The London Apprentice – On Ralph McTell’s New Album

The new album by veteran troubadour Ralph McTell, brings back my belief in the idea that it’s all about good songwriting. There you got a mega-respected singer/songwriter, who’d written one of the most classic 60’s songs (Streets Of London), who is considered to be one of the best singer/songwriters ever – and you probably didn’t even know it.
And why? Because he’s modest and can only offer his great talent, like this guy I wrote about.
Ralph Mctell  - Somewhere Down The Road

His new album Somewhere Down The Road, is his first release of original songs, in ten years. Don’t call it a comeback as no one wants to be stamped with that. But, this little ‘return’ of his, probably met him with great fear. The year of 2000 and the year 2010 (the album was released in Nov 2010), were two different eras in terms of music industry.
So he got it, he understood he don’t have to waste too much money on ultra mega deluxe recording studios, and no heavy production is needed (though I would love to hear his songs under the baton of Jeff Lynn). All it takes are great songs, delivered by his soft and pleasant voice and perfect guitar playing.

This album, almost stripped down to acoustic guitar and vocals only (with some exceptions, but nothing to take over this feeling of petit), is a stunning 14 songs collection. It will be appealing to British Folk fans, people who love June Tabor, Steve Tilston’s work with Maggie Boyl, and Richard Thompson Big Band period, as there are couples of true ‘British’ songs. Take the opening London Apprentice as the name hints, or Around The Wild Cape Horn, Rosalinda, and if I was him, I’d give Lantern Slides to June Tabor to sing, it’ll be perfect for her.

But this album can most definitely appeal to people who can appreciate good songwriting as a whole. Ralph offers a variety of what he’s best of. Some rag time guitar (Reverend Thunder), the longing feeling (that we heard in his monumental Zimmerman Blues from the 70’s), there’s the Mark Knopfler like adult contemporary of The Ghost Of Robert Johnson and there’s the strings accompanied ballad of the album, The Girl Of The Jersey Ferry.

So, if you’re fans of Ralph McTell – don’t miss this album, and for those who don’t know his work, this is a great introduction of Ralph’s capabilities as a writer, singer and guitarist, that will probably make you click on this link, and buy his box set.

Ralph McTell – The London Apprentice
Ralph McTell – Lantern Slides

[RIYL] Richard Thompson, Steve Tilston, June Tabor
[Buy] Amazon

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