Ralph McTell
City Varieties Theatre, Leeds,UK
18th October 2011

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The last couple of times I've seen Martin Simpson perform he has talked about a recent tribute concert to Bert Jansch which he was asked to MC. I understand the concert was recorded for BBC and and will be broadcast early in 2014. Ralph McTell was one of the many singer/guitarists asked to perform a Bert Jansch song at the show which is what made me remember this show as Ralph performs A Kiss In The Rain after talking about Bert. Ralph along with Martin Carthy is one of those singers that we should regard as National Treasures. As a performer he has aged like a fine wine. Probably at least a third of the show is chat but when you have a history and story telling ability like Ralph you have many tales to tell and that is what makes his live shows great.For ease of playing I have separated chat and songs. Like most people who play at The City Varieties he mentions Stan and Olly who also appeared there many years ago. The City varieties had been closed for refurbishment for a couple of years and had only re-opened the month before this show. Mrs kayjaybee and friend can also be heard singing along especially on the "hit".

From Wikipedia: The Leeds City Varieties is a Grade II listed music hall in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England.

It was built in 1865 as an adjunct to the White Swan Inn (dating from 1748) in Swan Street and the original interior is largely unaltered. Along with Hoxton Hall and Wilton's Music Hall (both in London), it is a rare surviving example of the Victorian era music halls of the 1850s/1860s. The interior is a long rectangle, with boxes separated by cast-iron columns along the sides at circle level.

The theatre was founded by local pub landlord and benefactor Charles Thornton and was originally called 'Thornton's New Music Hall and Fashionable Lounge'. This followed from a 'Singing Room' above the inn. The name subsequently changed to the White Swan Varieties and then Stansfield's Varieties before becoming the City Palace of Varieties. Charlie Chaplin, Marie Lloyd and Houdini are among the artists who performed there.

Between 1953 and 1983, the theatre achieved national fame as the venue for the BBC television programme The Good Old Days, a recreation of old-time music hall featuring Leonard Sachs as the alliterative Chairman and many well-known and less-well-known performers. The venue still presents live "Good Old Days" music hall events over runs of 3 weekends in the spring and 4 in the autumn, as well as pantomime and a regular programme of stand-up comedy and music concerts.

The City Varieties was granted Heritage Lottery funds to help with major refurbishment and restoration. The theatre closed for refurbishment in January 2009, and re-opened in September 2011. At this re-opening the physical link between the Swan Inn and the theatre was re-established. The theatre now seats 467, and the sides of the balcony are closed to the public, now giving space to additional lighting.

Total Play Time 1.33.30
1. Intro 0.42
2. Hard Travelin' (W.Guthrie) 3.36
3. Chat about manicures and song intro 2.17
4. Arthur Blake 4.05
5. Chat 2.36
6. Girl From The North Country (B.Dylan) 4.02
7. Chat 2.23
8. Mr. Connaughton 4.01
9. Chat 1.54
10. Barges 4.27
11. Chat 2.07
12. First and Last Man 4.27
13. Chat 1.34
14. The Girl On The Jersey Ferry 4.28
15. Chat 2.19
16. Streets of London 4.54
17. Chat 2.04
18. The London Apprentice 3.40
19. Chat about Rev. Gary Davis 3.28
20. Reverend Thunder (Blind Faith) 4.30
21. Tequila Sunset 4.01
22. Chat 1.46
23. Easter Lilies 4.23
24. Chat 0.39
25. The Ghost of Robert Johnson 4.22
26. Chat about Bert Jansch 2.59
27. A Kiss In The Rain & Applause 5.58
28. Somewhere Down The Road 5.45

Thanks to BigDee for mastering this recording
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