EXCLUSIVE: A few very precious moments with Mary Hopkin
Steve Marinucci, Beatles Examiner, February 3, 2009
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.
Former Apple Records artist Mary Hopkin keeps it all in family with latest CDs
Steve Marinucci, Beatles Examiner, 28th January, 2011
Mary Hopkin's voice has always been one of the real treasures of the Apple Records catalog. And it's been years since there's been anything new to listen to as her most recent releases have been CDs taken from her archives.
But all that has changed. Mary and her son Morgan Visconti have teamed up to release "You Look Familiar," which came out late in 2010.
Morgan's no stranger to the music business. Previously, he's composed for TV and film and is now living in London after 20 years in New York, according to his biography, which also says he and mother Mary worked across the Atlantic in composing songs.
In some respects, "You Look Familiar" is not the same Mary Hopkin you knew from her Apple Records. Mary's voice, while still tender and lilting, is fuller. On the upbeat "America" that opens the album, she sings about "finding a better life in America." Definitely not the nostalgic sentiment of "Those Were the Days."
The CD has a more down-to-earth sound than her Apple albums, in part because the CD also has a more modern tone on some songs. But then there are beautiful songs like "Chimes" that go back to Mary's acoustic roots.
But the beauty of Mary Hopkin's voice that was such a wonderful part of the Apple Records catalog is still there. And the whole CD is definitely a family affair. Mother Mary and son Morgan wrote and produced the album and did the photography and layout, son Morgan did the mixing, daughter Jessica Lee Morgan added vocals and Mary conceived the cover.
"You Look Familiar" holds a few surprises to anyone who knows the Mary Hopkin of the past, but having new work by a talented woman like Mary Hopkin is great news.
And not only that, there's the next generation. Released at the same time as "You Look Familiar" was "I Am Not," the debut album by Jessica Lee Morgan. Jessica inherited the tenderness of mother Mary's voice, but with a slightly lower singing voice that reminds us in spots of a young Annie Lennox.
Like "You Look Familiar, this one is also very much a family affair. In addition to help from Mary and brother Morgan, Mary's ex-husband Tony Visconti helped with string arrangements, mixing and co-production. The result is a very enjoyable album -- and very interesting hopes for the future.
Both albums are available through Mary Hopkin's official website http://www.maryhopkin.com/.