It's The Searchers - Pye 1964
Bassist Tony Jackson, who had been the group most commonly used lead singer, and who is the voice of "Sweets for My Sweet" and "Sugar and Spice", must here settle only a single lead vocal, even in sharing with Mike Pender on "Sho' Know a Lot About Love "
"Needles and Pins" was recorded and released before "It's the Searchers" and producer Tony Hatch thought the song was best suited for Mike Penders voice, and since the song was the group's first hit in the United States, it was only natural to give the next single "Don ' t Throw Your Love Away "to Pender, too. With yet another number one hit-single, it was like clear that the group had got a new lead singer.
Pender and drummer Chris Curtis are responsible for the vast majority of the vocal work on "It's the Searchers" and their fine vocalharmonies are nicely complemented by John McNally. This achievement was another important inspiration for other groups.
The songs are on the original album are exclusively cover versions of lesser-known newer songs and songs taken from the group's live repertoire; conseqently no group originals on the tracklist.
Besides the two big hits the upbeat "Livin 'Lovin Wreck" with his lead vocals by Chris Curtis and nice acoustic guitar stands out. Curtis also takes care of "Where Have You Been", which together with the ballad "I Can not Help Forgiving You" are my two favorite album tracks.
The whole thing is solidly performed, and the songs have received the special Seachers treatment which help prevent a couple of the more covered songs from becoming totally indifferent.
Among the bonus tracks you'll find the group's sixth single "Someday We're Gonna Love Again", which failed to follow up on the fine chart positions of "Needles and Pins" and "Do not Throw Your Love Away" . However, it did mangae to reach the 11th space in the UK. B-side "No One Else Could Love You" is far more interesting. The song was written by group members Cutis, Pender and McNally, and it is strong evidence that the group had great potential as songwriters. A beautifully arranged Merseybeat ballad and one of this release strongest numbers.
Also the more rocking b-side "I Pretend I'm With You" is an original compostion; written by Chris Curtis, who by this time had the reputation of being the group's leader. Also a song that outshines many of the actual album traks.
A few unreleased outtakes are also include. Among these, it is incomprehensible that the fine "I Who Have Nothing" was found wanting and discarded - a clearly better bid than e.g. "Hi Heel Sneakers".
All in all, an album that gave promise for the future of the group, and which showed that they were ready to continuously renew their musical expression. Also no surprise that this was the last album to feature Tony Jackson, who was replaced by Frank Allen soon after.