Posts Tagged ‘Mary Hopkin’

Mary, Paul & Grace

December 21, 2011

Originally posted February 5, 2009

I found an interesting video of Mary Hopkin’s “Those Were The Days” at YouTube this morning. The person who posted it, richpat, writes:

The opening black and white film is from 1968 and the remaining film is from around 1982.

This song sung by Mary Hopkin called ‘Those Were The Days’ is not translated from the song ‘Дорогой длинною’ [or] ‘Dorogo Dlinnoyu.’

The song ‘Dorogoy Dlinnoyu (Along a long road)’ was written in the 1920’s by ‘Boris Fomin’ (music) and ‘Konstantin Podrevsky’ (lyrics). An American called Gene Raskin in the early 60’s wrote the lyrics ‘Those Were The Days’ and put them to Fomin’s music. The words have no similarity whatsoever with Podrevsky’s.
“For more info on Mary and this song visit my website at http://www.maryhopkin.net .

Note: Embedding has been disabled on richpat’s video since the original blog post, so I’ve found another video of the tune to place here. Note added December 21, 2011.

Here’s a video put together by YouTube user macca09 that combines Paul McCartney’s original demo of “Goodbye” (a 1968 recording that I don’t know that I’ve ever heard before) with footage of McCartney and of McCartney working with Hopkin in the studio:

Video deleted.

I couldn’t find a performance video of “Mastermind” by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, but I did find an acoustic performance from June 14, 2007, of “Stop The Bus.” The performance took place in Studio M at WMMM (105.5) in Madison, Wisconsin.

Tomorrow, I think we’ll dig back in to the charts for this week in 1971, see what gems we can find in the lower reaches of the Billboard Hot 100.

Mary Hopkin, ‘Temma Harbour’ & Froth

December 21, 2011

Originally posted February 4, 2009

I’ve got a little bit of music by Mary Hopkin in my collection: One LP on the shelves and a rip of another album and some singles in the mp3 files. But I have to admit I don’t know either of the albums all that well. I found the LP, Postcard, in 2001, and I know I’ve listened to it, as it’s in the stacks and not in the bins of records waiting for a hearing. But it doesn’t seem to have made much of an impression on me, beyond two facts: It’s on Apple and was produced by Paul McCartney.

The other album, Earth Song, Ocean Song, is – I think – something I was referred to by member of a board I frequent. Once I got it, I mentally set it aside, noting as I did that on the album, Hopkin covers one of my favorite songs, “Streets of London.” Since then – and that was a few months ago – I’ve not thought about it much.

So when Hopkin’s single, “Temma Harbour” popped up last week as I was sharing a few songs from 1970, all I really knew about her was her two hit singles. I wrote:

“Mary Hopkin – after being discovered by the Beatles and recorded for their Apple label – was prone to light, frothy and nostalgic singles: ‘Goodbye’ and ‘Those Were The Days’ were the hits. ‘Temma Harbour’ is not quite so frothy and has a tropical lilt to it that I like, so it’s not nearly as wearisome as the other stuff. (Temma Harbour is located on the north coast of the Australian island of Tasmania.)”

Later that day, I got a note from David, a fellow Minnesotan who’s been an occasional correspondent. He pointed out that “Temma Harbour” had reached the U.S. Top 40 (it was on the charts for two weeks, reaching No. 39 in the spring of 1970), and chronicled some of Hopkin’s further success in the British charts.

He also wrote, “[T]o be fair to her, when observing that her career was ‘prone to light, frothy and nostalgic singles’ you might want to note that she resisted that and her second Apple album, Earth Song, Ocean Song, was recorded more to her own preferences, and it’s a lovely compilation of songs by Cat Stevens, Ralph McTell (she’s one of the best at covering his songs, listen to her ‘Silver Birch and Weeping Willow,’ and ‘Kew Gardens’ as well as ‘Streets of London’) and the Apple house writers Gallagher & Lyle (her recording of ‘The Sparrow’ is amazing).  She recorded it with Dave Cousins, Ralph McTell, Danny Thompson, and similar name folkies under Tony Visconti’s production. Of course her approach didn’t yield hits.”

So I went and listened to Earth Song, Ocean Song. I still can’t say I know it well, but it is a much better album than I’d anticipated. “Streets of London” and “Silver Birch and Weeping Willow” are highlights, as are “The Wind” – the Cat Stevens tune – and the album’s closer “Ocean Song.”

Two songs that David mentioned aren’t on the Earth Song, Ocean Song album. I’m not sure how “Kew Gardens” was released, but it’s pretty good. So, too, is the Gallagher & Lyle tune – listed as simply “Sparrow” – that was the B-side of “Goodbye.” I did find a YouTube video using “Kew Gardens” and showing scenery from the actual Kew Gardens in London. And there’s a link to a rip of “Sparrow” below. (I’m making the assumption – perhaps a foolhardy thing to do – that the version of “Sparrow” I have is the same as the one from the Apple single.)

I also went back to my copy of Post Card this week and sampled a bit of it. It’s still pretty frothy, which only underlines David’s point: When Hopkin was allowed to do the things she did best, she was pretty good. (A sidelight to my putting Post Card on the turntable: The fourth track on the second side is “Those Were The Days,” which All-Music Guide says was included only on the British version of the LP. That would mean my copy is a U.K, edition, but based on a few quick looks at other copies of Post Card for sale online, I think that AMG got that one wrong; does anyone know?)

Anyway, here’s Earth Song, Ocean Song.

Tracks:
International
There’s Got To Be More
Silver Birch and Weeping Willow
How Come The Sun
Earth Song
Martha
Streets of London
The Wind
Water, Paper & Clay
Ocean Song

Mary Hopkin – Earth Song, Ocean Song [1971]

“Sparrow” by Mary Hopkin, Apple 1806 [1969]

One More Trip Across ‘The Atsville Bridge’

December 16, 2011

Originally posted January 26, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, when I posted versions by Crow and Gator Creek of “Don’t Try To Lay No Boogie-Woogie On The King Of Rock And Roll,” I mentioned that as far as I knew, I’d never heard the Crow version, even though the band was from Minnesota and the record had made a small dent in the chart, reaching No. 52 in late 1970.

The post drew a comment from regular visitor Yah Shure, who said, in part:

“So, what rock was whiteray hiding under in 1970? 🙂 I heard the Crow version a lot on KRSI, and probably KQRS in the Twin Cities and bought the 45. But it didn’t fare well at the local top-40s. While KDWB aired it for a few weeks, WDGY, not surprisingly, shunned it altogether.”

And in the listing of radio stations lay the answer of why I had no recollection of the Crow version of the song. Yah Shure grew up in the western ’burbs of the Twin Cities, while I was in St. Cloud, seventy miles or so distant. At that time, up here in the hinters, we couldn’t get KQRS without connecting our radios to our television antennas. And KRSI, well, I’d never heard of it.

My Top 40 listening in those days – my senior year of high school – was KDWB from the Twin Cities during the day and then either WJON just across the railroad tracks or WLS from Chicago in the evening. So my only chance of hearing the Crow single was on KBWD, and I evidently didn’t.

Or maybe I did, once or twice. I don’t know. I obviously didn’t hear the song frequently enough for it to make an impression. But then, I’m sure I heard a lot of stuff one or two times over the years without really being impressed. And I cannot think of any song that I heard just once or twice and still remember.

So I’m not sure which rock it was that sheltered me from a pretty good single in the fall of 1970.

Anyway, as I also mentioned during that Saturday post two weeks ago, I found online and purchased a 45 of “Don’t Try To Lay No Boogie Woogie On The King Of Rock And Roll” as recorded by the song’s composer, Jeff Thomas. (All four versions of the song – by Thomas, Crow, Gator Creek and Long John Baldry – use different punctuation, which I find odd and a little frustrating.) That record arrived last week, and I thought I’d go ahead and share it, along with a somewhat random sample of five other songs from 1970. (In other words, if a random selection doesn’t please me, I reserve the right to skip to another random choice.)

A Six-Pack from 1970

“Don’t Try To Lay No Boogie Woogie On The King Of Rock And Roll” by Jeff Thomas, Bell 941

“Piece Of My Heart” by Bettye LaVette, SSS International 839

“A Woman Left Lonely” by Janis Joplin from Pearl

“Temma Harbour” by Mary Hopkin, Apple 1816

“Lousiana Woman” by Swampwater from Swampwater

“You’re The Last Love” by Petula Clark from Blue Lady: The Nashville Sessions

Thomas does pretty well with his own composition, growling gruffly in front of an arrangement that was pretty standard for the time. I don’t think he quite nails the song as well as did Long John Baldry, but that’s not a disgrace. Thomas had a few other singles released on Bell, but none of them became hits.

Once Janis Joplin got hold of “Piece of My Heart” when she was with Big Brother & the Holding Company, she made it risky, at best, for anyone else to give a shot at recording the Bert Berns/Jerry Ragovoy song. Erma Franklin had recorded it before Joplin did and did it well, but Joplin’s 1968 performance in front of the ragged and acid-drenched backing of BB&HC made the songs hers. Nevertheless, two years later, Bettye LaVette gave it a shot. Her version is certainly less urgent than Joplin’s, and it’s not bad, but I’m not sure LaVette brings anything new to the song.

Speaking of Janis Joplin, I think her performance on “A Woman Left Lonely” is closer to the heart of Pearl, the album released after her death, than anything else. “Me and Bobby McGee” was the single, but I’ve thought since the first time I heard the album – I got it for graduation in the spring of 1971 – that “A Woman Left Lonely” was the best thing on the record. It still gives me chills.

Mary Hopkin – after being discovered by the Beatles and recorded for their Apple label – was prone to light, frothy and nostalgic singles: “Goodbye” and “Those Were The Days” were the hits. “Temma Harbour” is not quite so frothy and has a tropical lilt to it that I like, so it’s not nearly as wearisome as the other stuff. (Temma Harbour is located on the north coast of the Australian island of Tasmania.)

I don’t know a lot about Swampwater, but ­All-Music Guide notes that the group is better known as Linda Ronstadt’s backing group from the late 1960s. “Louisiana Woman” comes from the group’s 1970 album that was recorded for Starday/King but was unreleased at the time. It finally came out in 1995, making Swampwater another beneficiary of the mid-1990s rush to release stuff from the vaults. In this case, it’s worth it.

I first came across Petula Clark’s Blue Lady: The Nashville Sessions in a small suburban library during the brief time that the Texas Gal and I lived in the Twin Cities suburb of Plymouth. Intrigued, I took it home. As one might surmise, Clark went to Nashville in 1970 hoping to revitalize her career. I don’t think that any of the resulting tracks were released as singles; I know that the full package was finally released in 1995. It’s not rock, of course. It’s not even really country, despite the Nashville location. It’s pop, but it’s beautiful work, and it probably sounds better now that it would have then. “You’re The Last Love” has become a favorite of mine.