- Mojo Magazine Album Review
- PUSSY GALORE
- Troubadours rarely came more sumptuous
- By Patrick Humphries
- Courtesy of George Brown
Cat Stevens in
Comprehensive best of,
drawing from over a decade of material from Deram and Island.
Complete with all the hits,
and bolstered by key album tracks, rare soundtrack stuff and thorough sleevenotes, the
Ultimate Collection is a vast improvement on the 1990s The Very Best Of. It comes
not a moment too soon. Since Stevens was an immensely important force commercially, the
songs he wrote while at Island in the early 70s dwarfed those of his
labelmates, Nick Drake, Richard Thompson and John Martyn. He was in a league of his own,
his songs deeply felt ballads__ Moonshadow, Morning has Broken, Lady DArbanville,
Peace Train and Father and Son striking a profound chord with a huge audience.
1970s Mona Bone Jakon
gave Stevens credibility as a songwriter yet his earlier incarnation as a pop star pin up
had already provided a handful of instant orchestrated late 60s
classics.____The First Cut Is The Deepest, Wild World, I Love My Dog, Matthew and Son, and
Here Comes My Baby are all included here, though the stellar Im Gonna Get Me A Gun
is conspicuously absent ( Stevens later disowned its theme, youll find it on
Derams, First Cut. ) Stevens songs were melodic, his image serious and caring and with
statements like "Im just a mirror and you see yourself in me, " he ensured
his reputation as the bedsit bard.
His success lasted
throughout the 1970s. If James Taylor and Carol King were the monarchs among singer
songwriters, Stevens was the young pretender but UK sales began to dwindle.
Then after a near death experience while on tour in America he was lost to the world, and
in 1977 the sorretire controversy figure Yusuf Islam was unveiled.
In interview with John
Tobler, the artist formally known as Cat Stevens reveals that Mona Bone Jakon was
originally called The Dustbin Cried The Day The Dust man Died______ which may explain the
enigmatic painting of a dustbin on the albums dreadful cover. Fans should console
themselves with some of the more intriguing selections here: an excerpt from The Foreigner
Suite, Dont Be Shy and If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out, __composed the cult 1971
film Harold and Maude.