Ralph McTell - Spiral Staircase (1969)

Ralph McTell's second album remains most remembered for the first version of "Streets of London," although this acoustic version is different from the mid-'70s re-recording that made it to number two in the British charts. 

It's a low-key and wistful record, no surprise there, as McTell has never been an in-your-face kind of performer. The tone is predominantly acoustic, with some appropriately soft, graceful orchestral arrangements by Mike Vickers. 

A few of the songs, like "England 1914" and "The Fairground," have nicely sad, ethereal melodies and forceful observational lyrics. Others are merely OK, and the straight blues songs, like the cover of Robert Johnson's "Kind Hearted Woman Blues," are the least memorable. (by Ritchie Unterberger)

Various "Streets Of London" singles

I know, Ralph McTell was much more than "Streets Of London", but in my youth I was very impressed by this song. So ... here are the lyrics:

Have you seen the old man
In the closed-down market
Kicking up the paper,
with his worn out shoes?
In his eyes you see no pride
Hand held loosely at his side
Yesterday's paper telling yesterday's news

So how can you tell me you're lonely,
And say for you that the sun don't shine?
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
I'll show you something to make you change your mind

Have you seen the old girl
Who walks the streets of London
Dirt in her hair and her clothes in rags?
She's no time for talking,
She just keeps right on walking
Carrying her home in two carrier bags.

In the all night cafe
At a quarter past eleven,
Same old man is sitting there on his own
Looking at the world
Over the rim of his tea-cup,
Each tea last an hour
Then he wanders home alone

And have you seen the old man
Outside the seaman's mission
Memory fading with
The medal ribbons that he wears.
In our winter city,
The rain cries a little pity
For one more forgotten hero
And a world that doesn't care

Ralph McTell (guitar, vocals, harmonica)
Mick "Henry VIII" Bartlett (jug on 05. + 07.)
"Whispering Mick" Bennett (washboard on 05. + 07.)

Peter Berryman (guitar on 05. + 07.)
Brian "Brock" Brocklehurst (bass on 05. + 07.)

01. Streets Of London (McTell) 4.11
02. Mrs Adlam's Angels (McTell) 2.46
03. Wino And The Mouse (McTell) 1.03
04. England 1914 (McTell) 3.07
05. Last Train And Ride (McTell) 2.35
06. The Fairground (McTell) 4.10
07. Spiral Staircase (McTell) 3.34
08. Kind Hearted Woman Blues (Johnson) 2.46
09. Bright And Beautiful Things (McTell) 1.57
10. Daddy's Here (McTell) 4.23
11. Rizraklaru (Anag) (McTell) 1.47
12. (My) Baby Keeps Staying Out All Night Long (Moss) 1.55
13. Terminus (McTell) 1.59

ARMU 2439
ARMU 2439 (zippyshare)