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Issue 134 written exclusively for The Searchers Official Web Site by Searchers front man Frank Allen

ŠThe Searchers Official Web Site. No unauthorised reproduction

Greetings once again,

As it`s holiday time for us, and an extended one at that at almost six weeks without a show, I have no real excuse for not producing another newsletter. I have just returned from a short break in Tenerife and needless to say there was plenty of lazing-about time to use up.

I’m not sure where any of the others have gone during this break or even if they have stayed on home shores. The free time has allowed me to catch up with some old friends over the coming days. Lunch with Red Bond at her country estate in Hertfordshire. Dinner at the Wolseley in London so that I can treat my great friends Des and Pat McMann from Teesside. Lunch in London with Gary & Merethe Goodchild. Gary left a football career in the UK some years ago to play for several teams in Norway and managed to find his Norwegian bride in the process.

And a sad occasion too, the funeral of Teddy Johnson who some of you may remember was one half of my great friends the singing duo Pearl Carr & Teddy Johnson who came second in the 1959 Eurovision Song Contest with Sing Little Birdie. Teddy had reached the great age of 98 before his passing and Pearl, though not in good health is now 96 and being well looked after by the absolutely wonderful staff at Brinsworth House, the theatrical entertainers` retirement home in Twickenham.

I`m not going to dwell too much on the subject of our own retirement next March, having just about covered everything in my last missal. After every show since the plans were announced we have had fans coming over to the post-show signing table to either wish us a very deserved rest or to beg us to keep going. Often a bit of both.

Some are so earnest in their pleas for us to carry on that I almost feel we need a special branch of The Samaritans to take care of Searchers casualties who wonder how they are going to cope in the absence of what has become a major part of their lives. It is very flattering to know that our efforts mean so much to them.

Time flies very fast indeed these days and as we race on towards the finish line it becomes quite scary for me too and I`m the spoilsport who instigated this dramatic turn of events so I only have myself to blame. But despite the doubts and fears I`m afraid there is no turning back. How will I ever find out if there is a different and enjoyable existence out there in the `real world’ if I don`t give it a try? And when I realise I`ve made a big mistake feel free to say I told you so.

Having checked through my diary it seems to be a very easy schedule in the run up to this year`s Sixties Gold Tour which might count as a bit of training for the barren years in front of me. Although it is light work rate by our standards, I have spotted so many of our favourite venues back in the Autumn date sheet and for fear of upsetting anywhere by its omission I won`t pin point any of them. And to be honest it would be a hard task indeed to find a concert hall we hated or one where we had not been well received.

And speaking of the tour it looks very much like being as much fun and as big a success as the last one which managed to sell out at most of the venues.

This time we have those eternal stalwarts The Merseybeats in the line-up. On the last jaunt they depped for just a couple of days when the Tremeloes were going through some health issues. They always deliver and I know an awful lot of people are so pleased to see their inclusion this time round. Great hits, excellent musicians and nice people.

The same goes for The Fortunes who also stood in for a show or two, one of which was The Indigo at the prestigious O2 Arena.  I have to say I am pleased that they have had the good sense to get Steve Ellis back although it comes as no surprise because he certainly knocked them out in the 2017 tour. He still looks great and the voice has always been terrific. For some people the years naturally take their toll visually but Steve now is pretty much the same as Steve back then when The Love Affair was at the top of the charts. He has barely changed. He will of course be provided with superb backing by Vanity Fare who are a very welcome bunch with their own impressive tally of hits.

And as usual I have left one of our special favourites till last. P J Proby, occasional problem child though he may be, is still one of the most talented, intriguing and charismatic characters ever to emerge from the beat boom of the Sixties. Unique would be another way to describe him There is no other comparable performer from that era and anyone who witnessed the Proby phenomenon at the height of his fame must surely agree. I am always praising Jim (real name James Marcus Smith) to the point of boredom so I will say no more this time round. Just get along to see him while you can.

There is a bit of exciting news on the horizon. I understand that to coincide with the farewell concerts there are plans afoot to release a retrospective double CD of Searchers material.

There won`t be any previously unheard of tracks but as well as a hefty selection from the original PYE recordings it will move through the years to include items from some of our later sessions. Not all of them but certainly dipping a toe into the SIRE period, our time on the German Coconut label, and just a small taste of our own private recordings that have been previously restricted to concert sales only.

We can`t give you any exact details right now because we don`t have them but when the information is available we`ll get it to you. I have no idea what it going to be titled. Official general release is planned for the farewell solo concerts but with luck it might available sooner. It should be a very nice way to mark the end of a hugely successful, enjoyable and fascinating career.

And that`s about it for now.  All the best

Frank Allen

VIA THIS WEBPAGE:   If you would like to ask him a question, which will be answered by e-mail, and might even appear at the end of a future issue of this newsletter, please e-mail it to:

Question 1:  Did your parents or family members influence your decision to go into the music business?

Answer:  Not really.  They didn’t interfere or try to dissuade me.  My father played the piano and banjo in a very self-taught way, but apart from that it was not a musical family.

Question 2:  Did your parents live to see your fame and popularity grow with The Searchers?

Answer:   Yes, thankfully they were both there through the most successful years.

Question 3:   Apart from the UK, do you have a favourite part of the world to play in?

Answer:   Variety is the spice of life and all countries have their own character and lovable qualities. We enjoyed travelling to many different countries. I shall particularly miss our trips to Australia and also the USA although we haven`t played in the latter for some time mainly because of the logistics and expense of getting the visas and tax situations sorted out.

Question 4:   Leaving aside your own success, what do you think has been the best five-year period in British music?

Answer:  For me it will always be the 50s. I was a teenager and rock and roll arrived. It was absolutely magical and I was obsessed. For me nothing will ever be that exciting again.

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