Ralph McTell


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Ralph McTell is such a good songwriter that it's easy to forget his other skills as a singer and superb guitarist. But his songwriting skills are on greatest display on this album, that takes its title from his biggest hit, "Streets Of London," which has gone on to become a folk standard. It's worth remembering, though, just how good a song it is; long before the homeless had become something newsworthy, McTell's sympathetic song shone a spotlight on them. To be fair, it's the outstanding piece here (with some tasty fingerpicking), although it should be noted that this is really just 1975's Streets album, renamed to take advantage of the hit, and with 2 previously unreleased tracks, "Country Boys" and "Another Star Ascending (The Boxer)," both of which are good, but not outstanding or essential. "Grande Affaire" is pleasant, "Heron Song" is almost vintage '60s McTell in its straightforwardness. The ragtime influence of much of his early playing has gone, and what remains is someone who's found himself. If you're looking for a best of, however, look on. It might seem to be one from the cover, but really, it's just a marketing ploy.

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