The ‘Lost’ Album

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“It takes a glass of tequila to raise up my spirits when I get down.”

Shel Talmy

Chris Hockenhull calls it ‘The Hit Hangover’.

In ‘Streets of London: The Official Biography of Ralph McTell’ (Northdown, 1997), Chris recounts how Ralph McTell’s 1975 tour to promote his ‘Streets…‘ album had gone terribly wrong, and – to quote one of the songs from that LP – left him feeling “I want to get out now”.

So he did, to Los Angeles, to mull things over. He returned to the UK with new enthusiasm, and, early in 1976, Ralph recorded an album with legendary producer Shel Talmy, who had worked with The Who, The Kinks, Pentangle and Bert Jansch.

But Ralph was dissatisfied with the results: “Shel worked very, very hard and put together a very commercial, middle of the road album. That’s what it was, MOR, and when I heard it I was very upset.”

Shel had mixed some new McTell songs with country-flavoured covers, and Wizz Jones thought the results “…were good. I felt that it could have opened doors for Ralph in the country music scene and in America, but he wasn’t having any of that.” So the project was abandoned and the album left in the vault.

Six of the fourteen tracks have been released since, and Ralph has re-recorded another four. But the bulk of Shel Talmy’s McTell album remains lost.


Extract from an interview Shel Talmy gave in 2006:

[Interviewer] Can you name some records you did you thought should have been hits and never made it?

[Shel Talmy] …one I did with Ralph McTell called “Tequila Sunrise” I think would have been a hit, but it never came out.


Tracks from The ‘Lost’ Album

Title

Abiline

Another Star Ascending (The Boxer)

Big Tree

Country Boys

Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep

He’ll  Have to Go

I Fall to Pieces

I Recall a Gypsy Woman

Ladies Love Outlaws

Marie

Sweet Girl on My Mind

Tequila Sunset

Van Nuys (Cruise Night)

Winnie’s Rag

Release Status

Not yet released.

Released on ‘Streets…‘ CD, 1995.

Not yet released [Note 1].

Not yet released [Note 2].

Not yet released.

Not yet released.

Released as a single, 1982.

Not yet released.

Released on ‘The Journey‘, 2006.

Released on ‘The Journey‘, 2006.

Released on a single, 1978 [Note 3].

Released on ‘The Journey‘, 2006 [4].

Not yet released [Note 5].

Not yet released [Note 6].

Notes

1. Recorded live on ‘Ralph, Albert & Sydney’, 1977;
Re-recorded on ‘As Far As I Can Tell’, 2007.

2. A version previously recorded in 1974 was released on ‘Streets…‘ CD, 1995;
Re-recorded on ‘Right Side Up‘, 1976.

3. The B-side of ‘Heroes and Villains’ single, 1978.

4. Re-recorded on ‘Right Side Up‘, 1976.

5. Re-recorded on ‘Slide Away the Screen‘, 1979.

6. Recorded live on ‘Ralph, Albert & Sydney‘, 1977.