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Origins: Streets of London (Ralph McTell)^^^

DigiTrad:
STREETS OF LONDON


Related threads:
Is Streets Of London truly Pachelbels Canon??? (66)
Is 'Streets of London' a folk song (92)
MIDI Req: Streets of London (21)
Lyr Add: Streets of London parody (8)
Is 'Streets of London' a folk song (28)
Chords Req: Streets of London (Ralph McTell) (14)
Help: Streets of London (Ralph McTell) (4)


GUEST,Louise 22 Feb 00 - 05:11 PM
GUEST,Louise 22 Feb 00 - 05:15 PM
Ulli 22 Feb 00 - 05:29 PM
GUEST,Louise 22 Feb 00 - 05:51 PM
Liz the Squeak 23 Feb 00 - 02:50 PM
GUEST,Louise 23 Feb 00 - 03:04 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 23 Feb 00 - 09:11 PM
Mrrzy 27 Feb 02 - 02:38 PM
GUEST 27 Feb 02 - 02:44 PM
MMario 27 Feb 02 - 02:50 PM
Mrrzy 27 Feb 02 - 03:52 PM
greg stephens 27 Feb 02 - 04:00 PM
MMario 27 Feb 02 - 04:06 PM
GUEST,Jim 27 Feb 02 - 04:17 PM
breezy 27 Feb 02 - 04:18 PM
GUEST 27 Feb 02 - 04:30 PM
greg stephens 27 Feb 02 - 04:41 PM
GUEST,Jim 27 Feb 02 - 04:51 PM
nager 27 Feb 02 - 05:14 PM
Joe_F 27 Feb 02 - 06:40 PM
dick greenhaus 27 Feb 02 - 08:36 PM
GUEST,MAG at work 27 Feb 02 - 10:17 PM
GUEST,KD Withington 23 Jul 07 - 06:03 AM
goatfell 23 Jul 07 - 06:09 AM
GUEST,Lanfranc the Cookieless 23 Jul 07 - 06:31 AM
Tattie Bogle 23 Jul 07 - 06:59 AM
synbyn 23 Jul 07 - 08:36 AM
DonMeixner 23 Jul 07 - 08:43 AM
songs2play 23 Jul 07 - 08:57 AM
Ross 23 Jul 07 - 09:51 AM
Mark H. 23 Jul 07 - 12:30 PM
GUEST, Sminky 23 Jul 07 - 12:39 PM
Big Al Whittle 23 Jul 07 - 01:58 PM
GUEST,Granny in Wales 23 Jul 07 - 02:45 PM
Rog Peek 23 Jul 07 - 06:39 PM
oldhippie 23 Jul 07 - 09:03 PM
Joe_F 23 Jul 07 - 09:05 PM
SharonA 23 Jul 07 - 09:15 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 23 Jul 07 - 11:28 PM
Big Al Whittle 24 Jul 07 - 01:41 AM
GUEST, Sminky 24 Jul 07 - 09:39 AM
Trevor 24 Jul 07 - 12:08 PM
John Hardly 24 Jul 07 - 12:29 PM
GUEST,guest 24 Jul 07 - 06:49 PM
Big Al Whittle 24 Jul 07 - 07:48 PM
GUEST,Jon 25 Jul 07 - 10:16 AM
redsnapper 25 Jul 07 - 10:36 AM
Big Mick 25 Jul 07 - 12:38 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 26 Jul 07 - 10:24 AM
DonMeixner 26 Jul 07 - 12:25 PM
DonMeixner 26 Jul 07 - 01:45 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 26 Jul 07 - 05:39 PM
GUEST,Londoner 26 Jul 07 - 05:42 PM
Tattie Bogle 26 Jul 07 - 07:26 PM
GUEST,Guest, Mike 26 Jul 07 - 07:57 PM
Big Al Whittle 26 Jul 07 - 07:57 PM
Tattie Bogle 27 Jul 07 - 05:10 PM
GUEST,synbyn 28 Jul 07 - 11:04 AM
Joe Offer 27 Mar 20 - 10:19 PM
BrooklynJay 28 Mar 20 - 01:08 PM
Brian May 29 Mar 20 - 11:27 AM
GUEST 06 Apr 20 - 09:48 AM
GUEST 09 Apr 20 - 10:59 AM
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Subject: Streets of London
From: GUEST,Louise
Date: 22 Feb 00 - 05:11 PM

I found the lyrics to this on the database yesterday, was daft enough not to print them off at the time and today they've been removed at the request of the publisher?

Could anyone direct me to somewhere else, please?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Louise


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: GUEST,Louise
Date: 22 Feb 00 - 05:15 PM

PS, I only want the lyrics so I can sing my toddler to sleep! Sorry if I've walked into the middle of a storm, just reread some old threads and there's obviously an ongoing battle here. Stay strong and you have my support as a newbie, for what it's worth.

Louise


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Subject: Lyr Add: STREETS OF LONDON (Ralph McTell)
From: Ulli
Date: 22 Feb 00 - 05:29 PM

here are the lyrics (again)

STREETS OF LONDON
(Ralph McTell)
As recorded by Ralph McTell on "Spiral Staircase" (1969)

1. 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,
And held loosely at his side,
Yesterday's paper telling yesterday's news.

CHORUS: 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,
Show you something to make you change your mind.

2. 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. CHORUS

3. In the all-night cafe at a quarter past eleven,
Same old man sitting there on his own,
Looking at the world over the rim of his teacup,
Each tea lasts an hour and he wanders home alone. CHORUS

4. 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 in a world that doesn't care. CHORUS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: GUEST,Louise
Date: 22 Feb 00 - 05:51 PM

Thank you. x


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 23 Feb 00 - 02:50 PM

Be very careful with this one, Ralph McTell is notoriously touchy when it comes to copyright and crediting this song, it was parodied for a football chant (OK, the fans changed ONE word) and he refused point blank for the changed version to be broadcast, so no sneaky changing London for any other city.....!

LTS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: GUEST,Louise
Date: 23 Feb 00 - 03:04 PM

Thanks for the warning, Liz - S*****s of Barnsley it ain't then!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 23 Feb 00 - 09:11 PM

Louise, I found the words in the database.

http://www.mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=5574


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Subject: RE: Streets of London
From: Mrrzy
Date: 27 Feb 02 - 02:38 PM

What does he mean when he sings "How can you tell me you're lonely?" in this song? I'm not "getting" it intellectually, but the line is breaking me up. So sad...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Feb 02 - 02:44 PM

"How can you tell me you're lonely". Which of those words is causing the problem?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: MMario
Date: 27 Feb 02 - 02:50 PM

My interpretation is that the singer is chastizing someone else (probably someone middle class or above)for griping about their life when there are so many others out there with so much less.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: Mrrzy
Date: 27 Feb 02 - 03:52 PM

Ah, this is a Don't complain about no shoes or I'll show you someone with no feet, then. Makes much more sense now.

But WHY O why does that one line just do me in?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: greg stephens
Date: 27 Feb 02 - 04:00 PM

I've always had big problems with this song. Does anybody actually like it?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: MMario
Date: 27 Feb 02 - 04:06 PM

I like it - the combination of lyrics and the music does something.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 27 Feb 02 - 04:17 PM

Yes, I like it. In fact I like it a lot.

However 'obvious' the lyrics might sound, I find it a useful reminder when I start to wallow in self pity.

Besides, the fact that it's so well known is evidence in itself that lots of people like it.

Jim


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: breezy
Date: 27 Feb 02 - 04:18 PM

Did you meet an old meths drinker on a dump site of east London
A shadowy figure of a life that had once been
Built a home of tin and timber
Died the other night , you wont see him again.
Not by Brian M's brother!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Feb 02 - 04:30 PM

No one drinks Meths anymore.

Strong white cider is a lot cheaper


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: greg stephens
Date: 27 Feb 02 - 04:41 PM

Well, Jim, I know a lot of people like it, you can't get away from it. I've just got a big problem with it. Same goes for God Save the Queen and Puff the Magic Dragon.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 27 Feb 02 - 04:51 PM

Your loss I think, Greg

Jim

(I like 'Puff the Magic Dragon' too! Hate God Save the Queen, mind)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: nager
Date: 27 Feb 02 - 05:14 PM

I have met Ralph McTell on three or four occasions and told him once that I sang two or three of his songs at concerts from time to time. With a wry smirk he suggested that perhaps I should be paying him copyright fees... but he was fine when I explained I am simply an amateur performer and (at the time) was performing voluntarily at charity events and nursing homes etc and never get paid. Streets of London is a great song and I don't blame him for wanting to protect it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: Joe_F
Date: 27 Feb 02 - 06:40 PM

What sentiment could be more poetically appropriate, in every age, that "Confound their politics,/Frustrate their knavish tricks"?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 27 Feb 02 - 08:36 PM

Hear the little whirring of a million little tape recorders
Grabbing new material before it hits the ground
Hear the second-rate performers singing all this new material
Hear how it becomes a drag the second time around

So don't let me hear that you're downhearted,
That you haven't had a booking in a long, long while,
Grow yourself a bushy beard and learn to squeeze a concertina
I'll show you something that will make you change your style

....ca 1972, at the height if the Brit folk revival in the US.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: GUEST,MAG at work
Date: 27 Feb 02 - 10:17 PM

I know lots of good people like to adapt the "Don't tell me" lyrics; I have always taken them to mean the singer talkingto him/herself. Like Dylan's early put-down stuff was in essence addressed to himself ("How does it feel?") It's a simple call to not look away.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: GUEST,KD Withington
Date: 23 Jul 07 - 06:03 AM

I know this is an old thread and may well bore some people but I would like to know the truth in the rumour that it was originally written for Paris but was changed before it became the No1 popular folk song and hit it was. Secondly, the music reminds me of Pachelbel's Canon in D. For those who remember, this was the music used for the old wool advert. It is a piece that starts with just one instrument then builds up with other instruments but simply repeats the theme over and over. Was this the music on which the tune was based?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: goatfell
Date: 23 Jul 07 - 06:09 AM

i like the song


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: GUEST,Lanfranc the Cookieless
Date: 23 Jul 07 - 06:31 AM

Pachelbel's Canon in D has contributed to this song and lots of others. Al Stewart used to claim (and probably still does) that McTell nicked the tune of "Streets of London" from Stewart's song "Oh Samuel, How you've Changed".

The chord sequences are virtually identical, and sometimes, for a bit of fun, I segue "Oh Samuel..", "Streets..." and Steve Goodman's "City of New Orleans", using more or less the same accompaniment for each, and end up by playing the first few bars of the Pachelbel Canon on guitar.

Pretentious, moi!?!

Alan


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 23 Jul 07 - 06:59 AM

"Long December Night" By Ivan Drever also owes a lot to Pachelbel, even if it wasn't intentional.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: synbyn
Date: 23 Jul 07 - 08:36 AM

Victoria Wood did a wonderful sketch where two trainee schoolteachers with nylon-strung guitars went around old people's homes singing SoL to an incapacitated audience... it was done to death in the seventies, but seems to be on the rise again. Well performed ( and I think Derek Brimstone was responsible for first bringing it to notice ) it does have the ability to reprove the angst-wailers, but it does have to be done by someone who gives it meaning, and isn't just using it as a sentimental wild roverimho... as to the tune, if you know enough songs, everything sounds like something... it's a great song, because it talks directly, again imho, and leads listeners into our kind of music...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: DonMeixner
Date: 23 Jul 07 - 08:43 AM

I like this song and do it in my band. It has always gotten good reception. But that is over here in up state New York. (For down stater upstate doesn't begin util you reach the North slopes Hunter Mountain) It was never realeased as single in the US to my knowledge.
And it never had radio overplay problems.

But my sympathies to those who hear any good song to the point of brain burn.

Don


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: songs2play
Date: 23 Jul 07 - 08:57 AM

Yes indeed it was originally written as Paris, Ralph was over there at the time busking. Originally ot was only written with 3 verses.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: Ross
Date: 23 Jul 07 - 09:51 AM

Wasn't there a legal complication as the song was written for someone else

That meant Ralph couldn't record the song himself until a number of years had passed?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: Mark H.
Date: 23 Jul 07 - 12:30 PM

Here's the lost verse:

Have you seen the young girl who walks the streets of London?
Should be at school, but every day she needs to score.
Takes a sad and lonely man to the squat to do the business,
Takes the crumpled paper, then she feeds her arm once more.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 23 Jul 07 - 12:39 PM

Wasn't there a legal complication as the song was written for someone else

Ralph wrote it to console a friend of his who was going through a bad time.

His friend subsequently committed suicide.

I know that for a while afterwards, Ralph (quite understandably) was reluctant to sing it - but not for any legal reasons AFAIK.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Jul 07 - 01:58 PM

Are you sure that's a hand held loosely by his side?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: GUEST,Granny in Wales
Date: 23 Jul 07 - 02:45 PM

it's "And held loosely by his side...."

My late father came from Croydon in Surrey, and when I was quite small in the 1950s he told me a story of a well-known Croydon character, an old homeless lady who was a familiar sight walking around with two carrier bags which she was never seen without.

One day she was accidentally run over and the contents of the carrier bags spilt out all over the road....hundreds and hundreds of bank notes!!!


Years later, I heard Ralph McTell interviewed on the radio, and he told the interviewer that he came from Croydon....!!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: Rog Peek
Date: 23 Jul 07 - 06:39 PM

I don't know if anyone else has picked this up, I may have missed it, but the fourth line of the first verse is:

And held loosely at his side.

NOT

Hand held loosley by his side.

This is atraight from the horses mouth so to speak.

Ralph was at pains to point this out at a concert he did in Bristol about 5 years ago.

Also, in his book 'Songs for Six Strings', he has put a hand written note on the transcription done by Roger Brown:

"the lyric here is the first time I think it's been written out correctly. I wrote 'and held.....' NOT 'HAND held....'   Cheers Roger. Ralph
(Use of capitals was Ralph's not mine.)

Interestingly, in the lyrics in DT this line is correct, but there are some other differences to the lyrics written by Ralph, notably in the second and fourth verses, which should read:

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.

NOT ....two big shopping bags.

.................. the rain cries a little pity
For one more forgotten hero and a world that doesn't care

NOT .....in a world that doesn't care.

Rog Peek


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: oldhippie
Date: 23 Jul 07 - 09:03 PM

I first heard the recording while driving in London in the early 70s. I had to pull over to listen to the song and find out the singer. I immediately took a liking to the song. Later in the week, I bought the UK release LP before returning home to the USA.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: Joe_F
Date: 23 Jul 07 - 09:05 PM

Whoever changed "carrier bags" to "big shopping bags" was presumably just translating British to American. Surely, most Americans would have the wit to guess.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: SharonA
Date: 23 Jul 07 - 09:15 PM

"Surely, most Americans would have the wit to guess."

Don't bet on that! Some might guess "shopping bags", but others might envision carry-on luggage bags, rolling suitcases, or who knows what else. It's best to clarify these things for different cultures, to aid the formation of word-pictures in their heads!

By the way, here in America we call such poor souls "bag ladies." Often, though, they put their bags in shopping carts for ease of transport.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 23 Jul 07 - 11:28 PM

Here is one "American" who has always sung Carrier Bags, And Held Loosely, And a World that doesn't care.

I do take some liberties with the dif between Sailor's and Seaman's Mission.

I learned the song in 1974 from Tony Seaman, a recent arrival from Bermuda, Late of Jersey and before that, Lincolnshire somewheres about.

Don


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Jul 07 - 01:41 AM

Great! Now we have that one cleared up, I'll be off to my local folk club tonight to sing this wondrous timeless classic. I just hope they appreciate fully how much research we proud inheritors of the living tradtion have to do, to provide them with an authentic folkmusic experience.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 24 Jul 07 - 09:39 AM

Great song, and special for me cos it was the first song I learned to fingerpick on the guitar.

Not my favourite one of Ralph's though - that would be 'The Setting' which is also Ralph's favourite.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: Trevor
Date: 24 Jul 07 - 12:08 PM

I think he uses tunes based on classical themes in a couple of other songs. The one that immediately springs to mind is 'Dreams of You' which sounds as if its based on 'Jesu Bleibet Meine Freude'.
We got fed up of certain types of audience asking if we would do 'Streets' and 'Wild Rover' that we perform the words of the latter to the tune of the former (with a bit of 'No Woman No Cry' in the chorus)!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: John Hardly
Date: 24 Jul 07 - 12:29 PM

"Pachelbel's Canon in D has contributed to this song and lots of others."

tacobell


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 24 Jul 07 - 06:49 PM

Replying to the question if we like the song.

I do .. I think the sentiment is in the right place. There are so few songs about people beset by harsh circumstances anymore. The last one I can remember getting airplay was "That's Just the Way it Is." don Mclean wrote one called Orphans of Wealth, but you rarely hear it anymore; and having seen Don's landed gentry lifestyle on a recent cbs sunday morning show, I would think he would be ashamed to sing it.


But I have to admit the line "how can you tell me you're lonely" is a little...mmmm...heavyhanded. it's difficult to talk/sing about the plight of the disadvantaged without sounding preachy, and this line is a bit pedantic. The melody and lyrics override that for me; but I can understand why it isn't as powerful and oft played an anthem as say,
There But For Fortune.

Sometimes I think the last great songwriter of this sort of topic was Woody.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Jul 07 - 07:48 PM

I think its very good. Any songwriter would have been proud to write it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 25 Jul 07 - 10:16 AM

Just to say that whilst I play SoL occasionally, my favourite R McT song is The Hiring Fair.....lots of lovely Em chords, which sound great on my rather battered Crafter J15.....


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: redsnapper
Date: 25 Jul 07 - 10:36 AM

Excellent sentiment to the song but it's probably worth continuing to rest (together with a fair few others!) until it becomes fresh again.

RS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: Big Mick
Date: 25 Jul 07 - 12:38 PM

I've been doing this song for a number of years now, sometimes I will change the name to the city I am in, just to let folks know that they need to see when they walk their streets. They need to be aware of what is around them. It is my opinion that this is a problem around the world, but it is particularly acute in my own possessions obsessed country. Sometimes my countrymen are so obsessed with touting our fair land as the "Greatest country on earth" that they don't open their eyes and see that, in many ways, we aren't even in the top 10. Greatest potential? Maybe. But, after a tenuous start, and a great set of middle innings, we are in danger of slipping very far back in the pack. I believe music has the power to influence how people think, when done the right way. I believe McTell's Streets of London is one of those songs. And I would bet he wouldn't have a lick of trouble with the Big ole Mick using it to open folks eyes to the truth that is all around them.

By the way, "The Hiring Fair" was sent to me by she whom I relentlessy pursue over cyber hill and dale, known to the old timers here as THE FAIR ONE, some years ago. I love the song, especially the part where (by the use of certain phrasing, and sexy noises, and guitar work) it gets a little randy. Love singing that song!!!!

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 26 Jul 07 - 10:24 AM

Isn't it great to think that Ralph McT is up there with the person who wrote the 'Wild Rover'?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: DonMeixner
Date: 26 Jul 07 - 12:25 PM

If I could never be a better songwriter than is Ralph Mc Tell I think I'd settle for being in his august company.

Don


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: DonMeixner
Date: 26 Jul 07 - 01:45 PM

And I doubt I'll ever be near as good as he.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 26 Jul 07 - 05:39 PM

I think that I prefer 'The Wild Rover' - it's a lot less sanctimonious!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: GUEST,Londoner
Date: 26 Jul 07 - 05:42 PM

I'm surprised that a such a caring song writer is so protective of his song. I would have thought he would have wanted everyone to sing it without all the restrictions he has imposed.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 26 Jul 07 - 07:26 PM

Yes, I thought it was a bit odd, compared with, say, Eric Bogle or Dick Gaughan who have a lot of their song words on their websites for the public to use (with the proviso that they should seek permission before recording or using them professionally), and Tom Paxton with free downloads of some of his songs.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: GUEST,Guest, Mike
Date: 26 Jul 07 - 07:57 PM

I first heard this song in 1970 when I was having a meal in acafe in Brighton, one of the local folkies was providing the diners with entertainment/education. I used to be a policeman in the City of London and can remember seeing characters such as those in this song wandering around the bomb sites of Upper and Lower Thames Streets and also in and around Mick's Cafe in Fleet street late at night. This song brought those memories to life to me, and still do. And as Big Mick said, remind me that there is always someone worse off, nomatter where you are. I now live in Auckland NZ where we also have the homeless.
A long way of saying I like this song and the reasons why.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 26 Jul 07 - 07:57 PM

There is an Italian guy who loves Ralph and puts all his lyrics on his website and Ralph is generally supportive of his efforts, I think. there are discussion forums of his many fans - most of whom will help you out with either lyrics or accompaniments.

Ralph is a gentleman - always polite and friendly to other singers and fans, generally approachable. Being a Ralph fan has never been a cheap option though. transatlantic albums cost about ten bob more than a Beatles album way back in the 1960's. Afterwards in the 1970's the transatlantic catalogue was marketed and repackaged remorselessly - apparently none of which generated much income for Ralph.

Since then, I get the impression he is a little more careful about in whose pockets the record royalties end up.

Ralph works tirelessly at his craft and always does his best for his fans. And we begrudge him nothing at all.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 27 Jul 07 - 05:10 PM

Please don't misconstrue me, WLD (maybe you weren't?): I have met Ralph and he is a charmer and I am a big fan: the above post I made was merely an observation - and a puzzlement.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Streets of London
From: GUEST,synbyn
Date: 28 Jul 07 - 11:04 AM

I guess it's like having a vacuum cleaner known as a hoover- the originator loses control over his material unless he asserts it. Not through reputable singers, but through cowboys... and I think it's reasonable for writers, who ponder over the exact word to use, to ensure that their ponderings are not hacked about...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Streets of London (Ralph McTell)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Mar 20 - 10:19 PM

Ralph McTell first recorded "Streets of London" in 1969, when he was 22 years old. He's now 75.

A BBC Article says that Ralph McTell has added a coronavirus verse to "Streets of London":
    Changing the song was something he'd always resisted, he said. It was written when he was 22 and belonged to a particular time. But this was an extraordinary moment in history. "Give me a chance to think and try and write something."

    This new verse was the moving result:

      In shop doorways, under bridges, in all our towns and cities
      You can glimpse the makeshift bedding from the corner of your eye
      Remember what you're seeing barely hides a human being
      We're all in this together, brother, sister, you and I.


    Ralph is an optimist. In recent daily encounters he has detected a new mood of community.

    In his area of west London, it has manifested itself in warmer greetings and observing the rules of social distancing. He is aware of the paradox that what pushes us physically apart might bring us closer.



And here's a really nice video illustrating the song and its history:


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Subject: RE: Origins: Streets of London (Ralph McTell)^^^
From: BrooklynJay
Date: 28 Mar 20 - 01:08 PM

Wow.... Thanks for posting this, Joe.

It should be mentioned that the BBC article link also includes a video of Ralph McTell singing the new verse and speaking briefly about his reasons for writing it.


Jay


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Subject: RE: Origins: Streets of London (Ralph McTell)^^^
From: Brian May
Date: 29 Mar 20 - 11:27 AM

Interesting he originally wrote it about Paris . . .


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Subject: RE: Origins: Streets of London (Ralph McTell)^^^
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Apr 20 - 09:48 AM

Was there ever a verse about a me s drinker or is that just my imagination? I murdered this in guitar club at middle school (in UK) and I swear I remember a line about a meths drinker


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Subject: RE: Origins: Streets of London (Ralph McTell)^^^
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Apr 20 - 10:59 AM

Interesting remark from Mary Hopkin during a concert at Royal Festival Hall in 1972, where she indicated that Ralph had given permission for her to sing "Streets of London", and if she did, then he would sing "Those Were the Days". Are there any recordings (or even recollections) of Ralph actually doing so? Can't imagine it to be honest, but then again. I hardly think that the song particularly suited Mary Hopkin either, but that's for another thread perhaps....


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