GOLDMINE: Congratulations on the new remastered reissue of your Live at The Royal Festival Hall 1972 album. When this album was first released in 2005, as the debut CD on your Mary Hopkin Music label, there was a disclaimer on the sound quality, that tape hiss may be present on some tracks. Well, with this new remastering, I certainly don’t hear that. This is a crisp, clean collection of thirteen entertaining songs.
MARY HOPKIN: Thank you so much. This live album was recorded at Ralph McTell’s concert, where we shared the stage on May 20, 1972. It is a tribute to dear, gifted friends and other brilliant writers who influenced my early career and inspired me to write my own songs over the following years.
GM: I enjoy all the flip sides included on this album. A few years ago, we featured the flip side “International.” Which one would you like to highlight this time?
MH: Let’s feature “Sparrow,” which was the flip side of “Goodbye.” Paul McCartney wrote “Goodbye” for me, to follow “Those Were the Days.” The record was actually released as a double A side single. I knew “Sparrow” was a rare and special song. Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle, who wrote the song, have remained my dear friends since those early Apple days.
Flip side: Sparrow (double A side)
A side: Goodbye
Top 100 debut: April 19, 1969
Peak position: No. 13
In addition to “Sparrow,” and the album’s finale “International,” three more flip sides are included on this live CD. There is “Streets of London,” written by Ralph McTell, which served as the flip side of Mary’s 1972 Apple single “Water, Paper & Clay.” She and producer Tony Visconti blend vocals on The Beatles’ “If I Fell,” which originally was the flip side of “And I Love Her,” both from their A Hard Day’s Night 1964 soundtrack. Mary encourages the audience to sing along with the traditional and beautifully haunting folk song “Donna, Donna,” about treasuring freedom, filled with symbolism, and previously served as the flip side of Chad & Jeremy’s 1965 Top 40 interpretation of “If I Loved You” from the musical Carousel.
Both title tunes from Mary’s second Apple album Earth Song / Ocean Song are included. Liz Thornsen’s “Earth Song” composition is reflective, and a rolling acoustic guitar backdrops “Ocean Song,” while Mary sings, “You found a friend to take you to the end of the ocean.” She also sings a pair of popular Top 10 hits for others, back to back, “Morning Has Broken,” which was on the radio by Cat Stevens at the time of this concert, and “Both Sides Now,” the Joni Mitchell composition popularized by Judy Collins in 1968, the same year that Mary reached No. 2 in the U.S. and No. 1 in the UK and Canada, with her gold debut Apple single, “Those Were the Days,” which is augmented on this recording by The Pop Arts String Quartet.
The new remastered reissue of Mary Hopkin’s Live at The Royal Festival Hall 1972 CD is wonderfully entertaining from start to finish.
In October 2020, we reviewed Mary’s Another Road CD, filled with new compositions including “Red, White and Blue,” a song very fitting for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. To read about this album, and our prior Goldmine coverage of music from Mary Hopkin, please see the links below.