Spiral Staircase

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“Ralph… enables us to feel what he has felt.”


Ralph McTell returned to the studio with Gus Dudgeon in August 1968 to produce his second album, ‘Spiral Staircase’. It opens with a song that Ralph had thought too weak to put on his first LP, and which Gus had to persuade him to record for this one. ‘Streets of London’ was covered within days of the album’s release, and quickly became a singers’ favourite in the folk clubs and among the capital’s buskers. The song became so popular that it won the 1974 Ivor Novello Award for songwriting.

Steady sales of the album eventually led to Ralph being presented with a Gold Disc of ‘Spiral Staircase’.

In the sleeve notes Ben Klein says that Ralph “…seeks and values an emotional response (to his songs), and through his combination of words and guitar, enables us to feel what he has felt…”

LP and CD Issues
LP – Released 1969 in UK – Transatlantic TRA177.
LP – Released c. 1977 in Israel – Logo/Transatlantic TRA177.
LP in Double LP set – Released 1978 in France – Transatlantic TRA89554/5 [Note 1].
LP – Released c. 1980 in Australia – Transatlantic / 7 Records MLF227.
LP – Released 1980 in Japan – Transatlantic YS-7057-LA.
LP & CD – Released 1988 in Germany – Titan 577/3001-1 & 577/3001-2.
CD – Retitled ‘The Streets of London’ – Released 1990 in Germany and UK – Ariola Express 295945 [Note 2].
CD – Released 1996 in UK – Wooden Hill HILLCD5.
CD – Released 2007 in UK – Transatlantic TRRCD401 [Note 3]
On CD1 of ‘All Things Change’ Double CD – Released 2017 in UK – Cherry Tree CRTREE019D [Note 4].
1. Record 2 of 2LP set. See also Eight Frames a Second.
2. Issued with two different CD inserts, one labelled ‘The Streets of London’, the other ‘Streets of London’. In both cases the CDs are labelled ‘The Streets of London’. See also Streets of London – The Albums.
3. ‘Expanded Edition’ with four bonus tracks taken from ‘Revisited‘.
4. CD1 has ‘Eight Frames a Second‘ and ‘Spiral Staircase’; CD2 has ‘My Side of Your Window‘ and ‘Revisited‘.

See also Ralph’s own website article on ‘Spiral Staircase‘.