RALPH McTell made his debut in 1968 with the album ‘Eight Frames a Second’ and in 1974 the release of ‘Streets of London’ earned him an Ivor Novello Award. In 2002 he was presented with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.
One of the great storytellers, Ralph is now celebrating more than 50 years on the road. Known for his virtuoso guitar style, he is primarily a prolific and gifted songwriter. With a style that invites you into a unique world, he weaves a narrative that is both significant and poignant.
While working on a building site in the early sixties, Ralph was inspired by an Irish gang on the site to write Clare to Here.
“I was only about 17 or 18. The craic relieved the stress of the hard work. I was working with an Irishman called Michael, as so many of them are. And I said to him, ‘It must be very strange to be here in London after the place you come from.’ And he responded by saying, ‘Yes, it’s a long way from Clare to here.’”
Ralph has been a lifelong friend of Ireland, its music, and its people. Next year sees the Streets of London composer celebrate his 80th birthday, and to mark his special year he is recording a new album with some of Ireland’s finest artists in a unique collaboration that affirms his connection with and love for the music and culture of Ireland.
Ralph says, “Over my writing career I have written and recorded a number of songs that reflect my affection for Ireland, and I wanted to celebrate that by inviting some of my Irish musician friends to take part in this special recording.”
When asked on KCLR96FM, when this new album will be complete and ready for a release date, Ralph gave a funny insight into the process of collaborative work in music here in Ireland.
“I’ll answer that with a slightly oblique response and that is … There is time. There is rock’n’roll time. There’s Irish time, and there’s Irish rock and roll time and it’s taking time.”
“I’m having this wonderful opportunity to work with Irish artists that I’ve always loved and admired. We’ll have to just wait until it’s ready. I would say probably next year.”
The new recording is called ‘From There to Here’. This evocation of Ireland will be released when it is good and ready. In the meantime, Ralph is touring Ireland this month coming to Lime Tree Theatre this Sunday October 29.