Buddha and the Chocolate Box

Buddha and the Chocolate Box

by Cat Stevens


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Buddha and the Chocolate Box

On Foreigner, his seventh album, Cat Stevens, living outside his native England for a year for tax reasons, recorded without his usual producer, Paul Samwell-Smith, and his usual second guitarist, Alun Davies. While the result was his fifth consecutive gold album and his fourth straight Top Ten hit, the record actually marked a small drop commercially and encountered critical resistance for the lengthy "Foreigner Suite" that took up all of Side 1. Eight months later, Buddha and the Chocolate Box found Stevens back in England and back with Samwell-Smith and Davies. It also marked a return to the simpler style of earlier albums. No song ran much over five minutes, the arrangements were sparer and featured more acoustic guitar, and the lyrics did not take off into discursive ruminations about the state of the universe. It was very much as if Stevens were deliberately trying to make an album like Teaser and the Firecat, his commercial and artistic apex. "Oh Very Young," for example, was identifiably the work of the man who had recorded "Moon Shadow" and "Morning Has Broken," rather than the author of "The Hurt" and "Sitting." It was a gentle, melodic ballad, full of fatherly advice, and the 25-year-old bachelor followed it with "Sun/C79," a fantasy of the future in which he described to a child how he had met its mother years before when he was a pop star and she attended one of his concerts. "I'm still having a good time," he concluded. Having begun the album with an ode to "Music" and its potential for reforming the world, he ended with "Home in the Sky," in which he sang, "Music is a lady that I still love." Such statements of renewed commitment to his job added to the sense that the album was a conscious crafted as an attempted second wind for the singer, who had been recording and performing at a torrid pace since returning to the music business full-time four years before. But that was not to say, in everything from the album title to the song "Jesus," that he had abandoned the spiritual nature of his creative quest, and the songs were as usual littered with religious imagery.

Stevens' fans responded warmly to Buddha and the Chocolate Box's stylistic return to form. "Oh Very Young" became his first Top Ten hit since "Morning Has Broken" two years before, and the album was held out of #1 only by the soundtrack to The Sting, logging more than twice as many weeks in the Top Ten as Foreigner and as many as Catch Bull at Four, even if it fell short of Teaser and the Firecat. The album's tone, however, suggested that Stevens was once again wearying of being a pop star, even as he delivered a record that maintained that status. ~ William Ruhlmann

Product Details

Release Date: 07/25/2000
Label: A&M
UPC: 0731454688826
catalogNumber: 546888
Rank: 14837

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Yusuf (Cat Stevens)   Primary Artist,Synthesizer,Guitar,Keyboards
Alun Davies   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Joy   Vocals
Clifford   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Gerry Conway   Drums,Vocals
Suzanne Cox   Vocals
Danny   Vocals
Roland Harker   Banjo
Jimmy   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Judy   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Bruce Lynch   Bass
Del Newman   Strings
Rick McCollum   Vocals
Jean Roussel   Strings,Keyboards
Jim Ryan   Guitar
Mark Warner   Guitar
Barry   Vocals
Brigette   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Jacqui   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Joanne   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Jean Rouselle   Drums,Vocals
Sunny   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Ruby   Vocals
Larry   Vocals

Technical Credits

Yusuf (Cat Stevens)   Composer,Producer,Concept,Illustrations
John Wood   Engineer
Victor Gamm   Engineer
Del Newman   Arranger,String Arrangements
Jean Roussel   Arranger,String Arrangements
Paul Samwell-Smith   Producer
Jean Rouselle   String Arrangements
Vartan   Art Direction
Roland Young   Concept
Mathieu Bitton   Reissue Package Design

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Buddha and the Chocolate Box 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this album is amazing the first time i heard it was on vinyl i was 14, i am now 17 and i have loved cat stevens ever since. it was like a breath of fresh air stevens style is very original and simple. i dig it. you should too.