The Seekers' The Ultimate Collection not only lives up to its name, but is unique among the array of single-disc compilations devoted to the Australian quartet, in that it was programmed by the four members themselves, from what they consider their most important recordings. Additionally, it's the only compilation of the group's work to draw on their entire recorded history, from their 1963-vintage Australian recordings (which have never been widely available outside of their native country) right up to their 2003 recording of the Bee Gees' "Massachusetts." Done as a memorial tribute to Maurice Gibb, it's the only version of the song that this reviewer has heard to rival the Bee Gees' own. Also present are the group's best-known songs from their English folk-pop period, including "Come the Day," "I'll Never Find Another You," "A World of Our Own," "Someday, One Day," and "Georgy Girl," though the real value to the collection will be the many tracks that show the quartet as a straight folk group with no pop pretensions. Indeed, much of this disc may startle listeners who only know their later charting work -- when the Seekers do "Dese Bones Are Gonna Rise Again" (from 1963 in Melbourne), or even "The Wreck of the Old '97" and "We're Movin' On" (where Judith Durham belts out that gospel tune with operatic intensity), the latter two tracks cut in London for the EMI subsidiary World Record Club, they sound a lot more like the Weavers than like any British Invasion outfit. It's all good, and very different from the Seekers sound anthologized anywhere else. For all of its range, however, there's also a surprising degree of cohesion on this CD -- between the Melbourne-era sides and their Tom Springfield-produced London sides, such as "Allentown Jail," and the 1997-vintage "The Shores of Avalon" or "The Bush Girl," there is a unity of sound that is startling to ponder, across 34 years. All of their voices have held up well, and in the instrumental breaks on those modern sides, they even give a nod to the polish of their folk-pop period. In all, between the range of material, the exceptional sound quality, and the thorough annotation, this is a great place to finish a Seekers collection, but also just as good a place to start.
AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder