THEIRS is a musical friendship which has lasted for over 50 years and now Raph McTell and Wizz Jones are celebrating that fact with a series of shows around the UK.

The pair will be at Bury Met on Saturday performing songs from their appropriately named album About Time Too.

Ralph McTell is one of the most respected singer songwriters on the British folk scene, responsible for the timeless classic Streets of London. Wizz is a renowned guitarist cited as an influence by the likes of Rod Stewart and Keith Richard.

“We’re such old friend from way back,” said Wizz of his relationship with Ralph. “There’s a lot of history there. With the shows we do it’s nice to relax a bit and play some of the old songs we used to play when we were busking and be spontaneous.”

The pair’s collaboration began in Cornwall in 1966.

“I knew Ralph vaguely from the South London folk scene,” said Wizz. “I’d seen him around and I think he knew about me as I was five or six years older.”

In the early Sixties, Wizz first busked in France and then toured both America and Europe before returning to the UK to start a family.

“In those days busking was a way of getting away from your boring roots,” he said. “There was no such thing as package holidays so the only way to travel around was to hitch hike. To fund that you would play on the streets.”

“It started out as a bit of fun and a way to travel and after about 10 or 15 years you turn around and find that you are doing it professionally.”

Wizz was back in the UK when Ralph called round to see him at home in London.

“I was going to Cornwall to do my annual gig in a pub down there and my normal banjo player Pete Stanley couldn’t go so I just suggested that Ralph join us in the van.

“We started playing together a lot and got involved in the local folk clubs. Then our paths diverged after that. After Streets of London Ralph went off on a different trajectory and I carried on in my own busking way and doing little club gigs for the next 50 years really.”

The pair got back together again to record About Time and subsequently About Time Too, featuring songs they used to play as buskers.

“Ralph got in touch and said that time is getting on and we should do something together,” said Wizz, who is now 79.

“That first rehearsal was a doddle. We both remembered the songs and started making a list of those we used to do and ones we’ve never done but would like to. We just strummed along and it was all very spontaneous.”

These songs form the basis for the pair’s live show but one song will be noticeable by its absence.

“Some people come to the gig expecting Streets of London and that’s a drag,” said Wizz. “They can get that any time, this is a different ball game. This is a spin off from the main stream as it were.”

Ralph McTell and Wizz Jones, Bury Met, Saturday, June 23. Details from 0161 761 2216 or