Just recently Ralph was invited to Roger McGough's reception for his new volume of poetry "Everyday Eclipses' and as Ralph is a huge admirer of Roger's work he was delighted to attend.
Nerys Hughes was there and they met up with another favourite poet, Brian Patten and ace muso Alan Price. Later the friends went out to dinner and reminisced about the Alphabet Zoo days and Nery's wonderful reading of Ralph's poem "No Grown Man's Land"
A few days later Ralph came across an old copy of some of Dylan Thomas's poetry and started to re read some of the work...... "I dipped in and out of the poems and got quite stuck on the 'Hunchback in the Park.'
The thing with Dylans work is that there are so many ways of enjoying it. Discovering his complex rhyme schemes, trying to work out what he was on about, and reading them aloud.
Dylan worked on most of his creations with the view that they should be heard as well as read."
The following day a request arrived from Rhodri Morgan (first minister of Wales) asking Ralph to attend a celebration of Dylan Thomas to be held at the infamous and groovy Chelsea hotel in new York on St Davids day. Ralph was especially touched by this recognition of his own work "The Boy With The Note" about the life of Dylan Thomas and said he would love to go and just to be part of it would cheerfully pay his own fare!
The organisers wanted to play his CD at the reception for the 'culture vultures' that had been invited to attend..... "I was knocked out when they then asked me if I would read a poem at the show afterward". The poem the organisers requested was 'The Hunchback In The park' Spooky or what?
Ralph and Nanna had a great time with new friends and met up with Bob Kingdom whose one man show Ralph rates as the best he's ever seen. Bob plays Dylan in costume and his performance as the poet is "absolutely thrilling" There was also an enactment of a scene from a new play where Dylan Thomas meets Bob Dylan and Rhodri Morgan read 'Fern Hill"
There was music and laughter drink and songs and Ralph hopes that it will all happen again next year when he hopes to perform some songs from "The Boy With The Note" ......."and perhaps next time they will pay my fare over!" he joked.
Hi everyone. There is a green mist in the trees ....... again.
Ralph is back out on the road this spring. We know he loves to tour at this time of year and we are going to be visiting another 30 or so dates around the country. We are calling this leg of the tour the National Treasure tour because as our Scottish fans point out we cannot call it a national tour if we do not include them! This will be definitely put right in the autumn.
In the mean time we hope you will be able to attend one of the shows listed below. The big news is that the CD "National Treasure " is at last ready and will be available at the concerts. The name of the record was suggested by Steve Brown. Billy Connolly once described Ralph as a "National Treasure" but also the "National" is one of the most famous of the resonator type guitars which Ralph has used on this recording.
We hope you agree that it is a treasure trove of songs from artists that have had a huge influence on Ralphs own guitar style. Except for two live tracks recorded on the autumn tour, all the songs on this album were made in the kitchen of Ralphs Cornish home. This gives new meaning to the rendition of Robert Johnson's fabulous "C'mon in my Kitchen" These tracks were engineered and co produced by Ralph's son Sam who also contributed some harmonium on one track. (The last time you heard this instrument was on "Lay Your Money Down" recorded in 1972/3}
Ralph had hoped to be able to operate the new digital recording machine by himself. This proved to be a vain hope from the man who cannot even set his video. As most of you will know Ralph contributed music for Billys world tour of Scotland and Australia and once again asked Ralph to bring music to his up coming series Billy Connolly's world Tour of England Ireland and Wales.
There are one or two new pieces specially composed by Ralph but mainly the music is comprised of Ralph guitar accompaniments to many of his best loved songs. As Roger brown points out "....... there are still people out there who do not realise what a great guitarist Ralph is" Roger adds "incidentally the song book is very nearly ready!!!!!.
Ralph and Billy met up in Oxfordshire and put down several pieces together and had a great time clanking away in the studio. They managed a curry together afterwards and a merry time was had by all. Ralph also used Chris Parkinson (Waterson-Carthy) and Chris Lesley (Fairport Convention) to add musical colour to the pared down accompaniments and their sensitive playing on violin mandolin and accordion, harmonica and melodeon has given a very English feel to the programmes.
The boys also enjoyed recording some lovely Welsh tunes together and the wonderful Mary Hopkin sang two songs especially for the Welsh show.
The Irish episodes feature some marvellous traditional music but because of Ralph's strong associations with that country you will also hear a contribution from Ralph and the boys on those shows too, Cara Dillon contributes some songs for these programs. All the shows will be aired during Ralph's touring period, so you may have to set the video if you are going to attend a concert on the night they go out. (Let's hope you are more adept at setting your machines than both Billy and Ralph.)
Harry Farmer is now booking Ralph's live dates so any inquiries about concerts to him at The Music Tree on email@example.com, all other questions to Tickety-Boo as usual. Hope to see you out there somewhere on the road.
Take care and keep in touch.
Tablature Book Update
Due to the immense amount of work required to obtain absolute accuracy in transcribing Ralph's guitar parts coupled with technological breakdowns and other unforeseen diversions etc. It will not now be possible to forecast with any degree of accuracy when the book will be finished.
I/we realise that many of you will be disappointed that the book will not be ready for the spring tour, and so rather than making vague promises we have decided to await its guaranteed availability and will e mail or write to all of you who have expressed an interest in the work, as soon as we have copies in the office that we can send out.
We will of course notify all Ralph's mailing list as to price and content in the next news letter. We do beg your forbearance as you must realise we are all sorry that this book which is being lovingly prepared by Roger Brown must be right. It will represent some of your favourite songs in a way never before available.
The tablature will exactly replicate Ralph's accompaniments and we are sure it will become a classic and indeed set the bench mark for other books of this type. In part to compensate for the delay but also to enhance the value of the manual. Ralph and Roger will sign the first five hundred numbered copies a soon as it becomes available. once again our apologies we are sure when it comes it will have been worth the wait.?
with best wishes Ralph, Roger and all at Tickety- boo.
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