Still with the 70s, I finally get to re-visit Ralph McTell. What a classy joint the Cadogan Hall is - built as a Christian Scientist church, it has been re-fitted as a very high-quality, all seated concert hall - much like Birmingham Symphony Hall but on a more intimate scale. Superb for solo-ing folkies (Thompsons & Wainwrights please take note), Ralph liked it so much he talked of doing a show there every year.
Families and early influences was a thread running through the choice of songs. We didn't get 'Nana's Song' (dedicated to his wife) but instead the charming 'Growing Old with Naomi' about the long-lasting love between his grandparents. For the musical influences Ralph credited a long list of Blind Willys and Blind Jimmys etc and he put on some very intricate blue-grass finger-picking to prove it. His Dylan homage 'Zimmerman Blues' - "Oh Lord I got the Zimmerman blues!" was hugely enjoyable for me. You see, Ralph's voice is still strong and he interacts with his audience in a good-humoured way - unlike his Bobness. I have the utmost respect for Dylan the poet, but I should tell you that I saw Dylan at the O2 in April this year and was so disappointed in the show I couldn't bring myself to post about it. Until now.
Even "that song" got an airing. As he said, 'Streets of London' had made so many things possible in his life, so couldn't really begrudge playing it. 'Oh England' was green and lovely, 'Long way from Clare to here' was poetic - but no 'Ferryman'? Oh well, maybe next time.