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The Unknown Soldier
Centenary Edition

Meet on the Ledge
Fairport's Cropredy 20

Masks and Gowns
A song for the NHS

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When We Were Young

2019 Autumn Tour
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2018 Christmas Benefit Concert
At Half Moon, Putney

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Backstage with James Taylor 2003

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 Ralph, Albert & Sydney
A Ralph McTell Fansite
The Front Page

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Welcome to this Ralph McTell Fansite

Please use the menu at the top of each page to find your way around.

On this site you will find Articles, Reviews and Interviews on Ralph McTell and his music, and a comprehensive Discography.

Please let me know if you have any articles, interviews or reviews from publications such as Melody Maker, Sounds, New Musical Express and Folk Roots, or any stories from the national and local press.

If you would like to add your own
Fan's Review of a Ralph McTell concert you have attended, or of a favourite McTell album, please email it to me and I'll add it to the appropriate page.

I try to keep the
Tour News page up to date.

Please feel free to leave a message on the Guestbook. You can also use this to ask any questions on Ralph's music or recordings - if I don't know the answer, I probably know a man who does!

John Beresford
Email

Stan and Ollie dance on this page because Ralph is a big fan!

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"The Unknown Soldier - Centenary Edition"

Ralph has re-recorded "The Unknown Soldier" to mark the centenary of the burial in Westminster Abbey. Ralph: "I wanted this version to represent all the Home Nations who fought in the Great War and asked an old friend and a couple of new ones if they would read the spoken sections of the piece. They all agreed and waived any fees so that all revenue raised can go straight to the Royal British Legion Poppy Day appeal.

Sir Billy Connolly represents Scotland.
Sir Anthony Hopkins represents Wales.
Liam Neeson OBE represents Ireland.
Yours truly represents Croydon and England."

Ralph made a YouTube video to accompany the song, which is available as an mp3 download from Ralph's webshop.

Digital download
Catalogue number: TPGCD111120
Issued on: 8 November 2020

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"Meet on the Ledge"

With the 2020 Fairport’s Cropredy Convention cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fairport's YouTube channel and BBC Radio Oxford broadcast a virtual festival on what would have been the final night. The five current members of Fairport, plus fifteen friends including Ralph, filmed themselves performing ‘Meet on the Ledge’ to Fairport's guide track. The resulting videos were stitched together to form an audio and video stream to close the festival in the time-honoured way. This new version of 'Meet On The Ledge' is available as a charity single to support Help Musicians UK (formerly the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund). With twenty performers in all the recording is billed as 'Fairport's Cropredy 20'. It is available as a digital download from iTunes and Amazon.

Digital download
Issued on: 26 August 2020

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"Masks and Gowns"

As the COVID-19 pandemic reached its first peak in April 2020, Ralph wrote a song for the UK NHS. He sang it on a video on his website and made an mp3 version available as a free download:

Catalogue number: TPGMP3111
Issued on: 26 April 2020

Ralph also started a petition asking the Mayor of London to dedicate the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square to 'the unsung heroes that have kept the country going during the COVID-19 pandemic'.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic - New Verse for "Streets of London"

Prompted by Fergal Keane, in March 2020 Ralph wrote a new verse for his iconic ‘homelessness’ ballad:

In shop doorways, under bridges
In all our towns and cities
You can glimpse the makeshift bedding
From the corner of your eye
Remember what you're seeing
Barely hides a human being
We’re all in this together
Sister, brother, you and I

The BBC News website carried this report by Fergal.

As the world went into lockdown to combat the virus, Ralph’s Spring 2020 tour was postponed till 2021.

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"Hill of Beans"

Ralph's new album "Hill of Beans" is available on CD and MP3 from Ralph's web shop, Amazon and other high street and on-line retailers.

Catalogue number: TPGCD50
Issued on: 20 September 2019

It's typical of Ralph McTell to take an idea or phrase out of its original context and apply it to another situation. For one of the tracks on his new CD, Ralph has taken the central theme of the 1942 film 'Casablanca', and worked his magic on it. At face value the song tells the story of the film; but this is Ralph McTell, so when he sings "We'll always have those days in Paris", we can be sure that he's thinking of his own Paris days and what they led to. That would be poetic enough, but then Ralph takes the idea to a whole new level when he makes the song the title track of the CD. In doing so, he is inviting the self-deprecating suggestion that this collection of songs, and all that went before in a career of 50+ years, "don't amount to a hill of beans".

"Hill of Beans" indeed! On the contrary, this album will prove to be regarded as among his best work. Two equal factors make it so - Ralph's choice of material and Tony Visconti's production. The choice of material is fascinating. On an album of 'original songs', only four of the eleven are new - the other seven have all be seen in some form before. One song was first recorded 40 years ago, two others twelve years ago, one of which has also featured on two live recordings since. But in Visconti's hands they're all brand new, with Ralph's voice and guitar prominent (of course) and understated orchestration and backing vocals.

The songs:

Oxbow Lakes
An early draft of this song appears in Ralph's song lyrics book 'Time's Poems', which was published in 2005.

Brighton Belle
Ralph recorded this for the 2007 stories-and-songs audio book autobiography, 'As Far as I Can Tell', and has played it on several concert tours since.

Clear Water
Written for Fairport Convention and recorded on their ‘Myths and Heroes’ CD in 2015. By omitting the verse referencing ‘Rising for the Moon’, Ralph has repurposed the song to his own career.

Gertrude and Alice
A true story of art lovers in early 20th century Paris.

Gammel Dansk
Has a 'found poem' feel reminiscent of 'Easter Lilies'.

Shed Song
Writen and first recorded for the 'Harbour of Songs' project in 2012.

Close Shave
A play on words with great ragtime guitar.

When They Were Young
Another from 'As Far as I Can Tell'. Also on the 'Affairs of the Heart' box set and live on 'Songs For Six Strings (1st - E)' CD and '70th Birthday Concert' DVD.

Sometimes I Wish I Could Pray
This remarkable song was first recorded in 1979 for 'Slide Away the Screen', but wasn't released until the CD version in 1994. Now it gets the Welsh Chapel Choir treatment it deserves, led by Mary Hopkin.

Hill of Beans
'I'm no good at being noble...'

West 4th Street and Jones
Way out in front as the stand-out track, and a live take to boot. Also live on the '70th Birthday Concert' DVD, and a regular in concert sets since 2013.

Ralph is 75 in December and is about to set off on the UK and Ireland leg of the Hill of Beans World Tour, culminating in a birthday celebration concert at the Royal Festival Hall on 13 December.

Review by John Beresford
25 September 2019.

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Ralph's 2018 Christmas Benefit Concert

Ralph's 2018 Christmas Benefit Concert at the Half Moon in Putney was in aid of the Streets of London charity, which works with homeless people in the captital and is named after Ralph's song. The concert was streamed live on Ralph's Facebook page.

  

  

  

  

For information on Streets of London, and to make a donation, see the charity's website.

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Ralph on "Later... with Jools Holland"

Ralph made his debut appearance on BBC Two's "Later... with Jools Holland" music show on Saturday 29 September 2018. He sang "Nanna's Song" - the first track on Ralph's first LP - and "West 4th Street and Jones" - which is expected to feature on Ralph's forthcoming new album. Ralph's wife Nanna was in the audience.

  

  

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"And About Time Too"

Leola Music has issued a double LP of Ralph and Wizz's two "About Time" albums.

Catalogue number: TPGLP39
"And About Time Too" was issued on 13 June 2018 at the first gig of the 'About Time Too' tour, and was made available from Ralph's webshop on 26 June 2018.

"And About Time Too" is a limited edition double vinyl release of Ralph and Wizz’s albums About Time and About Time Too.

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New version of "Streets of London"

Ralph invited a choir from the homeless charity Crisis at Christmas to sing "Streets of London" with him at his London Palladium concert in October 2017, and they have recorded Ralph's iconic song with guest vocalist Annie Lennox. The single is available as a download from iTunes and other download sites; and as a CD single from Townsend Music. All proceeds go to Crisis to help support some of the thousands of people facing homelessness. Crisis has made a You Tube video to promote the release.

"Streets of London" by Ralph McTell featuring The Crisis Choir with guest vocalist Annie Lennox
Digital download issued on 4 December 2017
CD single issued on 15 December 2017
'Streets of London' was Number 94 in the Christmas 2017 Official Singles Chart (for all sales and streams)
The CD Single was Number 1 in the Christmas 2017 Official Physical Singles Chart (for CD sales).

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