CD Review – Ralph McTell

Another review for folking.com of a veteran still putting out good music.

RALPH McTELL – Hill Of Beans (Leola Music TPGCD50)

David Harley

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Long Stand [remastered]

A few years ago my wife and I were watching a TV programme about Sting’s ‘The Last Ship Sails’ project. When they played a track called (I think) ‘Sky Hooks & Tartan Paint’, she said “That’s your song!” It wasn’t of course, but the first verse did have a startling resemblance to the first verse of ‘Long Stand’, both starting off with the ‘hazing‘ of a lad on his first day at work, though mine went on to make a political point. However, mine was written back in the early 80s for a revue directed by Margaret Ford, and subsequently released on a cassette album, so I’m pretty sure it came first…

This version was remastered – as best I could – from a damaged master tape, and while there’s still some noise, it’s made the transfer better than most of my tracks from CentreSound. All rights reserved.

 

Blues for Davy

One of several tracks recorded (mostly) at CentreSound in Camden in the 1980s and released on cassette at the time. The mastertapes were seriously unwell with ‘sticky-shed syndrome’ when I had them transferred to CD – an issue that affected a number of tape brands from that era. Baking the tape helped more with some tracks than others.  This is rougher than most, but I have a lot of trouble wrapping my fingers round this guitar piece nowadays, and I keep trying to tweak it into something bearable because I think there’s a decent scrap of music in there somewhere. I think this is as good as it’s likely to get now. Maybe I need to keep trying to relearn it…

As the title suggests, it was me trying to sound like Dav(e)y Graham in jazz mode. He never told me what he thought of it, which I suspect meant that he wasn’t impressed. 😀

David Harley

Before I Fall (later demo)

A slightly more confident version of the tune…

Before I fall (Harley) Copyright 1982/2019

I know I can be clumsy / I’m hamfisted as they come
I’m blessed with two left feet / And my fingers are all thumbs
But I can tie my own bootlaces / I can use a knife and fork
I get there in my own time / And if I can’t run I’ll walk

I don’t need a nanny or a minder and if I can’t cope, I’ll call
But please don’t pick me up (x3) before I fall

I know I tend to stammer / And my tongue gets tied in knots
I get confused and nervous / Tripping over my own thoughts
But I’ll make up my own mind / If I’m wrong I’ll take the blame
And I can finish my own sentences / Thank you all the same

I don’t need an interpreter and if I ever do, I’ll call
Only please don’t pick me up (x3) Before I fall

I’m defensive and I’m obstinate / When things I say and do
Turn out upside down and in reverse / I may get mad at you
As well as me, but I’m sorry / And I hope you understand
I appreciate your putting up / With me the way I am

I’m trying to do better, for you, most of all
Only please don’t pick me up (x3) before I fall