- Disc and Music Echo
- February 5, 1972
- courtesy of George Brown
Davies is allowing himself one day a week in London this month. A chauffeured car
brings him in and he packs all his other duties into those few smoky hours.
Then he goes back home to
Surrey to complete the songs for his first solo LP. When this album arrives in May
(hopefully), Alun will have turned full circle, from professional singer, to studio
musician, to backing musician, to backing musician and back to solo singer.
But thats about as
far as the circle will turn, for Alun, the man on the other stool on Cat Stevens
concerts and albums, has no further plans for himself.
"Maybe if the album is
successful Id like to sing a bit to open Cats concerts, and if, as I imagine
he will soon, he cuts down on touring, perhaps Id do some dates on my own. But
loyalty to Cat is still of prime importance."
Aluns album has been
a long time in the planning, and its only been lack of said time thats
prevented him recording it earlier.
"I think a solo LP
must always be at the back of a musicians mind and you just wait for the right
opportunity to present itself. For me its been a reality for about a year. The
trouble has been finding the time to record it."
As the idea has been at the
back of Aluns mind for so long, was there not also some frustration that his songs
have so far had little outlet?
"Its true that
Cat never sings other peoples songs although he has once or twice toyed with the
idea of doing one of mine. But Ive always felt anything but frustrated and
the last year has been just great; everything has fallen into place."
Despite four American tours
and innumerable Continental dates, the one concern Alun remembers with greatest affection
is the charity done for CURE, the drug rehabilitation organisation.
"It was at the Drury
Theater Royal and was really lovely. The orchestra was perfect, the lights were great and
the atmosphere was the best Ive ever experienced."
Like Cat, Alun shares the
view that stage shows should be professionally organised and believes in giving an
audience the best possible evening.
"If for instance
during the show, the roadies had had to come on stage and fiddle with equipment it would
have ruined everything. Audiences are really not interested in paying good money and then
seeing a shabby show on stage. But that was the best show weve ever done."
Alun is convinced now that
with an orchestra is the only way to work live.
"I think well be
doing a world tour soon this year, starting in Britain and taking in America and
Australia, and ideally wed take an orchestra everywhere, sending the arrangements on
ahead so it can rehearse in advance of us."
For a pair who were almost
literally thrown together by their record producer Paul Samwell-Smith, just two years ago,
Cat and Alun complement each other absolutely ideally.
"The first time we
met, for the Mona Bone Jakon album, was strictly a business
thing. But later, when Cat asked me to go on the road with him, it developed into a major
"Id thought of
joining the Mark-Almond band as Id already done things as a fold duo with John Mark,
but everything just seemed to arrive at the same time and I was forced into a
Its a decision
hes in no way regretted, and now that his own album is being recorded
"Im going to crack straight on with it" he seems to have reached
complete satisfaction. But strangely for an ex-session man hes no friend of studios.
"I can really feel
naked in a studio, in the same way that people can feel naked on stage. In the last year
Ive just got into the rhythm of living on the road and its changed a lot of
things in me. It was getting to be too comfortable and it was making me lazy. But at the
same time it did tighten up my playing."
A lot of material on
Aluns album will be up to two years old. Hes been writing for a long time, but
as he puts it, most of his older songs have "decayed" rather than aged.
Hell leave a suitable
gap after finishing the album, and then he and Cat embark on a fourth new-look Stevens LP.
New-look? Well, thats what many reviewers seem to think.
"But I cant
understand reviewers who instantly think Cat wishes to put down those early songs. There
are some tremendous songs on that Decca album and we still play "I Love My
Dog" sometimes. Its the same with fans. Hes got some that
whove been with him from the very beginning; they come along to concerts and sit and
scream. And if somebody shows that sort of devotion its stupid to put them down, or
even think of doing so."