Yesterday, an artist entered my life (entered = heard on the radio). He writes love letters to England. He had me at “Let me take you by the hand/And lead you through the streets of London.’ I’m confident that he would show me its heart. The artist is called Ralph McTell and his music is tender, subtle and has gorgeous melodic simplicity. His lyrics are sincere and wistful. Pretty is an over-used word. Flippy skirts are pretty. Floral prints and lace are pretty. Baking should look pretty. Little girls who smile are pretty. It seems to be a catch-all word to describe the feminine, soft and pleasantly attractive in this world. However, McTell’s songs are pretty. They’re not feminine; but he does sound like a man anyone would like to be accompanied by. I imagine him weathered but with a warm sensibility and easy wit. And if I knew him he would write a poignant card. The words would be pithy. Maybe I’d hear a song with an oblique reference to an inside joke we shared.
London and England, the riots were sad. Listen to Ralph for some insight into your English soul. He understands.
And I know you've fought some failures,
And the troubles you've been through.
But it's more about what happens now,
And what we're coming to.
And the echo of the green hills
Runs through our city streets...
And a wind that blows through England
Breezes life through you and me.
I like that he looks like a cross between David Cassidy and Donovan. I also like how the Top of the Pops audience are still trying to awkwardly dance to a slow, dark song.