Ralph McTell


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Ralph McTell had made his reputation on the folk circuit, and his "Streets of London" had brought him some wider fame. Easy, originally released in 1974, was his attempt at finding the wider audience that his contemporary John Martyn had reached -- McTell even employed the same bassist, former Pentangle man Danny Thompson. And it seemed to work, since Easy became his second U.K. chart album. And to be fair, it was a justifiable success, as McTell has written some of his most accessible material for the disc, with "Sweet Mystery" and "Let Me Down Easy" mining a romantic seam. Even "Maginot Waltz," with World War I as its unlikely topic, blends in smoothly. And just to prove he hadn't abandoned his roots completely, "Run Johnny Run" offers a tale of an escaped convict as lyrically harrowing and intense as anything on his earlier records. McTell's playing may not be as much in evidence as on some of his previous discs, but his picking is agile and subtle -- the equal of any of his colleagues. And to some it remains as close to perfect as McTell has ever come in its laid-back brilliance.

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