Though this double-CD collection presents 30 songs recorded by the Searchers for BBC sessions, it actually spans a relatively small portion of their career, from January 1965 to March 1967 (with over half the material coming from 1965 alone). The band recorded yet more BBC sessions, but these are the only ones (except for a few similar duplicate versions, omitted to avoid redundancy) known to survive in releasable form, which is why there's nothing from 1963-1964, when they were actually at the peak of their popularity. Incomplete though it is, it's a valuable archival find for serious Searchers fans, even if, like many BBC session compilations, the performances don't vary too much from the familiar studio versions (except for the arrangements often being somewhat more thinly produced). It does have six songs that didn't make it onto their '60s studio releases, though these aren't major discoveries as might be assumed, since all six of these tracks were actually first issued in the mid-'90s as part of the 30th Anniversary Collection three-CD compilation. All of these cautions shouldn't let your excitement level drop too much, as this is still reasonably well recorded, and certainly well performed, including BBC renditions of all of their chart singles from late 1964 through late 1966 (except "Love Potion No. 9"). Also along for the ride are numerous more obscure B-sides, album cuts, and flops that testify to their versatility, from the folk of "Four Strong Winds" to the rock & roll of "Ready Teddy," though as the liner notes admit, the vocal parts at the beginning of "Magic Potion" are certainly shaky. And the six songs with no studio-release counterparts are pretty interesting, including covers of Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen," Ike & Tina Turner's "Goodbye, So Long," Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind," Mitch Ryder's "See See Rider/Jenny Take a Ride" medley, the Guilloteens' garage-folk-rocker "I Don't Believe," and the band original "I'll Be Loving You." A dozen brief BBC interview inserts with members of the band are here, too, and while they don't contain any great revelations, the odd interesting bit of trivia pops up now and then, as when Chris Curtis explains how the band decided to cover Bobby Darin's "When I Get Home."
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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2