Ralph McTell (born Ralph May, 3 December 1944) is an English singer-songwriter and acoustic guitar player who has been an influential figure on the UK folk music scene since the 1960s.
McTell is best known for his song "Streets of London", which has been covered by over two hundred artists around the world, and for his tale of Irish emigration, "From Clare to Here".
In the 1980s he wrote and played songs for two TV children's programmes, Alphabet Zoo, which also featured Nerys Hughes, followed by Tickle on the Tum, featuring Jacqueline Reddin. Albums were also released from both series. He also recorded Keith Hopwood's and Malcolm Rowe's theme song to Cosgrove Hall's adaptation of The Wind in the Willows, and this was released as a single in 1984 after the series was aired on ITV.
McTell's guitar playing has been modelled on the style of the US's country blues guitar players of the early 20th century, including Blind Blake, Robert Johnson and Blind Willie McTell. These influences led a friend to suggest that he change his professional name to McTell as his career was beginning to take shape.
McTell is also an accomplished performer on piano and harmonica, which he uses on a harness.
- ^ Hockenhull, Chris. "Streets of London: The Official Biography of Ralph McTell", p. 8. Northdown, 1997. ISBN 1-900711-02-8.
- ^ Farquarson, Andy. "Streets Ahead", The Guardian, 14 May 1999.
- ^ Nelligan, Tom. "Ralph McTell – Still Weathering the Storm", Dirty Linen, April–May 1996.
- ^ Hockenhull, p. 107.
- ^ Hockenhull, p. 109.
- ^ Hockenhull, p. 111.
- ^ Grossman, Stefan. "Ralph McTell – European Fingerpicker", Guitar Player, August 1976.
- ^ Hockenhull, p. 40.