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Many Happy Returns to (The Half Moon) Ralph McTell!
London Half Moon Putney on December 20 2002
He was back at the Half Moon in Putney, but in the hearts of the audience he was always there and had never been away. The man, who describes one of the most moving and timeless songs about the plight of the homeless and socially isolated that has been played and sung in school assemblies since it first came out as, "my one hit", (Streets of London), sang, played guitar and harmonica for two and a half hours, with only a short break.
His voice is as strong and resonant as it ever was, but can also be quiet and emotional, bringing tears to the eyes of the listener. The stories he tells recall different events and characters, and the background to the songs. These are in turn funny, sad, interesting and often self depricating, and evoke the timeline of his journey as a modern minstrel.The audience, who ranged from those who were fans back in the 60s to younger, more recent followers, were in turn mesmerised, charmed and completely captivated. The room was filled with their voices when Ralph invited them to sing along to his "one hit" and he showed his complete joy at the sound, stopping singing himself to listen. After the show he kindly came out and greeted members of the audience as if they were old friends, signing CDs and posters, and posing for photographs. He even keeps a special pen just for these requests!
Although billed as his 70th birthday concert, it was in aid of Crisis at Christmas, showing Ralph McTell is not just one of our greatest singer songwriters of our time, but one who has stayed true to his roots and his committment to the underpriviledged of our society. He doesn't just sing it...he lives it.