Submitted by Sandy Graham
Following last year’s 50th anniversaries of the era-defining albums ‘Tea for the Tillerman’ and ‘Mona Bone Jakon’, Yusuf / Cat Stevens is releasing a new extended version of the 1971 multi-platinum selling follow-up ‘Teaser and the Firecat’, due on November 12th 2021 via UMC / Island Records. You can listen to a previously unheard recording of his classic ‘Moonshadow’ below. Recorded at Olympic before the release of the two 1970 albums, this version provides a new insight into the origins of one of the most enduring songs of the 1970s.
Cat Stevens achieved phenomenal success with his early work, but it was ‘Teaser and the Firecat’, his third LP with Island Records, that propelled him into superstardom, spawning some of his most memorable hits. The 12 months of 1971 was a transitional year in pop culture in which the album joined John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’, David Bowie’s ‘Hunky Dory’, Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue’, Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On’, The Rolling Stones’ ‘Sticky Fingers’ and Led Zeppelin ‘IV’ as the soundtrack to the momentous 500,000 strong anti-Vietnam war March on Washington D.C., the largest demonstration against US war in history, and the “Fight of the Century” at Madison Square Garden, New York City which saw Joe Frazer hand Muhammad Ali his first ever defeat. With the ‘60s now in the rear-view mirror – The Beatles gone, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin having already passed on, and Jim Morrison tragically joining their number in July ’71 – there was a distinct mood of change in the air. Along with burgeoning heavy rock and the socially-conscious R&B of Funkadelic and Sly And The Family Stone, it was the era of the poetical singer-songwriter. As well as being part of this latter movement, Cat Stevens was himself inspired by it.
Half a century later, ‘Teaser and the Firecat’ has been given the ultimate treatment in a brand new Super Deluxe Edition set; the most in-depth and definite version of the album to date. Presented in a re-mastering of Yusuf’s original artwork, the release will include: 41 previously unreleased audio tracks and 21 live video performances on disc for the first time, amongst an entire CD and LP of studio demos and alternate mixes; a 44-page, 12” softcover replica of the original ‘Teaser and the Firecat’ book, handwritten and illustrated by Yusuf in 1972, and now featuring text in 10 languages; and a 108 page hard-cover 12” essay book, alongside a host of other rarities across 4CDs, Blu-Ray, 2 LPs and 7” vinyl. The set will be presented in a rigid clamshell box and is the latest in a series of boxsets that celebrate the albums in full depth with the direct involvement and direction of Yusuf and his son Yoriyos, who curates and designs each boxset.
Yusuf / Cat Stevens – 50th Anniversary ‘Teaser and the Firecat’ Box Set (Unboxing)
There will also be a slimmed-down version of the Super Deluxe Edition, including the 108-page book in a soft cover format, along with the 4CDs and Blu-ray, housed in a rigid slipcase. Other 50th Anniversary reissue formats include a 2CD Deluxe Edition, plus 1CD and 1LP Remasters.
The 50th anniversary remaster of the album was mixed by David Hefti on CD and LP, the Super Deluxe Edition also includes a CD of previously unreleased studio material and bonus tracks, an alternate version of the album on LP, as well as a third and fourth CD featuring 23 live performances from 1971. The 50th Anniversary remaster was completed at Abbey Road Studios, and was overseen by original album producer, Paul Samwell-Smith.
The set includes a remastered 7” single of “Moonshadow”, backed with a previously unreleased Spike Milligan narration of the track from the 1977 ‘Teaser and the Firecat’ animated video. The 50th anniversary edition also includes an exclusive vinyl LP, tracklisted with 5 live performances at Montreux in 1971 and six BBC Recordings, as well as a Blu-Ray disc featuring a restored version of the 1977 animated video for “Moonshadow”, a live performance of “The Wind” from 2020, plus 21 live TV performances.
The deluxe editions are available at the official store: https://store.catstevens.com/