Henry's Songbook

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Streets Of London

  • (Ralph McTell)

    So how can you tell me you're lonely
    Or say for you the sun don't shine
    Let me take you by the hand
    And lead you through the streets of London
    I'll show you something to make you change your mind

    Have you seen the old man in the closed-down market
    Kicking at the papers with his worn-out shoes
    In his eyes you'll see no pride, and held loosely at his side
    Yesterday's paper telling yesterday's news

    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

    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
    And each tea lasts an hour then he wanders home alone

    Have you seen the old man outside the seamen's mission
    Memory fading with the medal ribbons that he wears
    And in our winter city the rain cries a little pity
    For one more forgotten hero and a world that doesn't care

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1975:] [Mit dem Erfolg] verlor [McTell] zeitweise [...] den Kontakt zu den Clubs, zu der Szene und dem Publikum, die ihn gemacht haben. Und gleichzeitig verloren seine Lieder das, von dem Streets of London geradezu strotzt: soziales Bewußtsein. (Andreas Roßmann, sounds 5/75)

  • [1975:] Wenn es heutzutage noch so etwas wie ein Volkslied gibt, McTells Streets [of London] gehört mit Sicherheit in diese Sparte. McTells folgende Lieder erreichten nie mehr die atmosphärische Dichte dieses Songs [...]. Ein solches Lied wird nicht jede Woche geschrieben, vielleicht nicht einmal jede Dekade. (Folk Magazin 6, 21)

  • [1979:] Although he now has a wider success, [Ralph McTell's] songs have been a minor cult for some years among the cognoscenti, and especially in the folk clubs. His justly famous 'Streets of London' is one such; unfortunately, perhaps, he wrote it early in his career and now views it much as the older Yeats viewed 'The Lake Isle of Innisfree'. (Woods, Revival 111)

  • [1992:] The third song Ralph wrote, sadly as relevant today as it was when he wrote it in 1967/8 only just making Ralph's second album ['Spiral Staircase'] after producer Gus Dudgeon persuaded Ralph to include it. Above all others it has introduced thousands to the main body of McTell's work and given him international recognition by achieving over 170 cover versions and selling more in sheet music than any other song since 1945. (Notes Ralph McTell, 'Silver Celebration')

  • [1995:] [The] streets of London have come on a bit since the '60s; McTell's assorted old geezers outside Seamen's Missions and market cafes have been replaced and overwhelmed by an army of young people, conscripted as cannon fodder in the Tories' battle for Britland, hunkered down in doorways, and subways. (Robb Johnson, Rock 'n' Reel 23, p 35)

  • [2000:] [In 'Day Trip to Bangor'] it was Rhyl which does not fit the tune so it got moved along the coast a bit. (Similar to "Streets of London" about Paris) How do I know this? Folk knowledge: "everybody" knew this at one time but most of us forgot! (Roger Gawley,, 10 Jan)


Quelle: England

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aktualisiert am 29.08.2002