Not Forgotten: Cat Stevens – Teaser and the Firecat

Teaser And The Firecat is in many ways the twin of the superb Tea for the Tillerman, which has been one of my favourite albums since my early teens and one that meant so much to me over the years, that I didn’t want my illusions of Cat Stevens shattered by finding out that the follow up just wasn’t as good. As a result of this, I perhaps hesitated purchasing Teaser And The Firecat for far too long, something which in retrospect, was rather foolish.

Of course, my fears proved utterly unfounded, as Teaser And The Firecat is almost the equal of its illustrious predecessor. Songs like “Rubylove” and “Moonshadow” maintain the high quality of Tea for the Tillerman, though admittedly anyone who attended a primary school assembly in the UK anytime during the the 80s will be utterly sick to the back teeth of “Morning Has Broken” (page one in our blue Hymns for School books folks…). “The Wind” is a quite lovely song that has gained increased popularity since it was used to soundtrack a key scene in Almost Famous, so it’s one of the songs that the uninitiated may recognise on first playing this album.

For me Teaser And The Firecat just falls short of the quality of Tea for The Tillerman. The songs are of a similar quality and Stevens’ percussive acoustic guitar playing is still wonderful, but the ten tracks just don’t hold together as well. Maybe it’s because I grew up listening to Tea For The Tillerman and that was a key album in the development of my taste in music. Ultimately though Teaser And The Firecat is a fine follow up to Cat Stevens’ finest album and confirmation that, even by the heady standards of the early 70s, he was a rare talent.

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