|Classics Volume 24|
|previously released material|
|Released on 1987|
|Find it at GEMM|
[high resolution scan]
S ince I’ve spent a bucketful of bytes telling you how terrible most compilations are, let me take a moment to tell you about some very classy compilations: the A&M Classics series. Released in 1987, before most record companies discovered that you could fit half a dozen inferior bonus tracks at the end of a normal album and sell it all over again as an expanded CD reissue, A&M took their most popular artists and crammed an entire disc full of their best work. Few were as generous as this Cat Stevens compilation: twenty tracks selected by the artist formerly known as Stevens, including that great unscratchable itch in the Cat canon, “If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out.” The rest is a well-informed (of course) sampler that takes you from the breakthrough Mona Bone Jakon up to the final Back To Earth. Calling this a greatest hits compilation would be misleading, since some of his biggest hits (“Wild World,” “Another Saturday Night”) are missing by design. Instead, Stevens has selected the kind of standout album tracks that fans are well familiar with: “Ghost Town,” “Where Do The Children Play?,” “The Wind.” To his credit, Cat doesn’t try to champion what came after Bull; only one track each from Izitso, Numbers and Back to Earth, nothing from Foreigner (thank you). At first, I thought twenty tracks would be tiring, but instead Classics Volume 24 is the rolling out of a remarkable carpet. Even songs like “18th Avenue” and “(Remember the Days of the) Old Schoolyard,” which never did much for me in their original context, seem to sparkle here. If you’re going to buy a single Cat Stevens compilation, I’d actually forego Greatest Hits in favor of Classics; it gives you more Cat for the scratch.
Barry Korkin -- project coordinator
Chuck Beeson & Rich Frankel -- art direction
return to CAT STEVENS discography
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