Ralph McTell is a great songwriter and performer, who has just released a very fine new album Somewhere Down The Road on his own Leola label. Cold On The Stones, however comes form 82 and the album Water Of Dreams, the first released under his own steam as his contract with Warner Brothers came to its end. It was a bold move back then, despite the growing trend and the rise of the independent label, as his music was perhaps a bit of a square peg in post-punk Britain. Ironically his profile was high at the time, albeit through the medium of children’s TV and perhaps it’s that that led me, wrongly, to ignore him for many years. The album is actually a bit of a gem, as this track demonstrates, featuring a surprising line up. Phil Collins plays the drums on this track, while elsewhere Dave Pegg, Gerry Conway, Albert Lee, Richard Thompson (of whom this song is highly redolent), Dave Swarbrick, Simon Nicol, Neil Ardly and Prelude are on hand as testament to Ralph’s status amongst his peers. He has always been engaged politically and social commentary runs the spine of his work, reaching far beyond his most famous song. With the bitter chill of subzero central London last night, this is a timely reminder that for one reason or another not everyone has the luxury of a bed for the night. Non-judgemental, the ‘you’ve had the last of my money don’t turn me out into the cold’ message is probably based own Ralph’s own, youthful, travelling/ busking experience, but could equally apply to the more permanently displaced.