Rosie, the Number 7 song in the Top Ten and the highest placed song from Trust, is credited on the album as a traditional American song and is co-arranged by Alfie himself. Song archivist Alan Lomax came across the song in 1947 at the Mississippi State Penitentiary’s Parchman work camp and went on to record a group of prisoners at one of the 15 work camps in existence at the time. Remarkably, youtube has a clip of this:
Chain gang music is not necessarily about the literal interpretation of the lyrics; the melody and the opportunity to release aggression are just as important. Rhythm is especially necessary to help productivity and teamwork in what must have been back breaking physical activity and makes the music of the chain gangs instantly recognisable.
Listening to Alfie’s version (the video below was shared by Annie Lloyd at the Royal Festival Hall in December 2013), the emotional intensity and the rawness of his voice are the things that first hit you. The rhythm drives the track and the meaning of the lyrics is almost not worth worrying about. Alfie Boe’s Rosie is an almost visceral song – it grabs you by the throat and forces you to listen. This is a song in which movement is very much a part of the listening experience.
Thank you for sending in your nominations for Alfie Boe’s Best Ever Song and then voting for your favourite. The poll has now closed and the Top Ten is here!
Hopefully, your favourite has made the short list but if not, click here to listen to the new Spotify playlist and choose a new favourite to vote for. Also, due to popular demand, this poll is open to multiple votes! Time to find out if Bring Him Home is indeed the fan’s favourite Alfie Boe song or if we prefer something else.
The longer playlist (still available on Spotify) contains songs from all Alfie’s albums, and the Top Ten continues this, albeit with one exception. Judging from this, classical and rock are the favourite Alfie sounds. Bring Him Home is the only musical theatre song to make the grade.
So come on, get voting! The poll will be open for two weeks and then we’ll be counting down the Top Ten in the lead up to the UK release of Serenata.
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Alfie Boe’s latest album, Trust, hit UK stores in November 2013 and quickly went gold. For US fans, their chance to own Trust comes towards the end of April when Capitol releases the album in America.
So, what do I think of the album? Having listened to Trust a lot since the release date, I can honestly say that I think this is Alfie’s best album to date. Long term fans will know that Alfie has been heading in this musical direction for a while now. The last three tracks of the previous album, Storyteller, are imbued with a blues, country and gospel sound that leads straight into Trust, particularly the glorious Glory, Glory Hallelujah and Rosie. My favourite songs are Keep Me In Your Heart and Glory Glory although there is a special place in my heart for Trust, the first song on any album to written especially for Alfie. Fans have long voiced the opinion that original material would be wonderful and it is definitely worth the wait.
There are a few songs on the album that are completely new to me but I love having my musical knowledge challenged and broadened by Alfie and have enjoying getting to know Forever Young and God Give Me Strength. Dimming of the Day is beautifully sung by Shawn Colvin, an artist I am enjoying getting to know but I have to confess a sneaking wish for the lovely tones of Emilia Mitiku, who sang with Alfie on his 2013 tour.
To give you a taste of the tracks, the video below was taken by Linda Wellington at the Huwawei Winter Concert at the Royal Festival Hall on 1 December 2013:
Since I first heard the first snippets from Alfie Boe’s latest album “Trust” two tracks stood out for me: Rosie and Glory, Glory. I defy anyone to sit still and not dance to Glory, Glory, in particular. From talking to other fans, it was obvious that I was not alone in the opinion that those were the two tracks we wanted to hear live, above all others. Well, it seems that good things happen to those who wait (in this case, we didn’t have to wait very long) as Alfie treated us to Rosie and Glory, Glory. Playing the entire second act, Alfie and his extremely talented band (Murray Gould, Matt White, Richard Causon et al) burst into Rosie first off before moving easily into the album title song. Rosie was everything we had hoped it would be, a fabulously foot tapping gospel infused number. On this evidence, Rosie will remain a favourite for the live shows for some time.
So, as the end of 2013 rolls around and before we look ahead to the delights of 2014, this blog is all about the best bits of the year with Alfie Boe and his wonderful fans, some of which I’m proud to say have become my dearest friends over these past twelve months.
This time last year, I had yet to meet Sally, Janet, and Margie, to name but a few and now these wonderful women have become firm friends, along with The Two Linda’s and Cecelia. Margie and The Two Linda’s have featured in their very own blog posts and Sally and Cecelia will be seen here very “soon”, to coin a word close to Alfie’s heart but not to ours!!! Pauline and Paul from Jersey also deserve a mention, not least for heroically putting up with my 7yo over dinner on two occasions. Others, I am looking forward to meeting over the next twelve months.
Best moments with Alfie Boe in 2013…so many, not sure I can do them justice but I have managed to narrow them down to my top 3, so here goes (in no particular order – guess where I borrowed that phrase from x):
Hearing songs from Trust at Alfie’s concert at The Royal Festival Hall in December – did not expect to hear those fabulous songs sung live so soon after the album release. Highlights were Rosie and Glory Glory Hallelujah.
Seeing Alfie at the Classic Brits in October, having the opportunity to give him a birthday card and then seeing that same card tweeted by the man himself with a thank you to “all the beautiful arrows”. I’m not sure I’ve fully recovered from the excitement yet!
Seeing Alfie perform at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the Storyteller tour and a very special duet on Bring Him Home with John Owen Jones.
All these events and many more were enjoyed with many lovely friends who have become a very special part of my life and given me the confidence to do so many new things, not least to start this blog. To all of you, thank you xx
To round off, I’ve included three photos that make me smile whenever I look at them – my three favourites of 2013. Two taken by Linda Wellington and one by Annie Lloyd on Linda’s camera (she is in the picture!)
Happy New Year – wishing you all a very happy, peaceful and prosperous 2014 xxx
Since I first heard the first snippets from Alfie Boe’s latest album Trust two tracks stood out for me: Rosie and Glory, Glory. Upon hearing the full length versions for the first time when Trust was released in November, those two songs quickly became my favourites. I defy anyone to sit still and not dance to Glory, Glory, in particular. From talking to other fans, it was obvious that I was not alone in the opinion that those were the two tracks we wanted to hear live, above all others. Well, it seems that good things happen to those who wait (in this case, we didn’t have to wait very long) as Alfie treated us to Rosie and Glory, Glory at the Huawei Winter Concert on 1 December. Playing the entire second act, Alfie and his extremely talented band (Murray Gould, Matt White, Richard Causon et al) burst into Rosie first off before moving easily into the album title song. Rosie was everything we had hoped it would be, a fabulously foot tapping gospel infused number. On this evidence, Rosie will remain a favourite for the live shows for some time. Once again, thank you to the lovely Linda Wellington for sharing the video
Glory, Glory rounded off the evening, before an encore of Forever Young, and in typical Alfie style, half the audience ended up dancing on the stage! This really was glorious and we should all say Hallelujah for its inclusion on the album – absolutely loved it. Another live show favourite for sure.
Other songs from the evening included Trust, Wayfaring Stranger, If You Go Away and Keep Me In Your Heart, all beautifully sung but the highlight for me (Rosie and Glory, Glory notwithstanding) was Dimming of the Day with Laura Wright. Finishing off the first half in style, Alfie and Laura’s voices blended wonderfully to showcase this lovely song we first heard on the Storyteller tour earlier this year. Laura performed throughout the first half with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Tiffin Boys Choir and was at times, breath taking.