Half a Granny Smith

It’s always exciting when, flicking though a pile of dusty old singles in an op-shop, you see the distinctive apple of Apple Records. This was the short-lived but famous label which was established by the Beatles, and which just about bankrupted them.

It remains one of the great label designs: simple, memorable, imaginative. The A side shows an apple with shiny green skin, unmistakably a Granny Smith.

4039 A

This variety of apple was created in Australia, and is one of those little things were are proud of in this country. The B side shows the same apple, neatly cut in half.

4039 B

When I first saw this design – it would have been on a Beatles LP belonging to an older brother – I was entranced. I held the record, flipping it, again and again.

So yes, to find an original Apple is exciting, even when the artist is unfamiliar. I had not heard of her, but Mary Hopkin was very big in the day: a beautiful young women with a clear, sweet voice. Her songs are of untroubled fun and summer romance, those “silly love songs” that Paul McCartney, who produced her records, would later defend.

“Temma Harbour” is one of those: a song of romance in a seaside setting which might be Mediterranean or, as touch of steel drums suggests, or vaguely Caribbean. Temma is a real place, but in neither of those locations. It is a tiny hamlet – a few beach shacks and a boat ramp – on the western coast of Tasmania, the island just south of the Australian mainland.

Tasmania is a beautiful place, and its western coast especially so, but warm and set about with lemon trees it ain’t. The winds there are known as the Roaring Forties, which sweep around the world, west to east, above the Southern Ocean. There is nothing to get in the way of the wind between Tierra del Fuego and western Tasmania except the odd iceberg.

But this doesn’t matter. When we sing of the Jordan River, we do not mean the polluted and diminished contemporary waterway. There is a Jordan River of the imagination; there is a Temma Harbour of the imagination. In the real world, these things cheer people up: hymns and silly love songs both.

  • Artist: Mary Hopkin
  • Single Title: Temma Harbour
  • Track: Side A “Temma Harbour”
  • Format: 7”, 45 rpm
  • Label: Apple, APPLE-9053
  • Manufactured in: Australia
  • Year: 1970

Many of the records featured on this blog, and hundreds of others, are for sale via Discogs

 

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