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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Undoubtedly one of the Cat�s classic albums
It is unfortunate that many reviewers of 'Catch bull at four' have tended to regard it as a poorer quality album than its two predecessors 'Tea for the tillerman' and 'Teaser and the Firecat'. I feel that this does the album a great injustice; no artist should be expected to remain unchanging in style, and if he had simply stayed with a winning formula after the success...
Published on 7 Nov 2003

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor move on behalf of Cat Stevens
Why ruine what was a great original record. I was just glad he made compolation DVD of his original work.
Published 5 months ago by Mr. G. E. G. Jones


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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Undoubtedly one of the Cat�s classic albums, 7 Nov 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Catch Bull at Four (Audio CD)
It is unfortunate that many reviewers of 'Catch bull at four' have tended to regard it as a poorer quality album than its two predecessors 'Tea for the tillerman' and 'Teaser and the Firecat'. I feel that this does the album a great injustice; no artist should be expected to remain unchanging in style, and if he had simply stayed with a winning formula after the success of 'Teaser' Cat Stevens could have rightly criticized. However, Stevens demonstrated integrity and vision throughout the early years of the 1970s, with each of his first five Island Records albums showing a clear progression and artistic development, even if on occasions (perhaps most notably 'Foreigner') this was not always commercially successful.
After achieving a very focused and concise style on 'Teaser', Cat Stevens understandably wanted to experiment with more unusual song structures and ambitious arrangements, and the result is a somewhat more stylistically diverse album than its predecessors. As a result it is, if anything, a stronger, more musically satisfying album, and includes new elements such as electric guitar, synthesizer, female backing vocalists and the accomplished keyboard work of Jean Roussel. At the same time, the album retains much of what made Cat's earlier work appealing, and also includes the welcome re-appearance of the bouzouki to add its distinctive sound to 'O Caritas'.
The mood of the album is at times somber, reflecting Stevens' continuing spiritual pilgrimage at this time, and his deep feelings perhaps show through most in the opening track 'Sitting' and the bleak closing song 'Ruins'. Though there are a couple of weaker tracks (such as 'Boy...' which has a pleasant arrangements but a rather tedious, over-long lyric, and 'Angelsea' which is perhaps too dominated by synthesizer sounds), these can be appreciated as valid musical experiments, and are more than compensated for by other very appealing up-tempo tracks (such as 'Sitting', 'Can't keep it in' and 'O Caritas'). The album contains several lovely ballads, such as 'Sweet scarlet' and the madrigal-like 'Silent sunlight', whilst the more complex song structure of '18th avenue', with its orchestral interlude and changing rhythms, hints at the direction Cat would take with his next album 'Foreigner'. The whole package is enhanced by the crystal clear remastering, and restoration of the stylish original album artwork. Altogether, 'Catch bull at four' can be regarded as a very satisfying album which, along with 'Tillerman' and 'Teaser' ranks among Cat Stevens' best work.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Cat Stevens' finest albums, 13 Jan 2002
By 
John Peter O'connor - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Catch Bull at Four (Audio CD)
Originally released in 1972, this was Cat Stevens' sixth album and it was his most commercially successful. It's a very good CD and it certainly deserved its success. That success came in part from the merits of this album but also because it followed on from Tea For the Tiller Man and Teaser and the Firecat which had both been very well received.
Fans can argue long and hard over the merits of the three albums but the truth is that, whichever is the best, they are all very fine indeed and together they represent the peak of the artist's output. Catch Bull at Four has a harder edge than the other two. It is most noticable in the vocals and lyrics but the music too is a little heavier.
The best known song on the album is "Can't Keep It In" but that is mostly because it is the easiest one to play on the radio as it is catchy and sticks in the mind. For me, the highlight of the CD is "The Boy With The Moon And Star On His Head" a lyrical and romantic fantasy that is as good as anything else that Cat Stevens has ever recorded. It deserves a place alongside the finest English folk ballads from the days of "Greensleeves" and John Dowland.
Highlighting any of the songs on this CD means not mentioning others and that is sure to do an injustice to many songs. Everything here is memorable and distinctive and the only answer is to buy the CD, concentrate on the songs and appreciate one of the true highlights of seventies music.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cat Grows Up In Style, 20 Dec 2006
By 
This review is from: Catch Bull at Four (Audio CD)
This was the first Cat Stevens album I acquired, and it remains my favourite. Having grown up hearing him on the radio in the late 60s and into the 70s, I was sufficiently accustomed to his songs not to feel the need to explore his music further. Until a friend played me side 2 of this album.

What I heard was quite different from the gentle troubadour of 'Peace Train', 'Oh Very Young' and his other well known songs. This was much darker, edgier and introspective, tinged with a sadness not found in his other material.

The likes of 18th Ave and Freezing Steel speak of alienation and bewilderment, expressed with confusion and a degree of wry humour; Sweet Scarlet was heart rending from the moment I heard it and remains so to this day; and O'Caritas and Ruins conjure visions of fire and death, melancholy and regret, none of which I had associated with Cat before.

By contrast, the 1st side is somewhat lighter, but no less satisfyngly different from his previous work. Sitting speaks of his fear of being left behind but confronts it with the boldness and courage to overcome the challenge. Gentler ballads remain in the forms of Boy... and Silent Sunlight, but Angelsea is a bright and restless song of celebration, with bursts of hitherto unheard synths and backing vocals (from the likes of Linda Lewis!). Likewise the sparkling Can't Keep It In, with its electric guitar and organ is a stronger and more forthright expression than most of his earlier work, and amidst the more sombre tone of the majority of the album, seems to stand as a powerful statement of his intent to move forward regardless.

For me, this is an album that shows a man growing beyond the style (and lifestyle?) which had nurtured his initial succes, in spite of criticism from others who wanted him to remain the perfect folk pop minstrel, preserved in 60s aspic. A beautiful and courageous record.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CD Review, 22 April 2009
By 
R. Burnett "Avid Player" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Catch Bull at Four (Audio CD)
Cat Stevens' Catch Bull at Four is possibly the best Album he made way back in the 70s. Having recently bought this CD {i gave my original record away years ago and regretted it ever since)I cant stop playing it!
"Sitting" is crisp and raunchy, the lyrics are quite superb eg: "I keep on wondering if I sleep too long. Will I ever wake up the same or something..." Listen to the classic "Boy With A Moon And Star On His Head"
Yes it is a tad long but worth it for the punchline at the end!
Cat Stevens can be raunchy one moment, tender and gentle the next even in the same track, but always with very strong melodies and wonderful lyrics.
I highly recommend this Album.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Changes, 13 Feb 2008
By 
D. J. H. Thorn "davethorn13" (Hull, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Catch Bull at Four (Audio CD)
From the sparse, intimate feel of his three previous albums, Cat Stevens opted to move toward a more conventional band-based style. 'Catch Bull At Four' marks the transition and has elements of the old as well as the new. 'The Boy With A Moon And Star On His Head' is the most obvious example of the former, featuring Stevens alone on guitar while telling a tale with a mystical and erotic edge. Lyrically, he is as sharp here as ever. The exotic O' Caritas also harks back and is one of the highlights, featuring a strong vocal chorus and some vital bouzouki and Spanish guitar.

The new is well represented by the catchy, fatalistic 'Sitting' and the hit, 'Can't Keep It In.' Noticeable across the album, as on these tracks is Stevens's move from guitar to keyboards to provide musical colour. Crafted throughout with care and a fine degree of precision, it is nevertheless occasionally weak. The gritty 'Freezing Steel' is unmemorable and 'Ruins' starts well, but sounds ham-fisted in places. Even so, 'Catch Bull At Four' is one of his better albums and well worth buying.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cat Stevens at his best, 8 Oct 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Catch Bull at Four (Audio CD)
I bought this cd for one song, SITTING. I have always loved this song and finally after 25 years of wanting to own it, I finally bought it !!!!
What I discovered was not only was SITTING still great, but the entire CD made me flip with XTC. Cat Stevens is a pop culture icon and this cd shows him at his ultimate best.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Underated gem, 24 Jan 2011
By 
This review is from: Catch Bull at Four (Audio CD)
This was 4th 70s album, and his most commercially successful. Its probably true that the quality gradually went downhill after Teaser and the firecat. However, when we think about it, it's difficult for anything to look good next to Teaser and the Firecat! Catch Bull at Four is quite different to its predecessors. The first track Sitting, sows a sense of doubt, forshadowing the exploration of pain and despair in the second half of the album, concluding with the desolate ruins. It's certainly not as easy to listen to as tea for the tillerman or teaser and the firecat, but it is still an incredibly exciting and rewarding album to listen to. Cat Stevens singing is as usual incredibly emotive. You can hear Stevens doubt and worry about his life come pouring out in the songwriting. Catch Bull at four features a slight change in style, with complex arrangements such as freezing steel and especially 18th avenue, giving rumours of what was to come in his next album Foreigner.

There is lots to recommend this album, including Sitting, and the infectious cant keep it in. The beautiful ballads silent sunlight and sweet scarlet, are of course wonderful. Plus theres O Caritas, which features Cat singing in Latin and Alun Davies wonderful Spanish guitar playing giving the song a Spanish feel. In all a wonderful collection of songs. It may not be as immediately appealing as some of his other works, but once you get into it, its fantastic!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CAT DELIVERS AGAIN, 12 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Catch Bull at Four (Audio CD)
This album was always going to be compared to its two classic predecessors 'Tea for the Tillerman' and 'Teaser and the Firecat' and although not reaching the same dizzy heights is still a class act.Extremely original songs combined with some marvellous instrumentation makes it highly enjoyable.Ending with the hugely intense 'The Ruins' this is a very good buy for any Cat Stevens fan.I would rate this his third best album after the two classics mentioned above.Buy and enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Catch Bull at Four, 14 Nov 2010
By 
Val Gaize (Studley, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Catch Bull at Four (Audio CD)
I know Cat Stevens'/Yusuf's music of old, and have always loved it; but I had it only on cassette, and that, recorded from vinyl more years ago than I care to remember.

The used CD I bought was of excellent quality - hardly used at all, I would think - and restored to me all the music I know and love so well. I was tickled to note that on the sleeve, O'Caritas was printed as if it were an Irish surname! The track itself is wonderful, as is 'Silent Sunlight'; but that's not to discount the others.

On the strength of my satisfaction with Catch Bull at Four, I've also ordered Tea for the Tillerman.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just as good, 24 Oct 2007
This review is from: Catch Bull at Four (Audio CD)
I bought this album when it was first released but at that time didn't think it was quite as brilliant as Tea for the Tillerman and Teazer and the Firecat.
Listening to it now some 30 or so years later,I realise that I was wrong. It is every bit as good as his earlier work..
I keep wondering whether there is any other singer / songwriter around at the moment who is quite as good as Cat Stevens / Yusuf Islam. And I don't think there is.
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