Between the appropriate opening and closing tracks –First Song and Terminus – is a whole treasure trove of heartfelt songs, from the poignant to the upbeat, the tender to the tear jerkers, from the sweeping Grande Affair to the beguiling Tequila Sunrise, the infectious Love Grows, swirling White Dress and sad Slow Burning Companion – and not forgetting the French songs!
Encapsulating folk and blues and demonstrating Ralph’s dazzling guitar work, the tracks have been digitally remixed from the original recordings while there are brand new recordings of Terminus and In Some Way I Loved You.
Designed to resemble a cigar box filled with love letters, the four CD cases each have a “stamp” depicting Ralph at different stages of his career and the colour booklet contains a dedication page where personal messages can be written.
Says Ralph: “As part of the CD launch I am writing dedications inside the box from couples who have purchased it for each other for St Valentine's Day. I must say it is reassuring to discover that romance is not yet dead!
Comedian and McTell afficianado Rory McGrath has put his pen to the extensive sleeve notes and says: “Affairs of the Heart is a stunning piece of work. Ralph is most widely known for the classic folk song Streets of London which epitomises all that is great about his work; a beautiful tune, touching lyrics, a universal theme in a quintessentially English and mundane setting, not at all judgemental but observant and sympathetic.
“But to those who only know Ralph through this small masterpiece, Affairs of the Heart will be an exhilarating eye-opener in which they will discover the true range and depth of Ralph’s talent. Songs of love from every angle; the highs and lows, the expectations, the memories, the physical, the emotional, the enthusiasm of youth, the serenity of age, the ecstasy and the misery.”
At the end of February Ralph , who is celebrating 30 years on the road, will be performing at the 6th Guinness Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival , with a line up that also includes Nanci Griffith and Midge Ure.
He is currently working on material for a new album which will hopefully be released this autumn.