Friday, April 17, 2009

In praise of a Cat

But it's not a fluffy kitten story. [Well it is really - Ed].

Cat Stevens. I mention him for no other reason than the fact that I have been listening to Oh Very Young and Peace Train regularly on my iPod recently (and before you start guffawing and saying 'he must be nearly fifty' I would say that I am nearly fifty and I also have on my iPod: Amy Winehouse, Biffy Clyro, Belle and Sebastian, Bodyrox, Eple, Dizzee Rascal....oh...I'm proving that I've got a chip on my shoulder about my age aren't I? - alright then - I've got Barry White and Abba on there as well [shut up - Ed]) and I have come to the conclusion that Cat Stevens, when he was Cat Stevens, achieved the most remarkable amount of musical accomplishments in a short space of time. A few samples are below. The first clip is a 1976 live performance of Oh Very Young and I have to say it is an absolutely knockout performance. It is described as a "beautiful" rendition and that about sums it up. What a singer!

From the same tour this is Peace Train. Crikey - what a performance. The band is brilliant and Stevens seems to enter a sort of inspired trance when he sings. Mindblowing!

And, lest we forget, here is Yusuf Islam (for it is he) doing the same song. It's less energetic than Cat, but no less passionate and enthralling:

I could go on, but I will finish with this version of Morning has broken which, vitally, has the genius of Rick Wakeman tinkling the ivories. Without our Rick, this tune is nothing! Nothing I tell you!

Oh Blimey! I nearly forgot. Tea for the Tillerman - used by dear old Readingonianonian Ricky Gervaisy as the end buffer for his Extras series:

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