Ralph McTell delights sell-out crowd

Ralph McTell, St Nicholas Centre, Ipswich, last night IN the intimate setting of the St Nicholas Centre, singer-songwriter Ralph McTell delighted a sell-out crowd - who had waited 12 years since his last concert in the town.

Ralph McTell, St Nicholas Centre, Ipswich, last night

IN the intimate setting of the St Nicholas Centre, singer-songwriter Ralph McTell delighted a sell-out crowd - who had waited 12 years since his last concert in the town.

At 64, this great folk singer shows no sign of slowing down, and his distinctive voice is just as strong and true as ever.

He is also a great guitarist - and treated us to different bluesy styles of playing, as well as getting in some piano and harmonica during the evening.


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McTell is of course best known for one song, Streets of London. As soon as the first notes of that one sounded, we all knew what was coming, and there was rapturous applause . He must have performed this song many hundreds of times, but still sang the words in a way which made it clear he meant them, giving them their full emotional weight.

“That was a medley of my greatest hit,” he joked wryly. However, there were plenty of other fine songs to hear during the evening, including a tribute to poet Dylan Thomas, classic blues, love songs, and songs he had written about friends and relations over the years.

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McTell chatted to the audience in friendly style all through the concert, explaining the inspiration for many of the songs and how he went about writing them, and talking about the musicians he had known and worked with - which all added to the atmosphere. He also talked about his two-part autobiography and the fun he had writing it.

He ended the concert with a double encore, of Summer Lightning, one of his best-known love songs, and the John Martyn classic May You Never. And he promised fans won't have to wait another 12 years before he is back in town.

JUDY RIMMER

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