Teaser and the Firecatby Yusuf (Cat Stevens)
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 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.
- Release Date:
Performance CreditsYusuf (Cat Stevens) Primary Artist,Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals
Rick Wakeman Piano
Alun Davies Guitar
Harvey Burns Drums
Gerry Conway Drums,Voices
Angelos Hatzipavli Bouzouki
Del Newman Strings
Larry Steele Bass,Conga
Andreas Toumazis Bouzouki
Technical CreditsYusuf (Cat Stevens) Arranger,Composer
Paul Samwell-Smith Producer
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What can i say about this album? it's simply one of the greatest albums ever made, an absolutely flawless album. I can listen to it over and over again without ever getting bored. Cat Stevens was a real genius. If you don't have this album, you're missing A LOT.
I think I have every album ever made by Cat Stevens, and this is one of my two favorites. (The cover is Stevens' own work: before Cat Stevens decided to try his hand at professional musicianship, he was in art school.) "If I Laugh" and "How Can I Tell You" are among the most heart-rending songs in my family's extensive music collection. (IMO, few musicians do the empty-heartsick-lonely thang as well as Cat Stevens.) "Tuesday's Dead," with full, fun, upbeat instrumentation, is probably the most upbeat song on the album - along with "Ruby Love," a hat-tip to Stevens' Greek roots. If you like Cat Stevens but don't have any of his albums, this is a good one to start with. Along with the songs I've mentioned, it features three hits you'll surely recognize ("Morning Has Broken," "Moonshadow" and "Peace Train").
This is worth buying, even if you already have the pre rematered version (as I do). The sound is much more full, which is important when listening to music that is predominantly acoustic.