Album Notes - Cat Stevens - Teaser and the Firecat turns 50

Album Notes - Cat Stevens - Teaser and the Firecat turns 50

September 30, 2021

Alright folks, it's anniversary time again. This one might seem slightly out of left field, although not as far out there as what's coming soon. But hold that thought for another week...

While this album will be getting the full 50th anniversary super deluxe special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions treatment featuring a smattering of demos, alternate takes, live versions, etc., on, curiously, November 12, it was in fact October 1, 1971, when Cat Stevens gave the world Teaser and the Firecat, solidifying his genteel place in the industry, and building upon the success of the more-fondly remembered today Tea for the Tillerman, released just 10 months prior. 

Depending on your familiarity with Cat Stevens, aka Yusuf Islam, aka Yusuf, aka Yusuf / Cat Stevens, you'll likely recognize multiple songs. "Peace Train" is the enduring tune, but "Morning Has Broken," "Bitterblue," and "Moonshadow" may well spark memories for listeners in melody if not in name. 

There are no frills on Teaser and the Firecat and no grand desire from the songwriter to make art for any other reason than channeling that which he knows, a necessary release valve. Pureness is the pervading quality. There is also no filler, just top-notch songwriting across this 33-minute masterpiece. And although Teaser's predecessor is widely regarded as the Englishman's peak, to me this 10-song effort represents the pinnacle of a fantastic career and comfortably resides in the upper echelon of the folk rock genre.