factual stuff about DG's interactions with Judith?
Judith Durham is immediately associated with The Seekers, but her musical interests extended much wider than that. In fact I have heard it said that musically she did not really want to be in The Seekers and wished to try her hand at other musical genres.
Her original roots lay in the thriving early 1960s Melbourne jazz scene and she later actually had an interest in opera but I do not know if she ever ventured there.
Judith recorded about 14 solo albums after she left The Seekers. These ranged from popular middle of the road songs, to trad jazz albums, a musical suite on Australian cities, an a-capella album, Christmas albums and live performances. Some sample albums above.
Quite a while ago I wrote some articles about Dave Guard's life in Australia and Judith was mentioned in one of them. Here is the section that dealt with Judith and Dave:
"A point of interest from Dave Guard’s Squire interview is his mention of Australian singer Judith Durham, who later achieved fame as the “voice” of the Seekers. Graham Simpson’s 1994 biography of Judith, Colours of My Life (Melbourne, Random House, pp.47-48, p.51), recalls that the Seekers were originally a Melbourne-based male trio. In 1963 Judith released a single with the Seekers, Waltzing Matilda (Queensland Version)/Wild Rover (W&G Records WG-S1775), and the group was billed on the record as the Seekers featuring Judy Durham because she did not consider herself a fully-fledged member at that time or even felt particularly comfortable singing with the group. The three male Seekers subsequently travelled to Sydney to play the record to Dave Guard at his Whale Beach home. Because of the way that Judith was credited on the record label, Dave assumed that she was freelancing and sent her a telegram asking her to get in touch about joining a group with him. Simpson says that Judith was thrilled and mentally made a note to pursue the invitation when time permitted. Waltzing Matilda (Queensland Version)/Wild Rover featured Judith Durham’s voice only in the choruses of both songs, so it was probably not this record that attracted Dave. It is more likely to have been a then recently released EP, Judy Durham with Frank Traynor’s Jazz Preachers (W&G Records, WG-E1706), which highlighted her rousing voice and her background in jazz and gospel music.
In 1964 the Seekers and Judith travelled to England for what was planned to be a short trip, earning their passage as entertainers on the Sitmar Line cruise ship Fairsky. Before she left Australia, Dave Guard telephoned her from interstate and spent 40 minutes on a long distance call trying to persuade her to join him. She told him that she was going to England and would not be able to do anything until she returned. “I knew that the trip was for only 10 weeks and that’s what convinced me to go … I’d be able to come back and pick up where I left off with my career and maybe do something with Dave”. Dave Guard’s response to a later Squire interview question about his perception of local talent was “A girl named Judy Durham. She's out of the country right now with a group called the Seekers. She's sensational”, suggests that he was still hopeful even then that she would join him. The Seekers did not return as planned and the rest is history, but what a group there might have been! Judith telephoned Dave to tell him that she was not able to work with him as originally thought. The Seekers have continued to tour periodically with all of the original members, playing to sell-out audiences in Australia and England.
Dave’s relationship with Judith Durham continued after his return to the United States. When the Seekers toured the US, Dave met Judith in person for the first time at her Santa Monica hotel and took her on a tour of the town. As a solo performer six years later, Judith arrived in San Francisco with her husband, musician and arranger Ron Edgeworth, and rented a cottage on a property owned by Dave and his wife at Portola".