Cat Stevens – Teaser and the Firecat (Island)

Cat Stevens celebrates 50 years of Teaser and the Firecat, his biggest selling record, released originally in October of 1971.

As is the case with these anniversary reissues, there are a number of options to choose from… and with this one you have 5 formats…2 Super Deluxe featuring 4 CDs and a Blu-Ray and vinyl. For reviewing purposes here we will stick to the standard vinyl version featuring a remaster done at Abbey Road and overseen by original producer Paul Samwell-Smith.

Cat StevensTeaser and the Firecat was the follow up to 1970’s Tea For The Tillerman, the album the broke Cat Steven big worldwide (he already had a track record in the UK). With the hit single Wild World and deep cuts like Father And Son, Sad Lisa and Miles From Nowhere, TFTT was omnipresent at the end of 1970. If you were a teenage boy listening to Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath and wanted to show your sensitive side to that girl in English class then Tea For The Tillerman was your ticket to paradise.  (At least that’s what I’ve heard)

So, Teaser’s success can be attributed somewhat to riding on the coattails of its predecessor. Not an unusual thing either then or now.

To be fair, Teaser has its own charms (and a clutch of hits) including Morning Has Broken, Moonshadow and Peace Train. Interestingly, all three songs are place on side two.

As with Tea For The Tillerman, all song are written by Cat Stevens, the album was produced by Paul Samwell-Smith and Alun Davies is featured on guitar with string arrangement by Del Newman (uncredited at the time was Rick Wakeman’s piano on Morning Has Broken).

Cat StevensOn its own Teaser and the Firecat is a lovely little record,  but in retrospect is doesn’t quite have the all-consuming charm of Tea For The Tillman or the musical adventurism of its follow up, Catch Bull At Four.

It may not be essential, but there are plenty of things to enjoy and discover within Teaser such as side one closer How Can I Tell You or the opener The Wind.

And if you want to go down the Teaser and the Firecat rabbit hole, seek out the Super Deluxe Edition of your choice. The world  of Cat Steven in the early 70s was one of gentle, melodic songs and thoughtful, uplifting lyrics. There are worse places to be.

Marty Duda


Click here to purchase Teaser and the Firecat