- Album name: Teaser and the Firecat
- Artist name: Cat Stevens
- Year: 1971
- Number of discs: one
- Label: A&M Records
- Collection: Brenner / Gessner
- Distinguishing characteristics: “G” written on top left of album, indicating that my father owned it
- Buy it on Amazon: $22.99
Level of familiarity before listening
I don’t have a lot of familiarity with Cat Stevens, or Yusuf Islam, except that he made singer-songwriter type music in the 1970s.
(I actually first heard about him on cable news as a teenager, in the context of what he said about Salman Rushdie, germane today because Rushdie was just very nearly assassinated a couple of months ago.)
This is the first Cat Stevens record that I’ll be reviewing, though there are several others in the collection, including one that will be up in a week or so.
What I expected
What it was actually like
I actually recognized a bunch of these songs, which wasn’t all that surprising, since my parents were both very enthusiastic when I mentioned that I’d be listening to it.
The Wind was quite a good song and, while listening to it, I recalled that I did know it as a Cat Stevens song! It was very folky with great guitar, a great voice and great lyrics! But why was it so short?
Another that I recognized was Morning Has Broken, a traditional song, but I don’t know if I remembered it because of Cat Stevens or not. Its very simple guitar made me think of it as a campfire song, but not in a good way. On the other hand, I recognized Moonshadow as well, and it also had that simple guitar and made me think of it as a campfire song, but in a good way!
Both Changes IV and Bitterblue had more of a rock sound, which I would generally appreciate, but they were only ok. They sounded sort of choppy and staccato-like, as if Stevens just didn’t get that rock is supposed to be rhythmic too.
Peace Train, that I recalled as one of Stevens’ hits, was another that I recognized, and had the staccato effect that I didn’t like, as well as some deeply inane lyrics.
If I Laugh and How Can I Tell You were boring, and the two worst songs on the record. They were actually more like what I expected all of them to sound like.
Rubylove, which had a verse in Greek, also had some outstanding Greek (or at least Mediterranean) style guitar, and that guitar really stood out on the record. I don’t know that I would have wanted to listen to a whole record of it, but I wouldn’t have minded one more song with it, either.
Tuesday’s Dead kind of reminded me of Jimmy Buffett, which was so weird.
4/5: would listen again
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