Friday, November 24, 2017

Cat Stevens

Tea for the Tillerman (AM8)
Artist: Cat Stevens
Produced by:  Paul Samwell-Smith
Released: November 23, 1970
Length: 36:49
Tracks: 1) Where Do the Children Play (3:48); 2) Wild World (3:20); 3) Sad Lisa (3:25); 4) Miles From Nowhere (3:37); 5) But I Might Die Tonight (1:53) 6) Longer Boats (3:13); 7) Into White (3:25); 8) On the Road to Find Out (5:08); 9) Father and Son (3:43) 10) Tea for the Tillerman (1:02)
Players: Cat Stevens – classical guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboards, lead vocals; Alun Davies – 2nd guitar, backing vocals; Harvey Burns – drums; John Ryan – bass guitar; Del Newman – string arrangements; John Rostein – violin

Tea For The Tillerman spoke with poetic intimacy. It was like hearing someone's diary. "Where Do All the Children Play?" begins a string of personal tales, pointed and political, that continues right through to "Father And Son." Cat’s voice and music are folksy and cutting edge, like the songs of a young man and an old soul. Although "Where Do The Children Play may strike the average listener as a simple tune, the lyrics present a social commentary as relevant today as it was 45 years ago. The classic "Father And Son," a moving commentary on the generation gap, is still relevant today, but maybe a lesson that may allude the son, but not the father. "Tea For The Tillerman" sees a return to the themes explored in the opener with Stevens reminding us that "While the sinners sin, the children play."

Teaser and the Firecat (AM7)
Artist: Cat Stevens
Produced by:  Paul Samwell-Smith
Released: October 1, 1971
Length: 32:39
Tracks: 1) The Wind (1:42); 2) Rubylove (2:37); 3) If I Laugh (3:20); 4) Changes IV (3:32); 5) How Can I Tell You? (4:24) 6) Tuesday's Dead (3:36); 7) Morning Has Broken (3:20); 8) Bitter Blue (3:12); 9) Moonshadow (2:52) 10) Peace Train (4:04)
Players: Cat Stevens – classical guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboards, lead vocals; Alun Davies – 2nd guitar, backing vocals; Larry Steele – bass guitar, congas; Gerry Conway – drums; Harvey Burns – drums; Jean Roussel - hammond organ on "Peace Train"; Linda Lewis - backing vocals; Andy Roberts (uncredited) - Kriwaczek string organ (on 5); Rick Wakeman – piano on "Morning Has Broken" (uncredited); Andreas Toumazis – bouzouki; Angelos Harzipavli – bouzouki; Del Newman – string arrangements

The third album Cat Stevens released in a 15-month burst that began in the summer of 1970 with Mona Bone Jakon, Teaser and the Firecat is where the enigmatic folk-pop idol crested commercially, if not artistically. Its predecessor, Tea for the Tillerman, possesses an air of mystery and unforced whimsy that proved impossible for Stevens to replicate. That said, the singer-songwriter had it in him to pull together a captivating collection that boasted two of the biggest hits of his meteoric, if self-inhibited, career:"Peace Train" and the sublime hymn "Morning Has Broken." "The Wind," "If I Laugh," and "Moonshadow" are every bit as tuneful and appealing as the hits, while "Rubylove," "How Can I Tell You," and "Bitterblue" would be standouts on Stevens's less accomplished later albums. In fact, only the bellicose social statements "Changes IV" and "Tuesday's Dead" ring slightly hollow.