Storyteller

All posts tagged Storyteller

Song number seven in our countdown to the Alfie Boe’s best live song in 2018 is one from that wonderful summer of 2012 and Alfie’s appearance at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations:

I was a new fan to Alfie’s music then and I well remember lots of Twitter users voicing concerns over the sound quality – until Alfie started singing that is!  After that, everyone watching realised that there was nothing wrong with the sound system – and the tweets also highlighted Alfie’s hip swinging antics…most appreciatively, I add.

This is the highest place so far for O Sole Mio / Now or Never, since the song first appeared in this poll in 2016.  O Sole Mio goes a long way back for Alfie and he has performed it many times over the years although only for a period of twelve months or so in conjunction with Now or Never. Now or Never, of course, is a version of O Sole Mio, first recorded by Elvis and went on to be his second best selling single. The song went on to feature (albeit in a completely different arrangement) on Alfie’s Storyteller album – I loved that arrangement but I’m not sure too many other fans did; it’s never been flagged as anyone’s favourite song, for example).

Storyteller is available here:

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Another edition in our occasional series of Six Sensational Songs and this time it’s the turn of Audrey Buchan,  Yet again, the strength of Alfie’s repertoire is shown as Audrey has chosen three songs that have not been chosen before.  I have to say that Audrey was a little naughty with her choices – she actually chose seven but one is not available as a video so it was easy to miss out!

If I can Dream, from Storyteller – love this video, as it shows Alfie in his element with such talented musicians.

Shine a Light, also from Storyteller.  

Forever Young, from Trust. A magical evening and the one and only time we have heard Alfie sing practically the whole Trust album.  Alfie was “knackered” at this point as he had previously been dancing, and had half the audience up there with him!

A Living Prayer, Onward – one of our most popular choices in this series.  Beautiful.

Santa Lucia, La Pasione.  To be added to the very long list of songs I would love to hear live.

Addio Sogni Di Gloria, Serenata – another glorious evening at the Royal Albert Hall.

Thank you Audrey for sharing your Six Sensational Songs with us – I really enjoy researching this series!

If you would like to share your Six Sensational Songs with us, please fill in the form:

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The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore on the Alan Titchmarsh show:

This song wasn’t performed an awful lot outside of the Storyteller tour so it’s lovely to hear it here.  Just last week it was chosen as one of Deanna Lintern’s Six Sensational Songs.

Written by Bob Gaudio and Bob Crowe (Four Seasons) and recorded by Franki Valli, this original version was released and pretty much sank without trace, being totally eclipsed by the Walker Brothers version which was a smash hit:

The song has been recorded by Keane and Cher over the years and has also been used many times for TV and film, although the one that stands out head and shoulders for me is Truly Madly Deeply with Juliet Stevenson and Alan Rickman (forgive the voiceover, it’s a trailer!):

Don’t forget to tune into ITV1 on Saturday 3rd at 7pm for Saturday Night Takeaway where Alfie and Michael will perform on the End of the Show show!

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On a wet and windy February day, what better way to cheer ourselves up with a look at six more sensational songs from Alfie Boe; this time, it’s the choices of Deanna Lintern.

The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore from Storyteller.

Volare, from Serenata.

Luna Malinconia, also from Serenata and also from Newcastle.

Tell Me It’s Not True.

Buona Sera, from Serenata.

Mambo Italiano, again from Serenata – I think Deanna loves this album!

Yet again, these six songs showcase Alfie’s repertoire, with four of the six being brand new additions to the series.

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The third song in our third Best Alfie Boe Live Song poll is a song that has featured in both previous polls, albeit it has slipped slightly further down the chart this year to number eight.  The song has consistently featured in the top ten of our annual best recorded song poll as well and has also been picked twice as part of our six sensational songs series.  I’m talking about Rank Strangers:

This was the first time that Alfie sang this song and is mostly widely requested during polls, as is Alfie singing it on the Storyteller tour:

Both these version are very different from the recorded version which was famously done in one take!

Rank Strangers was 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.

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With ten weeks to go until the start of Alfie Boe and Michael Ball’s Together Again tour, it’s time to count down Alfie’s ten best live songs, as voted for by you in 2017.  There are a few new entrants to the top ten and one or two surprises but the first in our countdown is O Sole Mio / It’s Now or Never from the Diamond Jubilee concert in 2012:

For many years, O Sole Mio would have been a song extremely well known to Alfie and he was still performing it well into 2012, albeit with a bit of Elvis thrown in.  Here’s the master himself:

A different arrangement of It’s Now or Never featured on the Storyteller album but was never performed live.  This song has long been a favourite with fans and cemented this with an appearance at number nine in the 2016 Best Live Song poll.  It has also been chosen twice in our semi regular Six Sensational Songs series.

O Sole Mio was written in 1898 and has been recorded and performed by huge numbers of people, making it one of the most famous Neapolitan songs around.  Alfie himself sang it on his 2007 album La Passione although that hasn’t stopped him having to explain that it’s not about ice cream to UK audiences – for those of you outside our sunny shores, the tune of O Sole Mio was the theme of Cornetto ice cream TV adverts for a ten year period in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Sorry – I just couldn’t resist putting it in!

O Sole Mio is available on La Passione:

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Just two songs left on this year’s Best Ever Alfie Boe Song countdown which means that there’s less than two weeks until Alfie starts his Summer Together tour with Michael Ball.  If you haven’t got tickets yet, click here.  I’m once again looking for guest reviewers so make sure you read to the end!

Song number two is a song that has featured twice before, in 2014 and 2015 and is this year’s only representative from Storyteller.  Rank Strangers is an American folk song from the early twentieth century which Alfie first sang on his Bring Him Home tour of 2012 and then recorded for Storyteller that same year.  Here is Alfie’s acoustic version from the Storyteller tour:

Rank Strangers was 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:

Alfie, I hope you know that this is true dedication on my part, to feature, yet again, Bob Dylan’s vocals on this blog!

Stay tuned next week for the reveal of the fans’ Favourite Song 2017!

With the summer tour so close, I’m looking for guest reviewers again – I need reviewers for all the shows except Greenwich so if you want to have a go, send a sample of a short review of either a concert or album via this form:

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Welcome to the fourth in the occasional series celebrating Six Sensational Songs from Alfie Boe – each post features six songs chosen by a thoughtsofjustafan reader and this time it’s the turn of Sheila Currie.  Sheila first became an Alfie fan after seeing him in Les Mis on PBS and recently saw him in concert in New York, also having the opportunity to wish him well before the concert!  Sheila says about Alfie:

I could pick many more than six songs, certainly. Alfie Boe is someone who will not pass this way again in my lifetime. His voice goes in my ear directly to my heart.

Here we go with Sheila’s songs:

A Living Prayer, also chosen by Betty Valentine, was chosen by Sheila because “this was on the first CD I bought of Alfie’s after his Les Mis performance on PBS. I loved the video especially. He takes this song of Alison Krause to a hymn like quality.”

If I Loved You, from Carousel – this one might be very popular amongst Alfie fans these days!  Sheila says “I sang this song growing up in school choir and it just pulls at my heartstrings.”

Bridge Over Troubled Water was chosen by Sheila as it ” reminded me of my early married life during Vietnam era. I loved it then just as much”.

Forever Young, chosen  because “Alfie’s reworking of this Dylan song to remind us of those who have sacrificed for us was incredible, especially the PBS Memorial Day concert”.

Fratello Sole, Sorella Luna, also chosen by Betty Valentine, was chosen by Sheila  because “this beautiful song reminds me of my voice teacher and her passion for Italian opera”.

Where’er You Walk.  As Sheila says “An old song but I can still sing it as if it was just yesterday.

Thank you Sheila for sharing your six sensational songs with us.

If you would like to see your favourite songs featured here, complete the form below, telling me your six songs and why they are your favourites.  

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Voting has now closed in the 2017 Best Ever Alfie Boe song poll and the following playlist contains the top ten:

 

In 2016, the top ten looked like this:

1 – Love Reign O’er Me
2 – Dimming of the Day
3 – Trust
4 – Bring Him Home
5 – First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
6 – My Heart is Yours
7 – It’s Over
8 – A Living Prayer
9 – If You Go Away
10 – Forever Young

The first thing that strikes me about this year’s list is that there is only one song from Alfie’s most successful commercial album, Together – whether this has anything to do with it not being a solo album, I couldn’t say.

In contrast to previous years, Bring Him Home is now the only song to feature in every top ten, with just two more songs featuring in two top ten countdowns.  In addition to Anthem, there are two more new entries in Wheels of a Dream and In My Daughter’s Eyes.  This means that for the first time, A Living Prayer drops out of the top ten.

Last year we saw a definite move away from Alfie’s classical repertoire towards the rockier albums and 2017 continues in the same vein, albeit this time we are seeing a resurgence in the musical theatre songs.  I can definitely see the influence of Together in these choices – it seems that hearing Alfie sing a lot of musical theatre songs in recent months, as well as his appearance in Carousel has prompted more votes for this genre of music.  Trust remains the strongest album over all the polls so far, with Alfie having two tracks and one each for Bring Him Home, Classic Quadrophenia, Storyteller, Serenata, Together and La Passione.

Stay tuned for next week’s reveal of number 10 – we’ll be counting down until the beginning of the summer tour!

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The Thrill Is Gone at the Birchmere, Alexandria:

Alfie is clearly having the time of his life here but, as far as I’m aware, this is one song that he hasn’t performed in any tour since.  Bring it back Alfie, it’s great!

Written in 1951 by Roy Hawkins and Rick Darnell, the version most well known is that by BB King:

As mentioned in On This Day 31 January, Alfie was experimenting with blues at the time and The Thrill is Gone fits right in with that.  Perhaps that sound for Alfie was of it’s time  but I really hope we see it return in the not too distant future – I could listen to Alfie sing Trust and Storyteller all day long.

As mentioned, the original was by Roy Hawkins and this is it – still blues but more measured, at least to me:

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