This song started life as a children’s lullaby, originally written and recorded by Malvina Reynolds (below) in 1957, the song has a simple nursery rhyme aura about it, Durham’s vocals are rich and mellow, and the tempo is evocative of an old steam train wending its way across country.Malvina Reynolds (1890-1978) was the daughter of Jewish socialist immigrants, who had graduated with a PhD from UC Berkeley in 1936, after initially being refused a High School Graduation Diploma from Lowell High school, because her parents were opposed to US participation in WW1.In the 1940’s she was a contemporary of such West Coast folk singers as Pete Seeger (above) and Earl Robinson and she penned several famous consciousness-raising songs including Little Boxes (Pete Seeger), Turn Around (Harry Belafonte, below) and What Have They Done to the Rain (Seekers/Searchers).The Seekers recorded Morningtown Ride three times, the original version in 1964, a revised version in 1966, and a Christmas version in 2001. In the original version Bruce on banjo captured the dreamy ambience of the song, Keith and Athol provided rhythm support around an intricate orchestral envelope featuring a Bobby Richards string arrangement, which beautifully punctuated the vocal pauses of each chorus hook with engaging riffs. Keith’s harmony vocal arrangement was complex and beguiling, Judith sings lead and hums a counter – melody in the last chorus, the layered vocal harmonies of Potger’s tenor, Guy’s bass and Woodley’s baritone were beautifully understated.Tom Springfield produced the session and the song charted #8 Aust, #2 UK and #44 USA, the album Come The Day was #3 on the UK album charts at the end of 1966, and climbed to #7 on the Aust. Charts in May 1967. There are several promo videos, one features the Puffing Billy train, children from the local St. Vincent de Paul orphanage and was shot near Belgrave in the Dandenong Ranges (Vic).
Another video is set in the grounds of Como House in Melbourne, with the Seekers dressed in wedding group white, holding hands, walking in dappled sunlight around the heritage residence. A children’s favorite, the song became the theme music for the BBC program Junior Choice.