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Mary Hopkin - Live at the Royal Albert Hall 1972. CD - £9.99

Released: 31st March 2017

Mary Hopkin's liner notes of this 34 year old album give an indication as to her attitude to her brief but bright music career all that time ago. Picked up by the Beatles' own Apple label, and thrust into pop-stardom with a trans-Atlantic number-one single, it was only a matter of time before she withdrew.

Despite being a few years into her career by 1972, Hopkin sounds shy, self-effacing and modest. She appears with her friends and her husband, producer Tony Visconti, creating the sound and atmosphere of a small fireside get-together. She sounds almost apologetic when introducing her band, as if it was a bit too 'rock star' to do so.

The crowd applaud politely, even to the biggest songs here (Those Were The Days, Streets Of London, Donna Donna) and it's a window into an era when whistles and cheering just weren't done, y'know. After each sublimely-delivered, note-perfect song, she issues a quiet 'thank you' and moves on. In the pop and folk crossover world of the time, Hopkin was a star - her voice alone was to thank for that.

A cover of the Beatles' If I Fell, a duet with Visconti, is as animated as she gets; the rest of the songs are minimally orchestrated with acoustic guitar, double bass and strings. On the production, her voice is right at the front, doing its job: showing off the skills of an artist of tremendous tender soulfulness.

CD, £9.99.

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