The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #40864   Message #2410434
Posted By: Lizzie Cornish 1
11-Aug-08 - 07:50 AM
Thread Name: Is 'Streets of London' a folk song
Subject: RE: Is 'Streets of London' a folk song
Of course it's a folk song.

First of all, it was written by a singer/songwriter, same as the person who wrote the very first ever song, regardless of names or no names.

Secondly, it is about a place, a time, a people.

I used to work in London back in the 70s, when there were many homeless people on the streets of London. Sadly, there are now even more.

There was a very special lady who used to rest in the Ladies Toilets in Baker Street Station, by the table they had in there. She'd be there almost every day, when I'd pop in on my way home. She had bags on her feet, coat tied up with string, all her possessions with her, in those 'two carrier bags' that Ralph sang of. She was the most erudite woman to talk to. She'd sit at that table sharing a cup of tea with the lady who cleaned the toilets, and she'd write postcards to her friends, all over the world. She always had a smile for everyone and a kind word and she told me she was happy, living her life the way she chose to. Whether that was true or not, I don't know. But every evening, she'd smile at me, "Hello, my dear!"

I saw Ralph perform that song at Brunel University. It brought tears then, and it still does, because of the empathy inside his words and the memory of that sweet, elderly lady.

Ralph McTell - Streets of London (1975)


And another version, gently and feelingly, sung by Sinead.

'Streets of London' - sung by Sinead O'Connor