Once upon a time, a quiet, 20-year-old girl from Melbourne’s northern suburbs became a big name on the world stage. More than 50 years on, Judith Durham is still recording music, and is as much of a star as ever.
But like any good fairytale, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing—there have been tough times but Judith is a survivor, with the same sincere and unaffected personality after decades of fame with The Seekers and as a solo artist.
Judith has just released a new album of spiritual songs, titled Judith Durham—An a Capella Experience.
‘I was asked to sing at a gathering in Sydney where someone was going to speak about spirituality,’ Judith recalls. ‘The request was unique—to perform a short set of spiritual songs “a capella” (unaccompanied)…for me, the lyrics became more like prayers and I went on to record a repertoire of spiritually focused material and it has been a wonderful joy for me.’
Judith describes herself as a deeply spiritual person with a proud belief in and love of God and Jesus Christ, and feels that many of the songs of her long career reflect that reality.
‘The spirituality of the lyrics crosses over from being not just love songs, but love songs for the Lord—songs like “I’ll Never find Another You”, “Walk with Me” and many others,’ Judith tells Warcry.
‘On my recent tour of New Zealand, there wasn’t a moment on stage when I wasn’t focused on the spiritual context of these songs.’
Judith started singing with a folk group called The Seekers alongside her day job as a secretary. It didn’t take long for The Seekers to become hot property, and London beckoned in 1964. By 1965, number one hits were being scored, as The Seekers became an Australian supergroup.
But life had a different path in store for Judith, and the group split in 1968 and Judith returned home to a successful solo career. In 1969 she married her musical director Ron Edgeworth, a blissful union that lasted until his death from motor neurone disease with Judith by his side in 1994.
On the professional front, Judith agreed to do a reunion concert in January 1993 to celebrate The Seekers’ silver jubilee. She continued her solo career and celebrated her 60th birthday in 2003 with a UK tour, culminating in a birthdate concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Tragedy struck again in 2013, when Judith suffered a brain haemorrhage. This brave lady rebuilt her life after this and has continued to sing and perform.
Of the 24 songs on the new CD, there is one that stands out for Judith.
‘The idea for “Just Do Your Best (And Leave the Rest to Him)” came from a passage I read in a spiritual book, and I was able to rhyme it and set it to music.
I draw on those thoughts for strength, and I hope others may also find the same comfort,’ Judith says.
At 73, Judith Durham is still going strong and making a positive difference to people’s lives through her gift of song.