I was going to feature Catch Bull at Four because it contains “Boy With the Moon and Star on His Head” but went with Teaser and The Firecat instead. I love that song but I’ve read that it’s one of the few songs that Cat Stevens recorded years ago that he’s actually embarrassed about.
Sometimes when I do some research for these pieces you learn little nuggets that you didn’t know about and they catch you totally by surprise. For instance, I learned when looking up Teaser and the Firecat that Rick Wakeman of Yes fame played keys on the top 40 hit “Morning Has Broken.” I did know that this wasn’t “Kittys” first art-rocker legend guest. A 19 or 20-year old Peter Gabriel added flute to a song on his album called Mona Bone Jakon just a year earlier. As mentioned “Morning Has Broken” was a top 40 hit. It actually reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. This was the highest peaking song here in the States. Other charting singles were “Peace Train” with a peak position of #7 and “Moonshadow (which was the first single) at #30. As an album, Teaser and the Firecat reached #2 on the Billboard Top 200 Album chart.
Those tracks were the only ones that charted, but there are many fine moments on this album. I couldn’t go without at least also mentioning the album opener “The Wind,” “If I Laugh” and “Tuesday’s Dead.” It’s an absolutely great collection of music in many ways.
But there is something that will always be special to me about this album. That something happened on the night of January 29th, 1973, 6pm Chicago time. At that time the cease fire in Vietnam went into effect. I can still remember that like it was yesterday. My first reaction was to pop on WXRT to see what they were playing since during that era I spent a huge part of my day listening to the station. They were playing “Peace Train.”
To this time, whenever I hear that song, I think about “That Day.”
All songs were written by Cat Stevens, except where noted.
- “The Wind” – 1:42
- “Rubylove” – 2:37
- “If I Laugh” – 3:20
- “Changes IV” – 3:32
- “How Can I Tell You” – 4:24
- “Tuesday’s Dead” – 3:36
- “Morning Has Broken” (Traditional, arr. Stevens; words Eleanor Farjeon) – 3:20
- “Bitterblue” – 3:12
- “Moonshadow” – 2:52
- “Peace Train” – 4:04
- Cat Stevens – guitar, keyboards, vocals
- Alun Davies – guitar
- Larry Steele – bass guitar, congas
- Gerry Conway – drums
- Harvey Burns – drums
- Rick Wakeman – piano on “Morning Has Broken” (uncredited)
- Andreas Toumazis – bouzouki
- Angelos Harzipavli – bouzouki
- Del Newman – string arrangements
You can hear the album below.