The modern balladeers: Ralph McTell

Having spent the summer posting traditional folk songs, I think I’m going to post a few examples of singer-songwriters who write contemporary songs in a traditional vein – that is to say, storytelling songs, which is what the word ‘ballad’ originally meant.

Let’s start with this lovely song from Ralph McTell. He is best known for ‘Streets of London’, but in fact has written dozens of wonderful ballads. This is ‘The Girl from the Hiring Fair’. By the way, this song meets one of my criteria for being a true folk song, which is that it has been sung by someone other than the author; Fairport Convention have been playing this song for years.

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