Sergio Franchi

The Exciting Voice of Sergio Franchi

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Listeners or critics searching for adjectives to recall the voice of Sergio Franchi have available dozens of splendid choices: majestic, deep, sonorous, elegant, and solemn, to name but a few. When inserted into an LP title, however, none of these have the potential to lure record buyers. Accordingly, The Exciting Voice of Sergio Franchi was unleashed on the public. Franchi's voice, however, was anything but exciting, a mellifluous Italian tenor that rose above the many examples of the form available to trad-pop listeners of the time, one that existed on that high plane occupied by only a few -- including, of course, Mario Lanza. Recorded in Webster Hall to capitalize on the room's generous acoustics, this 1964 LP leaned toward American songs, though usually the kind of epic, slow-moving songs that a large voice like Franchi's could best embrace. His voice is perfect, but unfortunately his diction for American English is slightly off, making wonderful ballads like "You Stepped out of a Dream," "Ebb Tide," and "Star Dust" sound overly forced and rather cold. Franchi sounds far better on a pair of Italian standards, "Passione" and "Mala Femmena," as well as the partly Italian "More (Theme From Mondo Cane)."