WE REVIEW THE NEW SINGLE FROM ALEX FRANCIS – SAY IT AIN’T SO, JOE
Alex Francis stands on a train looking lugubrious and resigned. It’s where he remains for the entirely of the accompanying video to his new single ‘Say It Ain’t So, Joe”.
It’s a song that will be familiar to many. Originally recorded by Murry Head in the seventies, it’s been covered by artists like Roger Daltrey and The Hollies. Now it is Francis’ turn to bring Head’s fearful plea for reassurance to a new audience.
Francis himself has steadily grown in popularity, with his sincere and soulful vocals earning him touring spots alongside The Stereophonics and Sting, among others. It’s those fervent vocals that suit this cover well; so well that it’s surprising Francis has never tried this before.
‘I’m not the most confident commentator on social themes in my music,’ he admits. But it’s the universality of the song’s messaging that drew Francis to it. He clearly considers it as relevant now as it was then.
His vocals are deeper than Head’s but he’s comfortable gliding to the higher notes when needed. A choir of backing vocalists reinforce the atmospheric soul of his assured vocals, singing of unassured times.
There’s palpable fear in Francis’ voice. But the instrumental build and peripheral backing vocals give the song an air of uplift. Times may be difficult but listening to Francis doesn’t strike nearly as much agitation as it does hope in the listener.
Which returns us to the video. Francis stands alone. He may be clinging to the train’s overhead strap, but he stands nonetheless.