I've Got a Thing About Seeing My Grandson Grow Old (previously unreleased)
Where Do the Children Play?
Hard Headed Woman
Father and Son
Morning Has Broken
Can't Keep It In
Foreigner Suite (excpert)
Oh Very young
Another Saturday Night
Majik of Majiks
(Remember the Days of the) Old Schoolyard
Just Another Night
Kicking off A&M's ambitious Cat Stevens reissue program is this 20-song introduction. The set surveys all of Stevens's stages, from the orchestrated late-1960s sides through his early-'70s peak to his more eclectic late-19... more »70s experiments. Following the progression makes for an interesting endeavor as Stevens learns to harness his ambitious ideas with arrangements that don't obscure his rhapsodic messages. Few artists of his generation were more gifted when it came to plucking timeless melodies out of thin air, and his sumptuous voice was always able to movingly convey his bittersweet lyrics. As a career overview (including one previously unreleased cut) this set achieves its goal, hitting all of the chart successes along the way and basically defining his role as a sensitive '70s singer-songwriter, but some fans may opt for the classic early-'70s studio records, which find Stevens at his most consistently touching. --Marc Greilsamer« less
Kicking off A&M's ambitious Cat Stevens reissue program is this 20-song introduction. The set surveys all of Stevens's stages, from the orchestrated late-1960s sides through his early-'70s peak to his more eclectic late-1970s experiments. Following the progression makes for an interesting endeavor as Stevens learns to harness his ambitious ideas with arrangements that don't obscure his rhapsodic messages. Few artists of his generation were more gifted when it came to plucking timeless melodies out of thin air, and his sumptuous voice was always able to movingly convey his bittersweet lyrics. As a career overview (including one previously unreleased cut) this set achieves its goal, hitting all of the chart successes along the way and basically defining his role as a sensitive '70s singer-songwriter, but some fans may opt for the classic early-'70s studio records, which find Stevens at his most consistently touching. --Marc Greilsamer
Toni B. (twintoni) from ORANGE PARK, FL Reviewed on 8/7/2006...
A great collection......all the good stuff. Includes Wild World, Morning has Broken, Moonshadow, Peace Train, Oh Very Young and many more. 20 tracks.
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Better Than Average Compilation from an Extraordinary Artist
Christopher Lauer | Atlanta, Ga. | 03/29/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a very comprehensive review of songs from throughout Stevens' career. Unlike his two "Greatest Hits" albums, this compilation does contain some of his mid-60s British hits before proceeding to the great songs from the early 70s that made him a world-wide superstar. It is also a treasure to have a "new" track in the never before released "I've Got A Thing About Seeing My Grandson..." It is notably not on the same scale as the other songs, however. But this does not diminish its worth. As far as his most recognized work, it's very well covered. Many folk oriented singer-songwriters from the 60s and 70s can sound dated, but songs like "Moonshadow" and "Peace Train" still sound crisp and relevant. This is mostly due to the strength and beauty of Cat's voice and the emotion he is able to convey. Finally, this compilation is smart enough to include at least one track from each of his lesser known but more spiritual albums of the mid to late seventies. This adds a completeness and also gives the listener a biographical sense of just where Cat Stevens was as a person when he chose to stop being "Cat Stevens". I definitely recommend this as a first step to rediscovering an artist who still ranks at the top of singer-songwriters to emerge in the last half of the last century."
A Great Collection!
Archie Mercer | Yorba Linda, CA | 09/04/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Cat Stevens came out of the U.K. in the early 70's with the very rare talent of writing great and meaningful lyrics with beautiful music. This collection starts off with some of his early work that earned him fans in Britain and includes "The First Cut is the Deepest" an eventual smash hit bt Rod Stewart. It's interesting to follow the evolution of his art as he gains international star status. His U.S. debut album, Tea for the Tillerman, begins to show his ability to put his heart into his lyrics. Songs such as "Where do the Children Play" (questioning what price we pay for progress) and Father and Son (a song about the different paths fathers and sons travel) demonstrate a deep passion for life. As his music progresses through his other albums he continues to explore the world and relationships while searching for his own path. "Morning has Broken" is a hymm he found in a religous section of a bookstore that he arrainged and recorded. Moonshadow is nice and catchy, if not a little morbid. Also his last album really demostrates his final conversion and the sense of awareness and acceptance he found within. If you only buy 1 Cat Stevens CD, this is it!"
This One's a Winner
Steve Vrana | Aurora, NE | 04/26/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"By default this is the best single-disc anthology available from the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens. This release virtually duplicates the mid-Seventies Greatest Hits package--all but "Two Fine People" and "Ready"--and expands the original twelve tracks to twenty. Also, with A&M deleting many of the titles in its Classics series (including Cat Stevens' Classics Vol. 24), this new anthology is the pick of the litter.The remastering is excellent and the song selection is solid. All of his biggest Seventies hits are here: "Wild World," "Peace Train," "Morning Has Broken," "Oh Very Young" and the Sam Cooke cover "Another Saturday Night." [However, you don't get ALL of his Top 40 hits. In addition to the two aforementioned hits dropped from the original Greatest Hits package, this also leaves off "The Hurt" (No. 31) from 1973. Other songs missing in action are his minor hits from the late Seventies--"Banapple Gas," "Bad Breaks" and "Was Dog a Doughnut."]Also worth noting is Cat Stevens first charted in his native England four years before his intitial success in the U.S. with "Wild World" in 1971. In fact, Stevens charted in the U.K. six times between 1966 and 1970. Only "Matthew & Son," "The First Cut Is the Deepest" (a hit for Rod Stewart in 1977)and "Lady D'Arbanville" are from this period.During the singer-songwriter era of the Seventies, Stevens held his own with the likes of James Taylor, Jim Croce, Carole King and Harry Nilsson, and created a substantial body of work. His introspective lyrics, catchy melodies and maple syrup voice were a winning combination. The twenty songs on this disc represent all facets of his career and if you're going to limit your purchases to one Cat Stevens CD, this is the one two own. RECOMMENDED"
The 5th Time's The Charm
Christopher Lauer | 11/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is impossible to compile a single-disc greatest-hits compilation for Cat Stevens that will come close to satisfying all of his admirers. The Very Best of Cat Stevens is the fifth major attempt to do so and, like its predecessors, it is challenged by its subject's success. Stevens was practically a permanent resident of the British and American pop charts from his debut as a teen star in 1966 until the late '70s when his conversion to Islam prompted him to abandon his music career. Add to the hit singles the many enormously popular album tracks and it becomes extremely difficult to identify the "very best" 20 songs. The first Greatest Hits was released in 1975, too early to include material from the last three albums. It also ignored the early pop albums, excluding catchy hits like "Matthew & Son" and "Lady D'Arbanville." The second volume was dominated by weaker album tracks from the late albums. The Stevens edition of the A&M Classics series suffered from some peculiar song choices ("New York Times"?) and it, too, ignored the early albums. Remember Cat Stevens - The Ultimate Collection is the longest of the five (24 tracks) and may be the most comprehensive. But The Very Best of Cat Stevens, released just a year later, has several advantages that make it more appealing. To begin with, it is the only compilation to sequence chronologically songs from every one of Stevens' albums, including the experimental Foreigner. It also contains the delightful folk creed "The Wind," which was a glaring omission from the so-called Ultimate Collection. Most significantly, it contains the previously unreleased "I've Got a Thing About Seeing My Grandson Grow Old." Stevens recorded a demo of the song during the Mona Bone Jakon sessions in 1970, but it never saw the light of day until it was remixed for this collection. Perhaps this was because it was considered too eccentric for public consumption, straddling the line between the hook-rich pop of Stevens' '60s records and the groundbreaking folk-rock of his '70s efforts. If so, the public was vastly underestimated. The song is a buried treasure that fits in perfectly in the company of Stevens' best work."
Return of the Cat
V. K. Hill | Lubbock, Texas USA | 07/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you've never given Cat Stevens a listen this is the place to begin. He may be categorized as a folk singer or a lite rock performer but he is also much more than that. I first heard Cat Stevens songs when I saw the movie Harold and Maude. His music was such an integral part of the film and stuck so resolutely in my head that I immediately went out and bought one of his albums, and proceeded to buy more as he released them. (All on vinyl, of course. This was the early Seventies). Cat Stevens songs can range from heartbreakingly sad to fierce and proud. The lyrics, the melodies, the unusual and passionate voice all come together to create a unique artist. I'm not one for nostalgia, but amongst the oldies that I still play (Beatles, Eric Clapton, Simon and Garfunkel) Cat Stevens is still on my stereo."