Thursday, 5 March 2009

Alone Again (Naturally) - three versions

Here we are again with several takes of an old song - and full lyrics too, for one in particular of my legion readers.

Today's tune is Alone Again (Naturally), a biggedy hit in 1972 for Gilbert O'Sullivan, who also wrote it. What I like, is the contrast of genuinely sad lyrics, against quite a jaunty, piano-pop song backing; but it's also the thing that makes me yearn for a version with more obvious feeling, one that really explores the emotions behind those lines about suicide, loss, & crashing disappointment. Perhaps bizarrely, I can imagine William Shatner doing a very decent cover in his spoken-song way, full of gravity & unexpected emphasis on certain words.

There's an excellent, detailed piece on this song at The Song in my Head Today, which is right on the money, and neatly saves me searching for something useful to say. I couldn't find a cover that really fits the bill, so let's begin with the very fine original, and hope I don't get Grand Upright Music on the case.

Alone Again (Naturally) - Gilbert O'Sullivan
buy | official Gilbert O'Sullivan website

Now, this is more like it, from Shirley Bassey, pleasingly showing relative restraint with the tune, and in doing so, lending it plenty of feeling.
Alone Again (Naturally) - Shirley Bassey
Shirley Bassey Finest Collection

Nina Simone's version didn't pass my personal quality test, and the same goes for The Monkees' Davy Jones; I'm sure there are more gooduns, but I'll show some restraint myself (for once), by sticking with just one more - a funky, souly & very enjoyable performance from Esther Phillips, who named a whole album after the song title.
Alone Again (Naturally) - Esther Phillips

In a little while from now, if I'm not feeling any less sour
I promise myself to treat myself, and visit a nearby tower
And climbing to the top, will throw myself off
In an effort to make it clear to whoever, what it's like when you're shattered
Left standing in the lurch, at a church, where people're saying,
"My God that's tough, she stood him up, no point in us remaining - may as well go home."
As I did on my own,
Alone again, naturally

To think that only yesterday, I was cheerful, bright and gay,
Looking forward to, (but who wouldn't do?), the role I was about to play
But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces
Leaving me to doubt, all about God and His mercy
For if He really does exist, Why did He desert me?
In my hour of need, I truly am indeed
Alone again, naturally

It seems to me that
There are more hearts
Broken in the world
That can't be mended
Left unattended
What do we do? What do we do?

Looking back over the years, and whatever else that appears
I remember I cried when my father died, never wishing to have cried the tears
And at sixty-five years old, my mother, God rest her soul
Couldn't understand, why the only man she had ever loved had been taken
Leaving her to start, with a heart so badly broken
Despite encouragement from me, no words were ever spoken
And when she passed away, I cried and cried all day
Alone again, naturally
Alone again, naturally
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