Two days until the release date of Alfie Boe’s new album, As Time Goes By and it’s not a spoiler for this piece when I start by saying that it’s worth waiting four years for a solo album – it’s glorious. The music of the 1920’s and 1930’s suits Alfie’s voice so snugly that you feel as if he’s always been singing this music. These songs give the warmth in Alfie’s voice time to shine and the switch between big band sounds and the more intimate feel of the slower tempo songs showcase his extraordinarily wide repertoire. The musicianship at work on this album is wonderful; it will be interesting to hear the differences on this and the live approach on Alfie’s tour next year.
As Time Goes By is a balance of smooth, classy, slower tempo tracks and some big band, upbeat tracks and they’ve got that balance absolutely right. You’re eased in with La Vie En Rose and Moonlight Serenade before Sing Sing Sing launches into a song that has you up and out of your seat and dancing around. In some of the many promotional interviews Alfie has recently done, he’s described wanting to “get down and dirty” with some of these tracks and for me, that is best embodied with Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Minnie the Moocher. Both have an almost gravelly feel to them and whilst Alfie’s voice could in no way be described as gravelly, the arrangements are so good that gravelly is what I hear. Following on from Ain’t Misbehavin‘, Mood Indigo also has a bit of a down and dirty feel about it but the big band accompaniment juxtaposes exquisitely to give it a sound all of it’s own. These two songs are the stand outs for me.
Prior to listening to this album in full, my favourite track was The Way You Look Tonight, probably helped along by a smouldering performance on Britain’s Got Talent earlier this year!
Of the slower tempo songs, it’s still my favourite, although there isn’t a song out of place on the whole album. These songs have such an intimate feel that you truly understand why the title of Alfie’s UK tour in 2019 is An Evening with Alfie Boe; they lend themselves to the kind of intimate feel a few lucky fans saw in the Isle of Man. It remains to be seen whether the format stays the same – hope so!
There are three duets on this album and all three are delightful. Alfie and Kelsey Grammer are clearly having a ball on Minnie the Moocher, you can hear the smiles and laughter in the singing. Kara Tointon and Brennyn Lark on, respectively, Stompin’ at the Savoy and A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square are featured on songs that suit their voices wonderfully. Of the two, I prefer Stompin’ but it’s a close run thing. It would be fantastic to see either of these lovely singers guest with Alfie at one or other of his shows next year.
Overall, this is a wonderful album – there is not one song that shouldn’t be there and I loved all of them. You might think that you don’t need another big band / swing / jazz album in your life but you’d be wrong. As Time Goes By is a must have album, not just for Alfie fans but for everyone who likes good music. It’s definitely up there with Alfie’s best albums.
As Time Goes By is available here:
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Great review Jane can’t wait to hear the whole album xx
Thanks Jane lovely review,cannot wait to get my CD knew it would be fanatstic !! Roll on 2019 for the tours !! luv carole n xxx
Brilliant review Jane. You’ve caught all the feelings and nuances in each song. I’m still waiting for my US copies- yes plural I’ve ordered 3. Do love Alfie’s voice more and more.