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Ralph McTell is celebrating 50 years on the road in 2016 and playing 10 dates out of his 30 Autumn Tour dates in Ireland.
This significant milestone year has already seen the great songwriter and storyteller’s sell-out ‘Loyal Command Performance’ at London’s Royal Albert Hall, his debut at Glastonbury and the release of a new album ‘About Time’ with legendary guitarist Wizz Jones.
Most recently Ralph has collaborated with John Sheahan on a new song ‘The GPO and PS’….. (see background below)

Ralph McTell’s illustrious career has seen him become an iconic figure and key influencer on the acoustic folk scene. A prolific and gifted songwriter, known for his virtuoso guitar style and songs that invite you into a unique world, where he weaves a narrative that is both significant and poignant, Ralph McTell made his debut in 1968 with the album ‘Eight Frames a Second’ and in 1974 the release of ‘Streets of London’ earned him an Ivor Novello Award.
In 1993 Nanci Griffith recorded Ralph’s composition ‘From Clare to Here’ on her Grammy Award winning album ‘Other Voices, Other Rooms’, and in 2002 he was presented with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.
On sale at tour venues will be a special DVD of Ralph McTell’s 70th Birthday Concert at London’s Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, featuring over 2 hours of footage with Ralph joined by special guests John Williams, Tony Visconti, Graham Preskett, Danny Thompson and more.


KILKENNY - Wednesday 12th October
Venue: The Set, Langton House Hotel, John Street, Kilkenny, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
Time: 19:30
Box Office:    T + 353 56 776 5133.
SLIGO - Thursday 13th October
Venue: The Hawk’s Well Theatre, Temple Street, Sligo, Ireland.
Time: 19:30
Box Office:                 T + 353 71 9161518.
DERRY - Friday 14th October
Venue: Waterside Theatre, Glendermott Road. Londonderry. BT47 6BG
Time: 8.00pm
Box Office:       T 028 7131 4000.
BELFAST – Saturday 15th October, 2016
Venue: Ulster Hall, 34 Bedford Street, Belfast. BT2 7FF
Time: 19:30
Box Office:        T 028 9033 4455.
RATOATH - Sunday 16th October
Venue: The Venue Theatre, Ratoath Community Centre, Main Street, Ratoath, Co.Meath.
Time: 19:30
Box Office:        T 01 6895600
CORK – Tuesday 25th October, 2016
Venue: Ballymalloe Grainstore, Shanagarry. Co. Cork
Time: 8.00pm
Box Office:         T +353 21 465 2531
GALWAY - Wednesday 26th October
Venue: Town Hall Theatre, Courthouse Square, Galway. Ireland
Time: 8.00pm
Box Office:    T +353 91 569777
ENNIS - Thursday 27th October
Venue: glór, Causeway Link, Ennis, Co. Clare, V95 VHP0, Ireland
Time: 19:30
Box Office:  T +353 65 684 3103
DUBLIN - Friday 28th October
Venue: The Pavillion Theatre, Marine Road, Dun Laoghaire. Dublin
Time: 19:30
Box Office:    T +353 1 231 2929
WEXFORD - Saturday 29th October
Venue: The Spiegeltent, 1 North Main Street, Wexford. Ireland.
Time: 19:30
Box Office:    T + 353 53 919 9199.
The GPO and PS background in Ralph McTell’s own words
“I was on the plane going home from Dublin last easter and Dublin had been full of the commemoration of the Easter Rising ’s 100th anniversary.
I turned to my son Tom and said I have just had a line come to me which I think could become a song.
“I’m just nipping down to the Post Office Ma”
I had been fortunate enough to stumble upon an exhibition of WB Yeats’s work whilst away and spent an hour or so reading about him and listening to his own reading of his poem which ends with the words “a terrible beauty is born” which is about the rising.
My idea was a song in the form of a note to a volunteer’s mother as he prepared to leave to take part in the operation.
I rang my dear friend John Sheahan to confirm that in Ireland as in England they “nip” to the post office. He confirmed that they use that term as we do and also that we are “rushed” to hospital etc.
I have been deeply moved all my life by the high idealism or in some cases the bravado of the young men who are prepared to offer themselves for their country.
As Dominic Behan says in “The Patriot Game” Love of one’s country is a terrible thing”
Our British and Irish WW1 poets have written some of the most poignant and beautiful poems about love of home and patriotism and the betrayal of the nobility of what were once perceived as righteous causes.
Their poems mostly written from the front line or on reflection show the awareness that original motivations and justification matures into pathos and near despair at times when the cruel reality and horror of the conflict bites. Not just because of injury and death but the lies and terrible waste
My boy is writing a note to his mother. He is a virgin soldier with no girl to write to. He lives at home and as he writes the enormity of what he is about to undertake emerges.
In verse 1
He tries to make light of the forth coming meeting as he prepares his Ma for his late return home. I consulted with John as to whether I should give O’Connell Street its correct title of Sackville Street at that time , but we both decided to call it by the name the world knows it by now.
In verse 2
“I can’t be late for the post” refers to the Post office theme that runs through the song, I include letter boxes, delivery etc to help develop the connection.
In writing these thoughts down he becomes aware of the promise he has made and the light touch in verse 1 takes on a more sombre note as he acknowledges that he may die in the process.
In verse 3
He seeks to justify why the rattle of gunfire is necessary in order to draw attention to the delivery of the message as he points out that the mundane clatter of the letter box may go unnoticed
In verse 4
He no longer is nipping to the post Office but “Heading off.” There is no turning back Finally the elements are brought together in the P.S. In which a cross (X) (the most potent symbol of sacrifice) is used to represent a good bye kiss, and the kiss itself a symbol of betrayal as in when Judas kisses Christ at the last supper which in itself is a goodbye.
The symbolism of Easter is thus confirmed and the choice of this time for the “rising of the nation” by the leaders is poetically signed off. The song finishes with the Yeats quote. “A terrible beauty is born”
Yeats had time in reflection to come up with this powerful line but why wouldn’t my conflicted lad come up with the same one as he pre announces the rhyme with
“Between love and duty I’m torn.
John Sheahan (of The Dubliner’s fame) and I first met in about 1976 on tour in Australia. We immediately hit it off and our mutual love of penetrable poetry that rhymes and scans has brought us even closer together in recent years!
John helped me celebrate my 70th birthday at London’s Drury Lane Theatre in 2014 and was my natural choice to play fiddle and whistle on this song.
We are both musical old road soldiers and it even seemed to have a poetic resonance he from Ireland and me from England to come together on this song.”

Permalink - Posted: September 14, 2016 at 10:33 am