In 1982, Ralph McTell’s career took an unexpected change of direction. Granada Television commissioned Alphabet Zoo, a series of children’s programmes built around songs written and performed by McTell. Although initially reluctant to accept the offer, the fact that one of his heroes, Woody Guthrie, had composed dozens of songs for children, convinced him it was worthwhile. The first series, broadcast in 1983, was a big success. A second series followed and Mays Records released two albums of the material – Songs From Alphabet Zoo and Best of Alphabet Zoo.
During 1983, McTell presented his own music series on BBC Radio 2. His guests included Billy Connolly, Georgie Fame, Simon Nicol with Dave Swarbrick, and Mike Harding.
McTell was still playing concerts between his television commitments and he toured during 1984 at home and in Canada and the United States. After composing the music for a Skol lager advertising campaign, he decided to concentrate on his musical career and turned down further television work.
Bruce May negotiated a deal with Telstar Records, a company that pushed its products heavily with major advertising and hyping campaigns. McTell was persuaded to record an album which mixed his own material and ‘classic songs’ such as “Penny Lane”, “Morning Has Broken” and “Scarborough Fair”. The result, At the End of a Perfect Day, released late in 1985, was one of McTell’s least satisfactory recordings. It was “a totally commercial venture and a miserable failure,” he said later; “…while I was reluctant to do it, the possibility of getting the kind of back-up that Telstar were offering was too good to miss.” (by wikipedia)
And we can hear again a lot of Ralph McTell compositions and hits by Rod Stewart, Mary Hopkins, The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel and Cat Stevens … this is more or less a nice album …
Ralph McTell (vocals, guitar)
a bunch of unknown studio musicians
Musical director: Graham Preskett;
01. Streets Of London (McTell) 4.24
02. Scarborough Fair (Traditional)
03. You’ve Got A Friend (King)
04. Penny Lane (Lennon/McCartney)
05. The Lamplighter (England 1914) (McTell)
06. The Last Farewell (Whittaker/Webster)
07. Sailing (Sutherland)
08. Beautiful Dreamer (Traditional)
09. Homeward Bound (Simon)
10. Scarlet Ribbons (Danzig/Segal)
11. I’ll Have To Say I Love You In A Song (Croce)
12. Morning Has Broken (Traditional)
13. Weather The Storm (McTell) 3.20
14. Those Were The Days (Raskin) 3.40
15. Barges (McTell) 3.58
16. England (McTell) 4.11