Alfie Boe

You'll Never Walk Alone: The Collection

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Capitalizing on the success of his Decca-released Top Ten album Bring Him Home and his critically acclaimed performances in Les Misérables and La bohème, Blackpool tenor Alfie Boe's first major label, EMI Classics, rush-released this 16-track best-of just in time for the Mother's Day market, the second time in just three months that the label raided his back catalog following the recently reissued The Sound of Alfie Boe. Released in such close proximity, You'll Never Walk Alone doesn't include any material from the latter, but even with only two other studio albums to select from, it's far from the hastily assembled cash-in you might expect. His increasingly widening fan base may already own the six tracks that appear from 2007's Onward, an accessible combination of hymns, traditional standards, and contemporary pop songs performed with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, such as "Amazing Grace," British patriotic song "I vow to thee, my country," and a cover version of Alison Krauss & Union Station's "A Living Prayer," and likewise with the four tracks chosen from the same year's La Passione, a more authentic Neapolitan-inspired operatic effort performed with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, including two odes to the Italian tenor Caruso by Ruggero Leoncavallo ("Mattinata") and Lucio Dalla's ("Caruso"), along with Agustín Lara's Latin classic "Granada." But there are also six tracks that have never appeared on a Boe album before. There's a duet with Welsh soprano Natasha Marsh on a rendition of "Brindisi" from Verdi's La Traviata, which appeared on her 2008 self-titled effort, three digital-only releases ("Abide with Me," "Where'er You Walk," and "Cujus Animam" from Rossini's Stabat mater), and a track that has only previously appeared on Myleene Klass' classical compilation Music for Romance (Leitch's "Fratello solo, sorella luna"), alongside one of his contributions to award-winning composer Howard Goodall's Eternal Light: A Requiem ("Agnus Dei"). While Boe moves further into the classical pop mainstream, You'll Never Walk Alone is a welcome reminder of his more natural operatic talents, whose combination of familiar and rarer material should appeal to newcomers and completists alike.

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