For Sunday: Cat Stevens sings “Peace Train” (1976)


Cat Stevens has always been one of my favorite singer/composers. His first five albums were bliss. He became a little more hit-and-miss after that, but I still find something to listen to on every album.

Cat, born of Greek parentage in England, has been on a long journey: he was a Buddhist for a long time, then Baha’i, and now Muslim. He even changed his name to Yusuf Islam (though Cat Stevens wasn’t his real name either; he was born Steven Demetre Georgiou).

He has always been unapologetic about voicing his beliefs. He got into trouble some years ago for mixing himself up with the whole Salman Rushdie / fatwa thing.

But there has always been a freshness and purity in his music. And he is often strangely profound, and he is also often powerfully spiritual.

This song (in live performance in 1976) is all of the above: fresh, pure, profound, and spiritual. And I still find it powerfully moving.

Ev’rybody jump upon the peace train.

For Sunday: Cat Stevens sings “Katmandu”



I have loved this song since the mid-1970s. It is mystical and funny and strange, and has a lovely ethereal feel.  And I love the flute solo, and the time-signature shifts.



“Katmandu / I’ll soon be seein’ you / And your strange bewildering time / Will hold me down . . .”






08_Katmandu.mp3 Listen on Posterous




Sunday blog: “I Love My Dog” by Cat Stevens

My friend Ardy, bless her heart, lent me Cat Stevens’s “Tea for the Tillerman” when we were both in high school. I listened to it probably fifty times before giving it back to her. I was hooked.



I bought “Tillerman” and “Teaser and the Firecat” right away, and “Catch Bull at Four” when it came out. Then I went back and got “Mona Bone Jakon,” which came out before “Tillerman.”



Stevens has reinvented himself several times. He was Orthodox, then Buddhist, then Baha’i, and now he’s a Muslim. (He’s Yusuf Islam nowadays.)


He is one of my favorite modern musicians.


Let’s hear “I Love My Dog” one more time.






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