Friday, 30 November 2018

Cat Stevens - Buddah & The Chocolate Box (1974)


Released March 1974

After the experimental five track only album in “Foreigner” that perplexed critics and fans alike, Cat Stevens returned with an album that was far closer to his previous ones. It proved to be one of his most successful and fondly-remembered offerings.

This is slightly less of a folky album than its predecessors,  though, carrying more of a rock thump to it in places. The old Stevens subtlety and unassuming beauty is omnipresent, however.


1. Music
2. Oh Very Young
3. Sun/C79
4. Ghost Town
5. Jesus
6. Ready
7. King Of Trees
8. A Bad Penny
9. Home In The Sky                                    

The opener, “Music” is a vibrant, drum, guitar and piano driven number. Very “rock”. Even “Oh Very Young”, the melodic hit single, has a catchy, mellow rockiness to it when it kicks in. The tune is just so typical Cat, though. So mellifluous. The piano is sumptuous. The song is simply beautiful. “Sun/C79” has an intoxicating rhythm and pulsating attack from Stevens vocally and with his firmly strummed trusty acoustic guitar. “Ghost Town” is almost bluesy in places, with a harmonica backing and resounding drum sound.

“Jesus” is a short rumination upon the character of Christ and Buddha that unfortunately ends before it has truly got going. Many of the songs on the album were full of religious imagery, however.

“Ready” is another short but catchy number. “King Of Trees” is longer - a lovely piano-led melody, full of cadence and harmonious backing vocals, a full minute or so before Stevens arrives. It seems allegorial about the environment. These songs are so sincere, so intense, so serious, but so appealing too.

That familiar medieval-style keyboard is used on “A Bad Penny” to great effect, as it always is. Cat’s vocal is excellent on this one, as is the backing. “Home In The Sky” starts with sme a capella vocals before a churchy piano and organ lead us into an infectious slow and beautiful closer. “Beautiful” is a word I have used a lot. “Music is a lady that I still love” sings Cat. Yes, and she is beautiful.


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