Cat Stevens virtually disappeared from the British pop scene in 1968, at the age of 20, after a meteoric start to his career. He had contracted tuberculosis and spent a year recovering, from both his illness and the strain of being a teenage pop star, before returning to action in the spring of 1970 — as a very different 22-year-old — with Mona Bone Jakon.
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music
After the lacklustre Unfortunate Cup of Tea, the next album was going to be a watershed for Horslips. In the end, they returned broadly to the formula that had brought them so much acclaim for The Tain and produced a concept album based on Irish mythology and full of great songs based on Irish traditional tunes. And it works just as well as The Tain, having brought them enormous critical acclaim. If anything, they show their amazing musicianship off even more, with Charles O’Connor’s fiddle and mandolin swopping riffs with Johnny Fean’s scything lead guitar and Jim Lockhart’s flute,whistle, pipes and keyboards.
In retrospect, it is not hard to find hints of a coming change in the final album Cat Stevens made before a near-death experience and a religious conversion.
Things aren’t going well for Cat Stevens on the planet, ah, polyethylene. Critics keep asking: would you buy a used I Ching from this man? Since Tea for the Tillerman, affirmation has been doubtful. Never a deep thinker and rarely a master of words, Stevens has now turned to the “majik” of numerology, only to have the melodies disappear down the decimal point. In fact, “Call Me Zero” would have been a perfect title for Numbers, an album so breathtakingly stupid that even the most loyal fan could count its merits without using any of the fingers on either hand.
Essential: A masterpiece of progressive rock music
Back in 1970, whilst browsing in my favorite used record store, i came across this album. Despite the ghastly sleeve art (not the cover pictured above), i turned it over and noticed “Sympathy” included in the track listings, a song i had heard many times on the radio in the office but had never really taken much notice of, despite it being a huge hit single. The photo of the band clinched it – in those days any strange album i found depicting “four hippies in a field / park / wood” was worth investigating as part of my “scene”.
Who would have thought that this little hippie folk album would make such a big impact in Argentine music and lead to much better things? This album was written by a duo of youngsters, Nito Mestre and Charly Garcia, who grew rapidly into a top notch songwriter. Vida was a big hit in Argentina, carrying a group of easy and charming fireside tunes with a great sense of melody.
Atrium Musicae was an early music ensemble from Madrid, Spain, founded in 1964 by Gregorio Paniagua, a Spanish monk.
In 1979 “Vivencia” gave birth, always for the CBS label (Today Sony) the long duration “Azules De Otoño”, where they stand out songs like “Con Un Niño En Nuestros Cuerpos”, “Gira La Vida” or “Sonrisas Que Alimentar” .
Here are sets of Pictures to suit almost every personal art gallery. The newest issue (though not the most recently recorded—it has a 1979 analogue source) is the least memorable. The orchestral playing is excellent and certain portrayals are striking, the ”Ballet of Unhatched Chicks”, for instance and ”Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle”, while the closing sequence is strongly projected.
This is the real stuff, the very best of the group’s early albums and the best representation of the Chieftains’ original sound.