Alfie Boe 3rd Annual Best Ever Song: No.5

We’ve reached the half way point of our count down which means it’s only five weeks until the Ball and Boe Together tour starts!  The song at number five is a song that has been on the long list since the beginning but has only now made it to the top ten.  I’m talking about The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face:

Thanks to Annie for sharing this from Blackpool on the Storyteller tour.  Why has the song just now been voted into the top ten?  Not sure if I’m honest!  Perhaps that as we’re now revisiting Alfie’s repertoire for the third time, songs that have been previously overlooked are now been reappraised.  Alfie has sung this song live on countless occasions, right from the Bring Him Home tour, both American tours and Storyteller so this might be another reason as to why it has now appeared in the top ten.

The song was written by folk singer songwriter Ewan MacColl for Peggy Seeger before they were married although the song only became world famous when Roberta Flack’s version was used in the Clint Eastwood film, Play Misty For Me.  In the years since, there have been many, many cover versions, (all of them hated, at least those recorded before 1989, apparently by MacColl) but my favourite is George Michael’s version.  I may be biased in my choice as (before Alfie, yes there was such a thing). George Michael was my absolute favourite artist.

It’s rare that I find another artist’s version better than Alfie’s version but with this song, George’s phrasing edges it for me.  Certainly, it’s the best track on George’s album Songs from the Last Century.  Interestingly, in a long ago radio interview, Alfie picked George Michael as having a great voice and could have been even better if he’d gone down the route of vocal training.

First Time Ever I Saw Your Face is from the 2011 album, Alfie and is available here:

Alfie (alfie) album

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2 thoughts on “Alfie Boe 3rd Annual Best Ever Song: No.5

  1. Sue Redfern

    Loved Alfie singing this when he wasn’t messing about and adding ‘I threw up’ to the title. Can’t beat Roberta Flack’s version though.
    Thanks Jane, getting closer…….. xx

  2. Jo

    Jane, I usually have the greatest respect for your musical opinion but in the matter of this song I have to disagree! Alfie’s version with the mournful solo trumpet is so moving I am always left feeling bereft. George Michael just doesn’t do it for me, I’m afraid!

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