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Mona Bone Jakon (Remastered)

Mona Bone Jakon (Remastered)

31 May 1970
4.7 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 31 May 1970
  • Release Date: 29 May 2000
  • Label: Universal-Island Records Ltd.
  • Copyright: ℗ 1970 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited © 2000 Universal Island Records Ltd. A Universal Music Company.
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 35:09
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001KS1A4G
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,468 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)
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Customer Reviews

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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A fine re-mastering that will make your hi-fi shine.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Great Music
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By D. J. H. Thorn VINE VOICE on 18 Feb. 2008
Format: Audio CD
After two albums of colourful pop and a serious illness, Cat Stevens returned in a much-changed guise. Gone was the fashionable, fresh-faced man about town, and in was the t-shirted, chisel-featured, hirsute troubadour. How much influence his illness had on this music I don't know because the lyrics tend to be vague. The concept of time, however, recurs frequently on this album, especially the shortage of it. In some ways, this is a more interesting album than its more illustrious successors, as it has more twists and turns. 'Lady D'Arbanville' is a macabre tale in folk ballad mode, featuring a beguiling melody. 'Maybe You're Right' is rooted in the present, a resigned reflection on failed love. 'I Think I See The Light' is a brisk, piano-dominated slice of realisation and optimism, a track that sounds like a product of late 1960s revolution. 'Katmandu' follows other musicians into Eastern mysticism, though it's done without sitar or tabla. Instead ghostly traces of flute, courtesy of a young Peter Gabriel weave a beautiful melody with Stevens's guitar. 'Lillywhite' has an obscure lyric, two minutes of song and almost as much again of string-driven whimsy. All of the songs are wonderful, with the exception of 'Pop Star.' Stevens certainly gets his message across on this one, not with the plain lyric, nor with the slightly shambolic, standard blues picking, but with the wry, laconic vocal delivery. For me, this isn't enough. It's simply a poor song with an attitude, though it sounds like a deliberate act of sabotage. The brief title track has a similar element of darkness. 'Mona Bone Jakon' the album is, however, Stevens's biggest musical leap and well worth hearing.
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Format: Audio CD
After collapsing in the fall of 1968 with a collapsed lung and tuberculosis, Cat Stevens was gone for over a year to recover. His first album had brought him fame and success, while his second album resulted in a much more subdued reaction. Thus it was this third album, and his reintroduction to the music world, which played a key role in his career. After the bloated arrangements of "New Masters", Stevens returned to a stripped down sound, and also transitioned from pop to folk at the same time. "Mona Bone Jakon" was released in July of 1970, a very strong album, and though it did not have much success on the charts, it did lead to "Tea for the Tillerman" later in 1970 which was a great success.

"Lady D'Arbanville" opens the album, with a love song to a dearly departed lady, though in the case of his former girlfriend the death was a metaphor for the state of their relationship. "Maybe You're Right" is next, a song about a relationship that is ending. "Pop Star" is next, an autobiographical piece about his brief career prior to his collapse. "I Think I See The Light" is about how love opens up a new world. "Trouble" closes out the first half of the album, and is a song about his time during convalescence.

The title track, "Mona Bone Jakon" starts the second half of the album. The track is named for Cat's private parts. "I Wish, I Wish" is probably the most Pop sounding song on the album. "Katmandu" is notable because Peter Gabriel plays flute on it. "Time" is next, the shortest piece on the album, even shorter than the title track, and a nice lead in to "Fill My Eyes", my personal favorite on the album. "Lilywhite" closes the album, and like almost all the songs on the second half of the album, it reflects a change in Cat's style, becoming more reflective.
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Format: Audio CD
The problem with being an old fart who was around when this album was first released is that I find the previous reviewer's comments about it being "depressing" hard to take. I remember my sister singing along to "I Love My Dog" etc, but I also remember watching the Simon Dee show when Cat was introduced as having not been around for awhile. Not only had he reinvented himself, but he almost single-handedly kick-started the British singer/songwriter movement. Cat had been in hospital after contracting Pneumonia/TB and had had his (first) near-death experience.
The music born out of this was astonishing to my 14 year-old ears. Here was an attractive male role model who took acoustic music to another realm. The ladies loved him and many lads probably thought they did too. Lyrically this is a very strong set and melodically it is too. The simple acoustic setting kept us listening to what was being said and he had obviously spent a hell of a lot of time thinking in hospital. I teach classes of kids of my age when I first heard this album and am constantly upset by how little kids want to say - or are able to - but Cat Stevens opened us up to some very deep feelings and gave us the tools to express ourselves.
No, I'm sorry this is NOT depressing, this is the sound of a man who thought he was going to die and then decided to not play the pop star game anymore - and became phenomenally even more successful by doing it. This works as an album of cathartic songs for me. The well known songs like "Lady D'Arbanville" are great to hear again, but my own favourite "Maybe You're Right" is the ultimate end-of-the-affair song.
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