From the Vault...


Mary Hopkin
"Post Card"

© Apple Records

Year of Release: 1969

track listing
  • Those Were The Days
  • Lord Of The Reedy River
  • Happiness Runs
    (Pebble And The Man)
  • Love Is
    The Sweetest Thing
  • Y Blodyn Gwyn
  • The Honeymoon Song
  • The Puppy Song
  • Inch Worm
  • Voyage Of The Moon
  • Lullaby Of The Leaves
  • Young Love
  • Someone To Watch
    Over Me
  • Prince En Avignon
  • The Game
  • There's No Business
    Like Show Business
  • Turn Turn Turn
  • Those Were The Days
    (Quelli Erano Giorni)
  • Those Were The Days
    (En Aquellos Dias)

  • WSVNRadio Archives
    A B C D E F G H I J K L M
    N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

    Mary Hopkin related sites:
    Mary Hopkin Website
    Previous Review: #1349
    WWF--The Music Volume 3
    Next Review: #1351
    Mary Hopkin
    "Post Card"

    One of the many tunes I learned when I was playing keyboards as a child, was "Those Were The Days." I often thought it was the theme to the TV show All In The Family of the same name, which it wasn't. Mary Hopkin was the singer of this particular tune, a female singer who was with The Beatles' label, Apple. "Those Were The Days" would be her signature tune, and basically the only song well-remembered by her. Some may have thought another 1960s singer, Melanie, had sung this tune, as both their voices were slightly resembled, as well as their musical style. (And they were both blondes.) She had just won a British ITV television talent show, called Opportunity Knocks, where model Twiggy saw her, and recommended her to Paul McCartney. Hopkin became one of the first artists to record on the Apple label. "Those Were The Days" was produced by McCartney, likewise the entire album. Her song hit #1 in the UK, and #2 in the US, despite another female artist had recorded the same song, by Sandie Shaw.

    There are two songs written by Donovan, "Lord of the Reedy River" and "Voyages Of The Moon" The first song by Donovan sounds obvious by him, and the second song is a beautiful folk sounding track. Donovan himself played guitar on this album. As I explore listening to Mary Hopkin's voice, one singer comes to mind, The Singing Nun (her popular song, "Dominique" was #1 in late 1963 for four weeks, and her self-titled album was #1 for 10 weeks in late 1963 on the Albums chart. "Happiness Runs (Pebble And The Man)" has this resemblance. (Yet most felt that the Singing Nun was lame at the time, but this is not the case for Mary Hopkin. The Post Card album gets better.)

    Take the case of the big band track by Ray Noble, "Love Is The Sweetest Thing." Not only is Hopkin's voice very noticable (and in a very good way), and the big band sound towards the end of the song is also quite impressive. Mentioning of Big Band, it would be ironic decades later, Paul McCartney would record a jazz album in 2012, with outstanding results. Another classic tune from this era is another impressive track by Hopkin, "Someone To Watch Over Me," and also, "Inch Worm", (Danny Kaye recorded this song for the movie Hans Christian Andersen); this version has a classical and yet operatic atmosphere for Hopkin's voice. Again, another impressive track. Ethel Mermann maybe the most famous for the hit, "There's No Business Like Show Business," but give Mary Hopkin's very different version of this song, and again, you'll be amazed how this song is turned into a traditional folk sounding track.

    By the late 1960s, Folk music was popular, thanks to such artists as Bob Dylan, The Byrds, Donovan, Joan Baez, the list goes on and on... There are some very beautiful folk tracks here by Hopkin -- "Y Blodyn Gwyn (The White Flower)" where Hopkin sings in her native Welsh style. "Lullaby Of The Leaves" is another beautiful, enchanting folk tune, which was recorded in the early 1930s by George Olsen. "Prince En Avignon" is sung in French. The Beatles' producer George Martin penned the track "The Game," and offered this song to Mary.

    Since Paul McCartney produced this album, there are songs that you can definitely tell Paul was involved: "The Honeymoon Song" has the McCartney feel, "The Puppy Song" (written by Harry Nilsson) is another happy-go-lucky sounding tune, and can be compared to McCartney's "Honey Pie" from the White Album. The oldie "Young Love" (Tab Hunter, Sonny James) gets the McCartney-ish stamp of approval, giving it a different approach then the more popular versions we're all familiar with.

    Still on the topic of Folk music, The Byrds' "Turn! Turn! Turn! (To EVerything Is A Season)" is one of 3 bonus tracks, as Hopkin's version is more folkish than that of The Byrds' version. The remaining bonus tracks are "Those Were The Days" sung in italian and spanish. (A note: one bonus track that is not on the CD I have, but it would be included on a remastered 2010 Post Card version, is the McCartney-penned song, "Goodbye." This would become Hopkin's second single back in 1969 [b-side "Sparrow"], and this song was credited as "Lennon-McCartney." It would be interesting to hear this Beatle tune, although the song itself was never recorded by the Fab Four, yet it can be found on Beatle bootleg recordings.)

    Mary Hopkin's second album was released on Apple in 1971, entitled Earth Song, Ocean Song, and was produced by her husband, Tony Visconti. After 1971, she stopped working in the music scene, to start a family. Unsatisfied with show business in general, this did not stop her from recording, as she performed in 1972 at an outdoor rock festival in South Australia, and other concerts in several major cities. 1972 saw the release of a Christmas single, helped by her husband, and another single released under the name of Hobby Horse. Her music was silent until 1976, where she sang on recordings her husband produced. Under her husband's produced material, she went by her married name, Mary Visconti. She guested on an album by Steeleye Span, and appeared at the Cambridge Folk Festival. She had two children by then, and before the end of the 1970s, Decca released a compilation album of her Cambrian recordings (The Welsh World Of Mary Hopkin). In the 1980s, she appeared on stage, playing the Virgin Mary in Rock Nativity at the Hexagon Theatre in Reading, Berkshire. She was asked to join the group Sundance, lead by Mike Hurst, and ELO's Mike de Albuquerque. They toured in the UK with Dr. Hook, but Mary left, dissastisfied with the gigs they endured.

    Hopkin and her husband divorced in 1981. A year later, she appeared on the soundtrack of Blade Runner. Around 1984, she was asked to join the band Oasis, with Peter Skellem and Julian Lloyd Webber. They released one album. A tour was planned, but Hopkin fell ill, and the group disbanded shortly after. She appeared in various charity shows throughout the 1980s. She released an album in 1989 (Spirit), featuring light classical songs. She worked on various projects throughout the 1990s, with The Chieftains, Julian Colbeck, Brian Willouhgy, Dave Cousins, and appeared on a Beatles tribute album. She re-recorded "Those Were The Days" with comedian Robin Williams rapping. She formed her own recording label in 2005, and released a live album (I>Live At The Royal Festival Hall), and a Christmas recording. For her 57th birthday, she released another album (Valentine) on her own label. This album featured rare recordings from 1972 to 1980. Another album was released in 2008 on her label (Recollections), and featured more recordings from 1970 to 1986, along with 3 Christmas songs. The last of her rare recordings trilogy was in 2009 (Now And Then), with more tracks from 1970 to 1988. Her Welsh recordings were brought back in the year 1996 (Y Caneuon Cynnar [The Early Recordings]), as another Welsh album was released in 2009 (Bloudeugerdd: Song Of The Flowers - An Anthology Of Welsh Music And Song).

    Her daughter, Jessica Lee Morgan, released her first CD in 2010 (I Am Not), which Mary Hopkin sings on various tracks. Also, she released an album with her son, Morgan Visconti, entitled You Look Familiar.

    All in all, Mary Hopkin released (or was involved in) a total of 12 albums, from 1969 to 2010. "Those Were The Days" would be her most famous hit. This famous hit (and album it was from) was produced by Paul McCartney. Post Card is one of those albums that although it was released over 40 years ago, it just may raise eyebrows as a very impressive album in today's age of music. As you listen, most of the songs are easily identified of that Paul McCartney was involved. And back in 1969, Folk Music had been very popular. One artist that stands out from listening to Post Card is Joan Baez. Having said that, this album can be a very impresive find in the 21st Century -- this kind of music could easily be brought back, especially as Paul McCartney did in 2012 with Big Band/Jazz, releasing the album entitled Kisses On The Bottom. This album hit #1 on the Jazz Album charts for 7 weeks.

    A very impressive album, I'm not sure back in 1969, this album may have been ahead of it's time (???) Having said this, listening to this album in 2013, indicates a ground-breaking discovery. This music is a refreshing experience, compared to the common sounds of 21st Century Popular Music. It sure beats today's Rap / R&B / Soul, and can take a seat next to today's Pop Country. Mary Hopkin (and with a help from Paul McCartney) brings Post Card to a new dimension in discovering a new type of music listening pleasure. It's a good album to listen to, relax, and work by.

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    Previous Review: #1349
    WWF--The Music Volume 3
    Next Review: #1351