Music isn't made in a vacuum, it often involves the contribution of many talented people. The first few albums we put out on Mary Hopkin Music resulted in a trip down memory lane.
We had to remember who played on what, and sometimes even they didn't remember playing on the tracks. So here we herald the talented bunch who made these albums possible.
First up is Mary of course. Need we say more about Mary? She sings, she writes, she harmonises like a choir of angels or a group of cheeky girls. Her piano and guitar playing also come into service.
Next is Tony Visconti, at the time Mary's husband. The record producer is also an arranger of strings and choirs. Tony is also a multi-instrumentalist and singer, contributing bass, guitar, recorder and even bouzouki.
Talking of bass players (Mary and Tony's son Morgan is also a pretty mean one) there are two special ones playing on these albums. Danny Thompson is double bass-player extraordinaire (recently celebrating his 75th birthday with a string of gigs at the Half Moon in Putney).
He is one of the line-up for Earth Song/Ocean Song album of which Mary is especially proud. One of his songs appears on Valentine, 'No Love is Sorrow', which Pentangle of course first made known.
The combination of his skills and his bass, Victoria, are so recognisable.
The other, different type of bassist is Bruce Lynch, a friend of Mary and Tony's from New Zealand. Bruce is a notable session musician and producer, who also likes to fly planes.
My early memories of Bruce involve watching him play, eyes closed, his slap-pop hand a blur. I love his distinctive sound on the fretless which you can hear all over the archive albums on tracks like 'Hope Is' and 'Life Begins Again'.
Who else is there? I could write pages on who was involved but sometimes they came in sets. Tony produced Omaha Sherriff and Mary recorded two of their tracks, 'Take Me Back' and 'Loving You is So Easy' by Paul Muggleton and Bob Noble.
Paul and Bob joined the rest of the band - Chris Birkett and Michael Spencer-Arscott, with Tony on bass, in backing Mary on these two great tracks.
Other folk legends made appearances too. Ralph McTell, Bert Jansch (who played on his own song 'Crazy for my Sweetheart'), Brian Willoughby, Dave Cousins, Dave Mattacks, Gerry Conway, Mike Piggott… all lend their expert touch to these amazing recordings.
We apologise if we didn't get in touch with everyone when the albums were released. Do track us down if you'd like to know more about what you did back then!
Here's the cast list from Valentine, Recollections and Now and Then (applause please):
- Andy Duncan - drums
- B.J. Cole - pedal steel
- Barry Morgan - drums
- Benny Gallagher - producer
- Bert Jansch - guitar
- Blue Weaver - piano and keyboards
- Bob Noble - piano
- Brian Willoughby - guitar
- Bruce Lynch - bass
- Chris Birkett - guitar/backing vocals
- Christian Thomas - bass/engineering
- Colin Thurston - producer
- Danny Thompson - double bass
- Dave Cousins - guitar
- Dave MacRae - piano
- Dave Mattacks - drums
- David Katz - orchestra leader
- Gerry Conway - drums
- Jean Roussel - piano/keyboard
- Jessica Lee Morgan - vocals/guitar
- Laurence Juber - guitar
- Mary Hopkin - vocals and vocal arrangements
- Suzanne Lynch - vocals
- Michael Spencer-Arscott - drums
- Mike Piggott - violin
- Mike Silverston - remastering
- Morgan Visconti - vocals
- Paul Muggleton - vocals
- Ralph McTell - guitar
- Tony Visconti - producer/vocals/guitar/bass/arrangements/recorders
Jessica Lee Morgan is Mary's daughter and runs Mary Hopkin Music.