The Godfather of British Folk began this show in 1962 … and ended it in 1963.

Now 76, he ambled on stage reminding the audience about how had lived in Poole, in a squat above a betting shop in the High Street, back in 1962.

He was employed at Metal Box factory in Lake Road, Hamworthy, earning £6 as a machine minder and often falling asleep at work due to late nights at the Angel pub.

But enough reminiscing. He started trepidatiously with First Song, his voice breaking up a bit, but he soon warmed up (later admitting his heart was pounding after a relative lack of live work).

The rich and earthy, yet smooth, trademark voice was soon back with McTell on fine form both musically and anecdotally; in true folk tradition telling the stories, often highly personal, poignant and witty, behind the songs.

Switching between guitar, 12-string and baby grand piano he held the respectful audience spellbound with two varied sets of material old and new in a show that felt particularly intimate in a theatre setting.

There was a significant selection from the excellent newish album Hill Of Beans, as produced by Tony Visconti, including the title track, plus Gammel Dansk, one of his few minor key tracks and a tale about drinking the aforementioned bitters liquor nears the docks in Denmark.

Also from 2019’s Hill was the sublime Clear Water, somehow inspired by his old pal, Fairport Convention bass player Dave Pegg’s, somewhat idiosyncratic yachting style.

McTell’s songs are stories, conversations, small insights into his mind – such as Naomi, about an elderly aunt, or Brighton Belle, the tale of his steam train driver grandad’s days on the iconic electric pullman train between Victoria and Brighton.

It must be said that McTell’s stature in the industry is so great that no folkie worth his or her salt doesn’t have some connection with him.

But tonight he was talking about his own heroes – Blind Arthur Blake, Robert Johnson, Bert Jansch – and singing homages to them, the very bluesy Ghost of Robert Johnson.

He also dedicated From Clare To Here to the recently departed country star Nanci Griffith - she covered this 2001 track and the pair performed it together at the Royal Albert Hall.

Otherwise, in a set with no filler, we had The Girl On The Jersey Ferry, Around The Wild Cape Horn, Gertrude & Alice and Somewhere Down The Road, before, of course, McTell ended with his one big hit, from 1974, an unadulterated version of Streets Of London.

He encored, without leaving the stage, a year after he started, in 1963 with West 4th Street and Jones, a harmonica-driven song inspired by the snowy cover photograph on another hero’s second album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.

It was just great!