After the 50th anniversary of Tea for the Tillerman and Mona Bone Jakon in 2020‘Cat Stevens’ (AKA Yusuf) multi-platinum release Teaser and the fire cat celebrates its own 50th anniversary in 2021 with its own box set. Although Stevens had already achieved phenomenal success, Teaser and the fire cat drove the singer / songwriter / guitarist to become a superstar.
In this extensive set of four CDs, a Blu-ray Disc, two LPs and a 7-inch 45, there are 41 previously unreleased audio tracks, a further 21 live performances and a complete CD and LP with studio demos and alternative mixes and video. There’s a luscious 44-page 12-inch soft-cover replica of the original Teaser and the fire cat Book also handwritten and illustrated by Stevens in 1972. There’s even a 108-page, 12-inch hardcover essay book, along with a host of other rarities.
Hopping around all of that reminds you of the seemingly amazing ease with which Stevens delivered with his beautiful voice and simply constructed songs. The 50th anniversary remaster of the original 10 song Teaser and the fire cat reveals songs like the gentle opener “The Wind”, “Rubylove” with its double use of bouzoukis and of course classics like “Morning Has Broken”, “Moonshadow” and “Peace Train”.
On the Demos, alternative versions, bonuses sense On the CD we get a deeper look into the construction of these songs and hear how Rick Wakeman creates a slightly different version of his iconic “Morning Has Broken” piano noodles. Stevens live from the BBC radio live sessions, TV appearances and a stop at Old Gray Whistle Test, plus a concert from Montreux in May 1971, actually reminds of the unique talents for which this man courted.
A remastered 7 “single from” Moonshadow “from a 1977s Teaser and the fire cat Another gem from this collection is an animated video with a voice-over from Spike Milligan. There is also a re-recorded version of Teaser and the fire cat, with that now–Yusuf’s full octave lower than the original. Here these iconic songs of inner peace and humanity gain even more relevance and resonance.
This super deluxe version for the 50th anniversary of Teaser and the fire cat is a dream for every completist. As we’ve all seen on so many of these vintage rock albums that have reached their half-century milestones, the abundance of material that is unearthed is nothing short of a treasure trove for fans looking to get it explore applies. This is worth your time.
~ Ralph Greco, Jr.