Recorded at a pair of 1976 concerts a half a world away from each other, Ralph, Albert & Sydney refers to the venues, London's Royal Albert Hall and the Sydney Opera House, as well as their performer for the respective evenings, Ralph McTell. The album, besides illustrating the warmth of McTell's performances and the depth and gentleness of his writing, also serves as a terrific introduction to his early work. Many of the artist's best and best-known tunes are here, including "Michael in the Garden," "Zimmerman Blues," "First Song," and, of course, his signature song, the venerable "Streets of London." Through the years, McTell has been presented in a variety of settings on record, but no production can match the charm or the power created simply by his rich baritone, often intricate guitar playing, and natural, folksy between-song patter. It's amazing how McTell is able to create a coffeehouse setting in a large concert hall, and even more incredible that he's able to evoke that same feeling through a recording. Tender and smart, melancholy and funny, Ralph, Sydney & Albert is nothing less than a triumph of the folk singer/songwriter tradition. The 1997 Leola version features five additional tracks not available on the original 1977 Warner Bros. release.
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AllMusic Review by Brett Hartenbach