Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Let The Cat Out Of The Bag ...

Cat Stevens is the former frontman of legendary Death Metal band Cannibal Corpse. Formed in 1989, Cannibal Corpse excelled at brutal grind metal and are considered one of the best selling Death Metal acts .... (cough,cough) ... OK seriously now, Cat Stevens is a Folk musician from the 60's and 70's. The album I will be reviewing today is his 2nd 1970's release "Tea For The Tillerman". This is the album that garnered Cat Stevens international fame and features 4 songs that were used in the 1971 movie Harold and Maude. More recently the title track was used by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant for the end credits of their TV series "Extras".

"Tea For The Tillerman" introduces a more pop sound to Cat's already established folk style. The feeling I get while listening to it is a fun camp fire sing a long with a 60's protest songs edge. This is evidenced in the album opener "Where Do The Children Play". This is pop catchy with a sing a long feel, but lyrically has a "friendly backhanded compliment" to them. A wonderful start to a fine folk/pop album.

"Hard-Headed Woman", "But I Might Die Tonight" and "Wild World" are hooky upbeat songs. "Hard-headed Woman" features nice use of strings, "But I Might Die Tonight" has a funky (almost reggae) feel and "Wild World" is poppy and polished which is why it was most influential in Steven's international exposure.

"Sad Lisa" and "Into White" are piano based with a haunting darker side to them and "Into White" has some beautiful violin work. "On The Road To Find Out" is an energetic, playful song which has a child like innocence to it. The title track sounds like a happy after thought that closes the album.

The stand out tracks are "Miles From Nowhere" and "Father And Son" (though realistically every track is great). "Miles From Nowhere" starts off slow and ballad like with great vocals by Cat. It then gets injected with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. A peaceful track of someone enjoying being away from it all. My favourite song is "Father And Son". This is the very first Cat Steven's song I ever heard ... Thanx brother.... and decided to here the album. "Father And Son" is a passionate, powerful song and Cat's vocals alternate from a deeper fatherly tone to a higher rockier youthful feel with each verse. The subject is timeless, about a father and son who envision (the sons) future in contrasting ways. Brilliantly heart wrenching song and a wonderful acoustic guitar solo.

I'm reluctant to get any other Cat Steven's work. I'm sure it's great, but how much would I listen to it. This album is highly recommended and fun light listening. My one complaint is that recording jumps from quiet to loud in extremes. Kind of like classical music so it is hard to put on in the background with company over or while at work.

So was that a huge shocking surprise of a review?!!???!?! Probably not, and now you all are probably disappointed. But my next review! It'll wow you! 3 words .... "Live And Legless" ....

2 Comments:

Blogger Chana said...

Whooo-hoooo!!! can you hear me all the way in the other end of the country..i know who this one is..whooo-hooo, i got one, lol...oh, thank you!!!!!

finally, i can join in with the real post..wow, so that is what it feels like...he, he..

btw, i love his music...

sweet dreams to you...

9:07 PM  
Blogger Chana said...

"...that's very kind." = i don't come back because of kindness. it's a total selfish act. i love visiting your blog. the topics are such that are intriguing, specially to me. the author is sweet and as nice as his brother. and there is something always for me to learn. you introduced me to a totally different music and your reviews are extremely well done. you write very well and i'm delighted to get to read the 2 different but wonderful sides. one funny, witty and smart in useless and here, vivid, deeply personal and emotional..

it is i who feels totally useless leaving comments. i'm afraid i will scare your other, knowledgeable, readers away. you can pick my comments out with kleenexs (mushy) :P ...

12:32 PM  

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