Learn more Download now Shop now Browse your favorite restaurants Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more

on 24 January 2011
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!
22 Comments| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 7 November 2003
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.
0Comment| 31 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 13 June 2015
22 Comments|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 12 April 2001
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.
0Comment| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 22 January 2001
You've go the record? Ok this isn't as good as the original, but it manages to capture the essence of Cat Stevens, as so many of his old records manged to do. 'I can't keep it in' is a real masterpiece. Buy this if you don't have the orginal record. It is great music.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 20 December 2006
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.
11 Comment| 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 16 April 2014
Why ruine what was a great original record. I was just glad he made compolation DVD of his original work.
11 Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 1 November 2014
Bit of a slow burner (42 years and counting) - must admit that when this was released, I didn't rate it as his two preceding albums (Tea.. and Teaser...). Buying the CD and listening to it afresh (and it definitely comes up fresh as paint), the variety and (compared to his earlier works) increasing instrumental and lyrical complexity holds the attention. Probably closest to his popular style, "Silent Sunlight" is a highlight, whilst "Ruins" finds Cat eloquently dissatisfied, and prefigures his eventual disillusionment and retreat into a spiritual life. Great album
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 14 March 2018
One of my favourite albums from the past, great quality.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 5 February 2018
Still a brilliant album
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)