Album review: RALPH McTELL – Hill Of Beans

RALPH McTELL - Hill Of Beans

Leola Music [Release date 20.09.19]

‘Hill Of Beans’ is Ralph McTell’s first album of originals since 2010’s ‘Down The Road’. This album also sees McTell reunited with producer Tony Visconti, who worked on his earlier albums.

Another link to the past is the guest appearance on backing vocals by Mary Hopkin Jessica Lee Morgan, whose mother is Mary Hopkin, an artist McTell and Visconti (who was married to Hopkin at the time) have worked with in the past. Another notable guest is Danny Thomson on double bass.

It is an album that mixes personal tales from his family like ‘Brighton Belle’, a song about the wartime exploits of his grandfather and father. Then there are gently humorous songs, ‘Close Shave’ and ‘Oxbow Lake’ – where geography and love make for a novel lyrical combination – which features an instrument not overly used the recorder, played by Tony Visconti.

One of the unexpected treats is the gospel infused ‘Sometimes I Wish I Could Pray’, another example of how well McTell and Visconti work together. The choir, production and McTell’s vocals are all spot on. Not far behind is the album’s title track, just McTell’s singing and a piano, producing a stirring, memorable music and lyrics.

Ralph McTell still has wonderful tales to share with us in his songs and Tony Visconti’s production gives the music a warm and rich sound. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

September 26th 2019 Kendall Brewery Arts Centre
September 27th 2019 Newark Palace Theatre
September 28th 2019 Bromsgrove The Artrix
September 29th 2019 Tring Court Theatre
September 30th 2019 Runcorn The Brindley
October 4th 2019 Ennis The Glor
October 5th 2019 Dublin The Helix
October 6th 2019 Cork The Everyman
October 10th 2019 Berwick The Maltings
October 11th 2019 Musselburgh The Brunton Theatre
October 12th 2019 Stockton The Arc
October 13th 2019 Pocklington Pocklington Arts Centre
October 14th 2019 Leeds City of Varieties
October 17th 2019 Milton Keynes The Stables
October 18th 2019 Southwold Southwold Arts Centre
October 19th 2019 Holt Auden Theatre
October 20th 2019 Stamford Stamford Corn Exchange
December 13th 2019 London Royal Festival Hall (75th birthday concert)

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In this show, first broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 2 February 2020, David Randall plays a selection of tracks from some of the artists who impressed at this year’s Giants Of Rock event in Minehead (24-27 January).

Featured Albums w/c 3 February (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 ROBERT HART Pure (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DIRTY SHIRLEY (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 STEVE HARLEY Uncovered (indie)

Power Plays w/c 3 February (Mon-Fri)

CRIMSON STAR Living A Lie (indie)
FALSE HEARTS Remedy (indie)
AMONGST LIARS Over And Over (indie)
FLASHFIRES Circus Boy (indie)
MATT SPRINGFIELD Things I’ve Said (indie)

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