I’m never more comfortable than when listening to a Ralph McTell record. Maybe it’s because he writes songs that envelope you in their Englishness that you can associate with so much of his lyrical content. I’m one of those people who prefers to hear Ralph in a solo acoustic setting than surrounded by a band. Like ‘Nana’s Song’, ‘First Song’ and ‘When I Was A Cowboy’ which sets the hairs standing on the back of my head. He’s also a consummate entertainer and always tells you how he came to write the songs. Listening to ‘Maginot Waltz’ transports me back to when I first saw Ralph perform at the Imperial College at the back of the Royal Albert Hall (a venue he was to fill a short time later!). To me there was no-one more justified in earning a place at that auspicious dome. OK, so his stride piano playing on ‘Five Knuckle Shuffle’ might be a little suspect but that’s what warms him to his audience. Recorded in 1976 this album remains as fresh now as it was then.
Reviewed by – Pete Fyfe 18-May-2001
Artist website – http://www.ralphmctell.co.uk/
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