Engelbert Humperdink / Mary Hopkin Tour
A big hello from Northampton, the kick off town for a 5 week Englebert - Mary Hopkin tour that looks as if it will be the biggest money spinner since hot dogs! Mary is looking well, caring, learning, and out there in the gloom of the Local ABC the mums and dads, brothers and sisters, and all but the most obsessed Engel fans are liking her and loving her.
Mr Humperdink is as suave as ususal, polished, working brilliantly. The man is Mr Entertainment. The first house has its problems, though what first house didnt, and compere Jerry Stevens proffesionally keeps the gags going while they try and find Mary who has been spirited away by a hairdresser.
Impressario Colin Berlin thinks she has taken fright and gone away to hide. Understandable, but Mary is stronger than that. "the size of a crowd never bothers me" she says, "it can be three or three thousand, being a good singer is what I try for and the thing I worry about".
She goes on stage looking fragile and fair in a long red dress with a high button collar, obviously a little unsure of herself because apart from singing in a cathedtal (St. Pauls) this is her first big British public appearance she's made since 'Those were the days'.
Most of Mary's act is a pure and simple rendition of the songs you'll find on her first LP Postcard, except that on some she accompanies herself on guitar. When she comes off stage first house she is desperately upset because someone has touched her guitar before she went on and it has gone out of tune, and then the microphone stuck and she couldnt seem to get it together with the band. I tell her she is being over sensitive because they loved her and you could feel the warmth coming over, which was right, and didnt they all join in to sing 'Those were the days' "Yes" she says, "but that was only for the song. It was the song not me."
"I dont mind this being such a long tour", she tells me, "because I'll have a chance to get used to it and to be better. Moving around with a microphone, things like that. It's all new to me, its difficult to get used to at first. Engelbert is very nice, and I met him once before at a TV show, but I don't now him very well at the moment.
"I dont mind if you go back and write I was awful to-night, I will be better second house, I know I will".
Paul Smith, New Musical Express
Midem Song Festival
Mary Hopkin and Sergio Mendes: Toasts of Cannes
Sergio Mendez and Brasil 66, Gene Pitney, Fifth Dimension, Joe tex and his orchestra...these were the American Giants who conquered Cannes last week at the annual Midem pop Festival.
America proved during the Star Packed Gala concerts that it is still supreme. But Britain is still producing some fine stars, and the festival was a marvellous shop window for us. The Beatles didnt go the festival, they sent a cryptic message with a man from Apple Records, who handed out leaflets saying he was there, and adding "All is well from the Beatles". And their performing ambassadress was Mary Hopkin whose naivette triumphed over all cynicism.
On the final show last Friday Mary sang really well, and her appearance was captivating: long blue skirt, white blouse, black boots, right foot tapping nervously. She was irresistible on three strong songs, Harry Nilsson's super "Puppy Song" which is on her LP; Plaisir d'Amour, and Those were the days.
It was a tough ordeal too, facing a wary international audience with two TV camersa lurching towards her - but Mary came through it with charming success.
Ray Coleman, Disc and Music Echo
Mary Hopkin's simplicity originally made her a star. And that famous simplicity is ideally suited to the part of Cinderella in which Mary opened last Thursday for the Christmas season at the Opera House Manchester, the theatres first pantomime for 30 years.
She is not yet the complete actress, but she is learning fast. She was determined to play the part straight, singing only those of her recording hits which fitted (neatly) into the part. She looked radiant, and the kids loved her.
They also loved buttons, chants of "we want Lonnie" acknowledging the sympathy and humility which Lonnie Donegan brought to the part, while a cut version of his cabaret act was a riot.
Jerry Dawson. Melody Maker.
May 20th 1972
Ralph Mctell & Mary Hopkin at the Royal Festival Hall, London
It was a night of family pride at the Festival Hall on Saturday, firstly when Tony Visconti saw his Wife Mary Hopkin close her set to a tremendous ovation and later on when Ralph Mctell brought his young son sam up on stage to help him bring a memorable concert to its conclusion.
Miss Hopkin was backed by a string quartet conducted by Tony visconti and the set was kept nice and light with the inclusion of a few husband/wife onstage jokes. Mary's singing was almost frighteningly pure and the highlights of the set were "Ocean Song", "If I fell", on which she dueted with Tony, "Those were the days", a song which has matured considerably, and Ralph McTell's "Streets of London".
And so for probably the first time in his career, Ralph didn't have to fall back on this song himself
Jerry Gilbert, 'Sounds'
An almost full house on Saturday night was testimony to the drawing power of Ralph McTell. Despite the fact that he has yet to hit the big time as regards selling records he never has any problems attracting large audiences to his comparatively frequent London Concerts.
It may have seemed ironic for Mary Hopkin to be second on the bill. After all, she has had two well recieved albums and and several singles released and even topped the singles charts. But in the quieter world of contemorary folk music such considerations don't count for much and despite the fact that Miss Hopkin doubtless won many new fans at rhe Royal Festival Hall in the end McTell asserted his superiority in both terms of artistry and audience appreciation.
Mary Hopkin in her first major concert, was a little cold in terms of audience communication. But her purity of voice and delivery earned her forgivness for this fault. Husband Tony Visconti was on stage and together they sang Lennon and Mccartney's 'If I Fell'.
Then Visconti conducted the small backing ensemble which consisted of strings, upright bass and acoustic guitar. Those were the days, Sparrow, Earth Song and Silver Dagger were included in a safe programme which never the less demonstrated that in the interim period between the hits and now, Miss Hopkin has really learned how to use that beautiful voice which was originally employed as just another instrument in McCartneys overall production ambitions.
Paul Smith Record Mirror
Mary Hopkin gave one of her rare appearances, opening the concert, with husband Tony Visconti conducting the Pop Art String Quartet and playing guitar alternatively. She also had Pentangles Danny Thompson on Double Bass and Brian Willoughby on guitar. She is one of the few performers who can give a genuine and sincere show without any showbusiness trappings. She did a varied and beautiful set which included 'Ocean Song', Both Sides Now, Morning has broken, and Those were the days. Two of her more interesting selections were Gallagher and Lyles, Sparrow and International.
Rosalind Russell, Disc
Australia Tour with Tom Paxton
Chunks of Ice, cans, and beer bottles thrown at the Meadows pop fair stage in the hills South East of Adelaide last night caused Mary Hopkin to cut her performance in half.
She appeared on stage about 90 minutes late after problems with stage equipment. Several apparently drunken members of the 6,000 strong crowd on the moonlit slopes danced about and shouted out while she was singing. Several peices of ice landed on the stage, one hitting the lead guitarist seated next to Miss Hopkin. Cans and at least four beer bottles bounced off the front of the stage. Miss Hopkin and her small backing orchestra then left the stage.
The Adelaide Sun
The Sundance Tour
A new supergroup, Sundance, with the emphasis on polished harmonies and the appeal folksy and middle of the road has emerged. Battling it out for domination in the new line up is "Opportunity Knocks" find Mary Hopkin; hit producer Mike Hurst, a former member of the 60's group The Springfields, and ex ELO and Violinski member Mike de Albuquerque.
With such a pedigree it seemed absurd that they should attempt to ram home the point with renditions of Hopkin's "Those were the days" and Springfields hit "Island of dreams".
The trio was at it's best with laid back southern-flavoured arrangments of songs like "So Sad" and "Dream Lover". But there seemed to be an inherent contradiction between their slick, professional harmonies and beefed up rock orchestrations of a three piece backing band.
Songwriter Richard Myhill is responsible for their debut single "Whats Love" a svelte and catchy showcase for their vocal talents, if a rather unadventurous one.
Moira Petty, Stage and Television Today
"A remarkable happening" - to quote David Wood's programme preface to his "Rock Nativity" - at Readings often maligned Hexagon Theatre whose vast stage is just right to allow full scope to Tim Goodchilds remarkable yet simple, yet majestically apposite set. A moving production of the Virgin Birth taken from the Angel Gabriels annunciation, to Mary and Josephs escape from the clutches of Herod.
Mary Hopkin might have been born to play Mary; one can think of no one else in her field - after all, it has to be a star associated with popular music and with the right requisite vocal range - with the same blend of innocence, purity, strength and youthfulness. With no effort at all she suggests the statutory mid-teenager, and her songs from the "Magnificat" to "I will watch Him grow" are beautifully interpreted. Joseph could easily be a lay figure, but Allan Love has the right kind of rugged acceptance and is deeply touching in his "What game are you playing Lord" recitative. Michael Cashman's humerous purity contrasts magnificently with the barnstorming yet always human Herod of Colm C.T Wilkinson, whose highspot is "To be A King"
Eric Braun, Stage and television Today
More to follow, watch this space!