Album Reviews


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If you mention her name most people automatically think of ‘Those were the days’
her massive hit from 1968 produced by Paul McCartney. If that is all she is known
for it would be a shame because she was, and thankfully still is, a fine folk singer with
a voice of purity and beauty. Had she not had such commercial success she would
probably be ranked alongside the likes of Anne Briggs and Vashti Bunyan

In recent years Mary has been working on releasing archive material from her vaults
(actually her attic!) with Jess & Chris at Cardiff’s Space Studios. This is the follow
up to ‘Valentine’ and contains a further 11 tracks recorded between 1970 and 1986.

The opening track ‘Long time ago’ sounds as though it could have been a hit single
back in the late 1960s and it makes you wonder why it has taken nearly 40 years to
be released. ‘Lion tamer’ the Stephen Schwartz show tune from ‘The Magic Show’
sounds a little whimsical in the cold light of 2009, but it has a period charm about it.
There are 2 stand out songs on this collection. The first is ‘Quiet moments’ written
by Dominic King & Frank Musker. This sounds like it should be a standard by now,
but I can’t locate or recall any other versions.  The other is Mary’s own composition
‘Another day’ which has a haunting refrain. It does suffer a little from a slightly dated
production and being such a fine song it would be worth while remixing or possibly
re-recording the backing track.

Overall this will be a welcome addition to the Mary Hopkin archive and will be much
appreciated by Mary's devoted followers.

Reports suggest that Mary Hopkin will be recording new material again this year and it
would be interesting to hear her covering contemporary songs from the likes of Alela Diane,
Vetiver, The Gentle Good, Fleet Foxes or Laura Marling. This would not only be a fascinating
project, but it would also help bring her to the notice of a whole new generation.

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A few very precious moments with Mary Hopkin
February 3, by Steve Marinucci,
Beatles Examiner

Mary Hopkin hasn't been in the headlines much lately, but that doesn't mean she hasn't been busy. In the last year or so, she has released a group of albums taken from her archives that are available through her website. Her voice is still the treasure you remember.

We are very pleased to have the opportunity to ask Mary a few questions in this email interview. Thanks to Mary for taking the time to answer them. And additional thanks to Judy Totton for her assistance.

Q: You've released three archival albums, including "Recollections." Do you have more tapes that could be released?

Mary Hopkin: Yes, we are working on a final album of previously unreleased recordings from that period, which is due out in May. There will also be a boxed set of these albums available.

Q: What are you doing these days? Have you considered any new recordings?

Mary Hopkin: Absolutely. I have never stopped writing and recording and I’m totally in my element when I’m in the studio. We just wanted to let these vintage recordings see the light of day first, but then we’ll be releasing new material.

Q: How do you feel about your Apple recordings when you hear them now, especially "Those Were the Days"?

Mary Hopkin: “Those Were the Days” is a wonderful song and I'll always be grateful to Paul for giving me the chance to sing it. I also recorded some songs which didn’t reflect my personal taste, but the ones written especially for me by Gallagher and Lyle, such as 'Sparrow' and 'Fields of St Etienne' are still my favourites.  

Q: What is your favorite song among your Apple recordings? Among all your recordings?

Mary Hopkin: I’m particularly proud of the entire “Earth Song/Ocean Song” album – the songs, production and line up suited me perfectly. I still regret not being able to promote it at the time. I love all the songs on this album. My absolute favourites would be the two title songs by Liz Thorsen and "How Come the Sun" by Tom Paxton.  On these newly released archive albums, recorded some years after I left Apple, there are some gems which I had forgotten about, such as “A Leaf Must Fall” (Clive Palmer) on “Recollections” which is an exquisite song.