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July  1972
Double feature:
Both Cat Stevens & Alun Davies are featured in this magazine issue.

Alun Davies or never let a Daydo by

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Cat Stevens and his guitarist Alun Davies spend an afternoon with Michelle O'Driscoll

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DAYDO HAS gone and done it. He’s had the guts to do an album of his own, and to show just how daring he can be, he’s chosen to rely almost entirely on his own songs—and very fine they are.

"Daydo" is Alun Davies, best known as guitarist with Cat Stevens, and it is also the title of his CBS album, released second week in August.

Recently, Alun dropped over for a chat and, in the space of a few hours, it was easy to understand why those who know and love him, describe him, simply, as "a very beautiful person. "

Uppermost in both our minds was the album acetate he had safely tucked under his arm. Alun’s very own solo LP—the realization of a Iife.Iong dream.

"Until I was about 17, all my friends called me ‘Daydo’," said Alun explaining the title, "so, when I finally found the time to put down some songs and I had to find a name for the album, I thought wily not own up!"

Why not indeed, when the songs express his personality strongly enough as to defy comparison with Cat, whom he has worked with for the past three years? This is so, in spite of the fact that Cat Stevens worked on Alun’s album as both musician and co. producer with Paul Samwell.Smith.

"I was delighted when Stevie (Cat Stevens) showed enough interest to work on the tracks with me. I realized that, by using Steve and some of the musicians who work with Steve, like Gerry (Conway) and Harvey (Burns), people might say the sound was similar, but I didn’t hesitate for a moment. Steve and I are musical brothers. There are some musicians I get off on and others I don’t."

Included on ‘Daydo," are seven of Alun’s own compositions, one of which is written in collaboration with Jeremy Taylor, Buddy Holly's "I’m Gonna Love You Too," "I’m Late," from "Alice in Wonderland," and the Cat Stevens/Kim Fowley track from Cat’s early period, "Portobello Road."

"Waste of Time," one of Alun’s songs, has been chosen as the A-side of a single to be taken from the set:

"That was the last track we put down and the song just came together so easily. It’s the most spontaneous song on the album and that’s probably why I like it so much.

A song like I’m Late’ is obviously more commercial, but it isn’t representative of the whole album and I could hardly follow it up, even if I wanted to should it be a hit.

"I’m putting ‘Portobello Road’ on the flip and, if you say anything in your article, you should say I’m doing it because the boy needs the money— and the exposure!

"The first time I ever heard the song was when Stevie did it off-the-cuff one night in LA. I really liked the scuffling guitar accompaniment. I always liked the European rhythms he used right from the early days."

Alun’s own rhythm structures have a Cosmopolitan feel, especially tracks like "Market Place," "Young Warrior" and "Vale of Tears," possibly because Alun wrote a lot of the songs while touring the States last autumn. Some are based on fantasy, others, like "Old Bourbon," on personal experience.

"We got really ripped on Southern Comfort one night in New Orleans— I find it such an offensive drink, sweet bourbon, ugh! And we went out and found a little stray mongrel dog. We fed him and took him back to the hotel. Then room service came up and said we’d have to leave him in the car, downstairs. We unwound a window for him and he got out.

"The song just recalls the incident. It’s a very universal theme—-everyone loses a pet at some time in their life."

Only one song comes from Alun’s musical past. It’s "Poor Street," which Alun wrote and performed when he worked with Spencer Davis. Since those days, Alun has been content to work somewhat in the background with Cat Stevens. Anyone who has seen a Cat Stevens’ concert will recall the statue-like position of the blonde boy on Cat’s right: "When I work," says Alun, "my breathing becomes so shallow, it almost stops altogether. If you’ve ever seen photos of me onstage, they’re all identical. I never move."

In three weeks front now, though, Alun embarks on the world tour with Cat and he will undoubtedly display a little more life. He’s doing his own spot, up front, mid-way through the show singing songs from his album.

"I’ll probably be unbearable," he laughs.

The tour takes Alun through to next February, which puts paid to the rumours currently circulating to the effect that Alun is planning to form his own band to include, among others, Nicky Hopkins, who was ini Sweet Thursday with Alun four years ago. It has also been suggested that Alun "may" appear with Cat Stevens on his November English dates. No one is more puzzled by the stories than Alun, himself: ‘I don’t know how they start, but I’ll always be working With Steve. We can unite the two things. I love working with ‘him because he’s a total musician. He’s a musical original."

Once you get into "Daydo," you’ll discover another "musical original." Sure, you’ll hear traces of Cat Stevens if you want to (after all, they have worked as a team for so long, they must have had some effect on each other’s music), but "Daydo" tells such a beautiful, story that only the most narrow-minded will find it within them to criticize on that level.

"Comparisons are odious," it was once astutely observed. In Daydo’s opinion, they’re a "Waste of Time."

Tea with the Tilleraman - Disc July 1972 Cat Stevens interview.

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