The best thing one can say about this uncharacteristically weak Ralph McTell composition is nice music, shame about the lyrics. This is not a reworking of the earlier "Ballad Of Derek Bentley
", although it expresses the same sentiments with the added disadvantage of being a narrative of the tragic events set to music.
Unlike the Karl Dallas song though, this is not a purely misplaced humanitarian rant against capital punishment. Ralph McTell was born in 1944, and grew up in Croydon where PC Sidney Miles was murdered by the sixteen year old Christopher Craig on November 2, 1952. McTell's mother knew the Bentley family, and the execution of the supposedly dimwitted teenager for a murder "he didn't commit" horrified the 9-year-old Ralph.
Alexander Baron - London, England