Five weeks today many of us Alfie Boe fans will be taking our seats for the first show, in Newcastle, of Alfie’s new tour. If you’re excited, share this on facebook or twitter with #AlfieBoeUKTour – thank you in advance!
In anticipation of this, let’s kick off the countdown of Alfie Boe’s Best Ever Live Song – thank you for nominating and voting. Some of the songs that were nominated are very familiar to us already, as they were also voted in the top ten of Alfie Boe’s Best Recorded Song earlier this year or have featured in other polls. Just to recap, the songs nominated were:
- Don’t Stop Me Now – New Year’s Eve 2013
- Jacob’s Ladder
- Buona Sera – Belfast Proms 2014
- You Are My Heart’s Delight – Blackpool 2013
- Always on My Mind
- Barcelona – Laura Wright duet 2013
- Rank Strangers
- Led Zeppelin’s Rock n’Roll
- Midnight Rider
- Sweet Home Chicago
And so, the song placed at Number Five is…..Rank Strangers, a capella version from the Storyteller tour, 2013. This was nominated by Liz Hardman and this particular version, sung as the encore each night of that tour was one of the highlights for many fans. The recorded version was voted into third place in the Best Recorded Song poll.
Alfie’s Rank Strangers was recorded for the 2012 album Storyteller and was famously recorded in one take – Alfie ending up practically conducting the rest of the band to get the sound he wanted. The song was originally written by Albert Brumley, a musician and singer born in Oklahoma in 1905. After studying at the Hartford Musical Institute, Arkansas, Brumley toured with the Hartford Quartet and went on to write / copyright an astonishing 800 songs. The most famous of these is I’ll Fly Away from 1932. In 1970 he was inducted into the Country Song Writer’s Hall of Fame and his songs have been covered by amongst others, Bob Dylan, who I’m sure introduced Alfie to the song. Unfortunately for Alfie I couldn’t find a video of Dylan singing the song but here is The Stanley Brothers who made the song famous in the 1950’s:
Although Rank Strangers appeared on Storyteller, Alfie first began singing this in concert at the beginning of 2012, mainly using an a capella sound with sometimes just a guitar accompaniment. To see how Alfie’s rendition has changed, the videos below are from the Bring Him Home tour, the mid-2012 tour and the Storyteller tour:
Let me know which one you prefer (using the comment box below) – mine is the last one for many reasons, not least that I was there to hear Alfie playing guitar and to see how much it meant to him to play at the Royal Albert Hall under his own name.
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Alfie’s new album, Serenata is available to pre-order now: