"Post Card" sessions

Early October 1968 to early December 1968 • For Mary Hopkin

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Post Card (UK version - Stereo) LP.
Timeline More from year 1968
Studio:
Morgan Studios, London, UK
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Studio:
Trident Studios, London, UK

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About

After the success of the single “Those Were The Days” (released on August 30, 1968; which became a number-one hit on the UK Single Chart), Mary Hopkin started working on his debut album, still produced by Paul McCartney.

Did Paul score all those big orchestral arrangements on Post Card?

Paul was always involved. He would go sit with George Martin and they would work it out. Sometimes it would come from George, and sometimes Paul would sing a little riff and say “this feel” or “that feel.” I can’t remember who did exactly what now. But Paul was very much involved.

Mary Hopkin – Interview with Goldmine Magazine, 1992

If we trust the articles by the UK music press, the sessions started early October and ended early December 1968. EMI Studios at Abbey Road have been used, as well as Morgan Studios and Trident Studios (according to the liner notes of the 2010 re-release of “Post Card“).

She was a very nice girl and good fun to work with. It was all done at EMI. Just go in, do a couple of songs. Then Linda took her down to Kew Gardens and took the cover photograph. I got in touch with Valentines, the postcard makers, and said, ‘Will you please make a postcard of this?’, which they did for that one summer: a limited edition of postcards. It was rather home-made, a pleasant album to make.

Paul McCartney – from “Many Years From Now”, by Barry Miles, 1997

Folk singer Donovan wrote two songs for Mary for this album (“Lord Of The Reedy River” and “Voyage Of The Moon“) and contributed to the recording. Mary also covered another song from Donovan, previously released, “Happiness Runs (Pebble And The Man)“. Those three songs from Donovan were the ones she preferred on the album.

The three songs by Donovan are among the favourites on the LP… I like Donovan’s songs very much. One is ‘Happiness Runs.’ It’s just about happiness — a lighthearted song with orchestral accompaniment. But I also play guitar all the way through. ‘Voyage Of The Moon’ is a typical lovely Donovan song. This features two guitars behind the vocal. They’re played by Paul McCartney and Donovan. I don’t play here. I just sing. Donovan does a bit of singing from time to time. If you listen hard you can hear him. And Paul also plays a little bit on other tracks. The third Donovan song is called ‘Lord Of The Reedy River’, again accompanied by Donovan and Paul. This is a very soft and dreamy thing.

From Melody Maker – December 28, 1968

I thought Donovan was like a little elf, this magical person. They sat either side of me, him and Paul, playing their acoustic guitars. I was on a stool in between, sitting there like a tiny mouse, singing this beautiful music.

Mary Hopkin, from the liner notes of 2010 reissue of Postcard

Paul McCartney also had Harry Nilsson writing a song for Mary (“The Puppy Song“). Also George Martin wrote her “The Game“:

I’d written a tune, and when I played it to Paul he said he liked it and wanted to use it for Mary. I then went away and concocted a lyric — which was rather rare for me — and she recorded it as ‘The Game’. I played piano on the track too.

George Martin – From the liner notes of the 2010 reissue of “Post Card

The other songs were oldies, mostly Tin Pan Alley songs, among the favourites of Paul’s father, Jim McCartney.

I basically did a lot of tunes that were my favourites that I thought she’s be good at.

Paul McCartney – from “Many Years From Now”, by Barry Miles, 1997

In the interviews to promote “Post Card” but also throughout the years, Mary Hopkin was kind-of critical about this song selection, and repeated that the folk songs from Donovan were her prefered ones on the album.

I would describe it as if I was in kindergarten. With the whole world watching while you take your baby steps. This was Post Card: me in the studio, trying out new things. Paul was quite right to encourage me, but I don’t think my vocals were suited to some of the songs, which I felt were a bit too sophisticated for me… ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’… ‘Lullaby Of The Leaves’… I didn’t feel up to the challenge.

Mary Hopkin – From the liner notes of the 2010 “Post Card” re-release

Among the musicians were Richard Hewson for orchestra arrangements, the London Welsh Choir (on “Young Love“), the Mike Cotton band (on “Someone To Watch Over Me” and “Young Love“), and the Dolmetsch family (on unknown tracks)

When Paul was producing the Postcard album for Mary Hopkin, he used a group of six young session musicians who each played different sized recorders on one of the tracks. There were twin girls called Jeanne and Marguerite Dolmetsch, whose family are well known for making musical instruments, and Paul, Brian, Peter and Christine Blood. The two families were unrelated then but Brian Blood later married Marguerite Dolmetsch and now heads up the Dolmetsch company.

Linda McCartney – from “Linda McCartney’s Sixties“, 1992

Ringo Starr might have contributed some drums, as evocated by Mary Hopkin in 2015 interview:

It’s hard to remember all the exact details from so long ago but here are a few answers for you. I did not play guitar on ‘Those Were the Days.’ Paul played acoustic guitar. Paul’s thigh slap was on my second single, ‘Goodbye,’ where he and I played the two rhythm guitars. I don’t recall who played the drums on ‘Those Were the Days,’ but since it was a full, orchestral arrangement [by Richard Hewson], I believe it was a session player, though Paul sometimes played additional drums [often enhancing Ringo’s basic pattern] on the Postcard album tracks.

Mary Hopkin – From Classic Track: “Those Were the Days,” Mary Hopkin (mixonline.com)
From Facebook – November 1968 – Photo by Linda McCartney / Linda Enterprises Ltd. © Paul McCartney (https://www.lindamccartney.com/)
From Facebook – November / December 1968 – Photo by Linda McCartney / Linda Enterprises Ltd. © Paul McCartney (https://www.lindamccartney.com/)
From Facebook – November / December 1968 – Photo by Linda McCartney / Linda Enterprises Ltd. © Paul McCartney (https://www.lindamccartney.com/)

Mary Hopkin – still number one this week with “Those Were The Days” – has started work on her first album with Beatle Paul McCartney.

Mary will be recording a number of songs including several Lennon and McCartney compositions, although it is unlikely that every track will be an original by Paul and John.

A spokesman told the MM: “Mary is having a couple of weeks off from TV and appearances to think about the rest of the album although a couple of things have already been recorded.

From Melody Maker – October 12, 1968
From Melody Maker – October 12, 1968

Mary Hopkin will not have a follow-up to “Those Were The Days” released before the end of the year, said an Apple spokesman this week.

Her first album, however, will be rush-released in time for Christmas. She is at present rehearsing songs found by Paul McCartney which include specially written material by Jim Webb, Nilsson and Randy Newman. There are 18 songs available, from which about 12 will be chosen.

The album will be completed by December. […]

From Melody Maker, November 9, 1968
From Melody Maker, November 9, 1968

MARY HOPKIN has finished work on her first album, produced by Paul McCartney.

The album was completed last week and will probably contain 14 tracks. No decision has been taken on the title for the album, said Apple press officer Derek Taylor. The LP will probably be released early in the New Year.

It includes two new Donovan tracks, a previously recorded Donovan song, a song specially written for Mary by Nilsson, a Welsh song, a George Martin composition and what is described as a “Gertrude Lawrence song.”

Mary told MM this week: “I’m quite pleased with the way the LP has turned out, but I’m sorry that the recording is over because I enjoyed it. It’s nice finding out what you can do, but I’ll be a lot more confident about things when I have a lot more songs I can do with just the guitar.

Mary has not yet recorded a follow-up single to “Those Were The Days

From Melody Maker – December 14, 1968
From Melody Maker – December 14, 1968

Last updated on September 27, 2021

Related sessions


"Post Card" session - Improvisation with Donovan

November 1968 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Post Card (US version)

Songs recorded


1.

Lord Of The Reedy River

Written by Donovan

Recording



3.




6.

The Puppy Song

Written by Harry Nilsson

Recording


7.

The Inch Worm

Written by Frank Loesser

Recording


8.

Voyage Of The Moon

Written by Donovan

Recording



10.

Young Love

Written by Ric Cartey, Carole Joyner

Recording



12.


13.

The Game

Written by George Martin

Recording










Staff

Musicians

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Acoustic guitar
Richard Hewson:
Arrangements
Donovan:
Acoustic guitar
Mary Hopkin:
Vocals
Brian Blood:
Recorder
Peter Blood:
Recorder
Paul Blood:
Recorder
Jeanne Dolmetsch:
Recorder
Marguerite Dolmetsch:
Recorder
Christine Blood:
Recorder
Mike Cotton Sound:
Jazz backing
London Welsh Choir:
Choir

Production staff

Paul McCartney:
Producer
Ken Scott:
Mixing, Engineering

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