Sunday, November 6, 2011

Robert Plant and Alfie Boe: Fair or Foul

Even though the official release date is still a few days away, if you live in the UK you can download the Alfie Boe and Robert Plant duet, Song to the Siren, from iTunes now.

mzidsgekftr170x170-75As it's not available by means fair or foul outside the UK, here in Canada I can only speculate that it is a surprisingly good duet. Boe is a magnificent singer, and Song to the Siren is in his wheelhouse.

The revelation is Plant. Not that he can sing, of course, but that his voice works so well in the style with which this song is done.  Plant has changed his singing style dramatically over the last ten years - maybe it's even fair to say five. Nowhere does the positive aspects of that change come across as well as it does singing next to a very musical operatic singer.

An Alfie Boe and Robert Plant duet is, to use a phrase I frankly don't like, outside the box. Yet it works far better than I expect most fans of either artist expected it to. Wether Alfie Boe can sing Black Dog remains to be seen, but this combination works.

At least that's what I might say, if I had means to access the iTunes download. If only I had relatives in the UK to do a £1 favour for me.


Wyatt Brake said...

I won an eBay auction for a promo CD single and received it two days ago. The disc is so copy-protected though that I can't even import it into iTunes, and it defies any attempt to rip it by all other means that I've tried (otherwise I could send you a sample).

Anyway, the track is pretty effective - perhaps even better than the version that appeared on Dreamland (which was itself inferior to many live versions Plant pulled off on the 2001/2002 Strange Sensation tours, at least to my ears). It's an interesting combination of voices. Boe has such rich and powerful vocals, but... maybe because I'm just not accustomed to opera, he almost sounds so 'over the top' that it's as if he is parodying the operatic style. Plant sounds very good. He has definitely altered the way he approaches the song since the Dreamland era, and as you hinted, I think the change is due in large part to the way he began to learn to sing in the Raising Sand sessions (and continued on the Band of Joy album).

Worth picking up/downloading.

iambriandammit said...

Two things: I've never been a fan of this song and I do like opera. And I really quite liked this version. As you put it, it's an interesting combination of voices. And your right, he has talked about changing his approach to singing during Raising Sand, and it helps a lot here. I can't imagine ten or twenty years ago this working, but now it is very nice.

And for £1 (99p, actually), if you can get a hold of it, I'd do it.

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