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Interview Part 3: Mary sings with others

Recently Jessica invited Mary to sit down with a coffee in front of a microphone. Jessica had a list of questions gathered from the lovely people on social media, and Mary answered until her coffee ran out. We'll be publishing her answers in themed batches. Thank you for your questions everyone!

Part 3. Mary sings with others.

Justin Logan (Facebook): I'd like to ask her about the details of the recording session for David Bowie's 'Sound and Vision'. Her vocal contribution is brief but it's a great touch to a wonderful song.

MH: Ah yes.

JLM: So how did you come to be invited to sing on the track?

MH: I was just outside Paris in Chateau d'Herouville where David and Tony and Brian Eno were recording the Low album. I was down in the kitchen or the dining room where we spent half the day. The phone rang and it was Brian up in the studio saying, "Can you come up and do a vocal, a little backing vocal." So up I went. You were six weeks old then Jess, so I made sure that you were fed and watered...

JLM: ...and sedated...

MH: ...yes, and put you in your pram, and left you with somebody I'm sure, and went off up to the studio. Brian and I went in and he said, "I've just got this little riff as a backing vocal to 'Sound and Vision'". He sang it to me in falsetto, so we recorded it in unison. It was the "do do doo" part. People always assume it's just me, probably because he sang it in falsetto we sounded alike. So it was meant to be a very quiet vocal, way in the background but when it came to mix it David came in to the studio and pushed the faders right up to the limit so it blasted out. I was so embarrassed, because I thought, "Oh it's so twee and awful". It was a twee little part. It was meant to be an echo in the distance, but he insisted on having it right up front. But it's become a nice little hook since then, written by Eno.

JLM: Is it just the two of you, not both of you double tracked?

MH: No we sang it at the same time, on the same track.

JLM: It does sound like two of you, there's a slight delay.

MH: The other one is Eno.

JLM: It was a dark album, content wise, lyrically, so maybe he wanted something something just to lighten or throw contrast on it.

MH: Well he had some quirky ideas, David.

Ian Richards (Facebook): With Tony working with stars such as Bolan and Bowie, were you ever tempted to do a glam style pop song?

MH: No.

JLM: Good. I'm not sure what glam style pop is, I guess Slade or something.

MH: No. Sort of out of my scope. I think I'd have loved to, had it been a serious proposition, but being who I was and the image I had it would have been the end of my career.

JLM: So you never wore glitter or platforms or anything like that.

MH: No, only at parties. Private parties.

Oxo Whitney (Facebook): Who is the other female singer in Hobby Horse?

MH: My dear friend Ondrea Lloyd. Mark and Ondrea... One bright thing about doing summer seasons was I met these wonderful people who've become lifelong friends. Mark was playing drums for Lonnie Donegan in his band and Ondrea was a dancer in the show. They were together, and Tony and I met them and became very close friends through the whole season, had wonderful times together. Later on Tony had the idea to create Hobby Horse and we did two tracks, and Ondrea sang the alto part on both those songs. 'Summertime' and 'Sweet and Low', the B side. She's a lovely lady.

JLM: A few people ask if you would record a song they have written for you. I will spare the names.

MH: Well bless you, thank you everybody for sending songs it but it's become a policy that we only record as a family now and record our own songs, because I spent many years recording other people's songs and I felt I needed to express my own feelings and once you do that you tend to stick to that.

JLM: There are a lot of your songs that are as yet unreleased.

MH: Yes, still half written.

JLM: People would love to sing with you you, love to record wth you...

MH: Ah, that's a great compliment.

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