This year marks the 50th anniversary of Yusuf/Cat Stevens’ 1971 LP Teaser and the Firecat, and he’s celebrating by releasing a super deluxe box set packed with previously unheard demos, alternative mixes, and live recordings from the era.
He’s also re-recorded the album cut “Bitterblue” with the original Teaser and the Firecat team of producer Paul Samwell-Smith and guitarist Alun Davies. He’s called the new recording “Bitterblue²,” and you can hear it right here.
Teaser and the Firecat was the follow-up to Stevens’ 1970 breakthrough LP Tea for the Tillerman. It features several of his most enduring songs, including “Moonshadow,” “Peace Train,” and “Morning Has Broken.”
The new edition of Teaser and Firecat has 41 previously unreleased tracks, including BBC sessions, and a complete 1971 show from Montreux, Switzerland. The Blu-ray edition has footage of the Montreux show along with his appearance on the Old Grey Whistle Test and a BBC in Concert television special. In recent years, classic Stevens albums like Back to Earth, Mona Bone Jakon, and Tea for the Tillerman have received similar treatment.
Yusuf/Cat Stevens originally planned on launching a special tour in 2020 that would have featured a complete performance of Tea for the Tillerman at every stop, but it was called off because of the pandemic. When he spoke to Rolling Stone last year, he admitted he wasn’t sure about the prospect of returning to the road.
“I can’t visualize it anymore,” he said. “It’s just so foreign to us. We’re used to this distancing thing. I can’t imagine being crammed together again at a show.”