domingo, 18 de setembro de 2016

CAT STEVENS: "Teaser and the Firecat"

Original Released on LP Island ILPS 9154 
(UK, September 1971)

A1. The Wind 1’44
A2. Rubylove 2’37
A3. If I Laugh 3’20
A4. Changes IV 3’32
A5. How Can I Tell You 4’26
B1. Tuesday’s Dead 3’36
B2. Morning Has Broken 3’17
B3. Bitterblue 3’10
B4. Moonshadow 2’50
B5. Peace Train 4’07

All songs by Cat Stevens,
except “Morning Has Broken” (words by E. Farjeon)
Guitar & Keyboards: Cat Stevens
Guitar: Alun Davies
Bass & Congas: Larry Steele
Drums: Gerry Conway & Harvey Burns
Bouzoukia: Andreas Toumazis & Angelos Hatzipavli
Strings: Del Newman
Photograph: David Bailey
Cover Painting: Cat Stevens
Produced by Paul Samwell-Smith

Not simply one of the best albums from 1971, but from the ‘70s. It’s a nearly perfect record, generating a level of awe and admiration similar to Simon and Garfunkel’s "Bridge Over Troubled Water". At the heart of the record is Cat Stevens’ spiritual journey through the world, rendered in warm and imaginative arrangements at once wise and childlike. “The Wind” sets the tone from the beginning, with Cat following the model of Jesus Christ («I never wanted water once») and putting his life in God’s hands. Such a heavy burden needs lightening; enter “Rubylove,” a Greek love song featuring twin bouzoukias that is utterly charming. An intimate, confessional style follows on the next three tracks, modest in arrangement but deep in resonance. The floodgates open on the second side, with every track a memorable moment in the CATalog. (In fact, four of the five tracks on side two were released as singles, with “Bitterblue” equally deserving.). “Tuesday’s Dead” addresses Cat’s confusion as he searches for a meaning and purpose in life, underscored with a herky-jerky rhythm that nearly has an island/reggae feel to it. “Morning Has Broken” is actually a hymn set to music, and is one of a handful of secular songs to have crept into ecumenical services. “Bitterblue” reprises the pent-up frustration of “Tuesday’s Dead,” leading into the shared revelations of “Moonshadow” and “Peace Train.” There’s something so ingratiating yet powerful about these songs, they literally draw you in like a magnet. As a boy, my ears would prick up every time my Dad played this record on the turntable; in fact, I remember buying him a "Teaser And The Firecat" book at a school fair, as it represented a shared musical affection. (The book probably had some nonsensical pretext based on the album’s artwork, but of course my Dad never let on that it wasn’t of the highest literary order.) Therein lies my appreciation for "Teaser And The Firecat": it feels like a warm hug from God, a parent/child relationship of a different order of course. Stevens is looking into the mirror of his soul here, and inviting us to do the same, following the piper’s progress down the road to redemption and thus moving closer to that goal ourselves (Dave Connolly)

Even as a serious-minded singer/songwriter, Cat Stevens never stopped being a pop singer at heart, and with "Teaser and the Firecat" he reconciled his philosophical interests with his pop instincts. Basically, Teaser's songs came in two modes: gentle ballads that usually found Stevens and second guitarist Alun Davies playing delicate lines over sensitive love lyrics, and up-tempo numbers on which the guitarists strummed away and thundering drums played in stop-start rhythms. There were also more exotic styles, such as the Greek-styled "Rubylove," with its twin bouzoukis and a verse sung in Greek, and "Tuesday's Dead," with its Caribbean feel. Stevens seemed to have worked out some of his big questions, to the point of wanting to proselytize on songs like "Changes IV" and "Peace Train," both stirring tunes in which he urged social and spiritual improvement. Meanwhile, his love songs had become simpler and more plaintive. And while there had always been a charming, childlike quality to some of his lyrics, there were songs here that worked as nursery rhymes, and these were among the album's most memorable tracks and its biggest hits: "Moonshadow" and "Morning Has Broken," the latter adapted from a hymn. The overall result was an album that was musically more interesting than ever, but lyrically dumbed-down. Stevens continued to look for satisfaction in romance, despite its disappointment, but he found more fulfillment in a still-unspecified religious pursuit that he was ready to tout to others. And they were at least nominally ready to listen: the album produced three hit singles and just missed topping the charts. "Tea for the Tillerman" (1970) may have been the more impressive effort, but "Teaser and the Firecat" was the Cat Stevens album that gave more surface pleasures to more people, which in pop music is the name of the game. (William Ruhlmann in AllMusic)

7 comentários:

Miss F disse...

thank y0u sooo0o much for posTing this album, rat0~~~~

Anonymous disse...

Rato..verrryy nice..thank you!

sir henry disse...

Teaser And The Firecat
je i still have this book
its a god story
the first glimbs of the muslim /etno stevens

Anonymous disse...

I'm listening to this right now... very uplifting!
Thanks so much for this post- the music's wonderful!!

keramos disse...

gracias.... que recuerdos

graphomaniax disse...

Merci beaucoup ;•)

Anónimo disse...

Niiiice one. Thank you Mr. Rato.

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