SP 4260 Mona Bone Jakon
Produced by Paul Samwell-Smith
Released on June 1970
Find it at GEMM
SP 4260 cover
[high resolution scan]

M ona Bone Jakon is the genesis of Cat Stevens the folk/pop star: the warm baritone, stop-and-start rhythms, toy piano tinkling and playful spirit leaping. As such, it marks the beginning of Cat’s classic phase, a period that produced such hits as “Peace Train,” “Wild World” and you don’t really think I’m going to type all of them, do you? Yet, like so many early classic albums, it reveals an artist still in transition, one foot in a past that history would just as quickly forget. The opening “Lady d’Arbanville,” for example, is not a song that Cat Stevens will be remembered for at the end of days. It’s serious beyond its years, clearly the product of a clever mind but also the product of a lost age when free love and madrigals from the Middle Ages wafted in the conjoined air. The future yet to come is heard on unfamiliar-to-many album cuts like “Trouble,” “I Wish, I Wish” and “I Think I See The Light.” You get an inkling of that on the second track, which see-saw shuffles like an old friend ambling towards you. So, in summing up Mona Bone Jakon, a very good half of it could be interwoven into the filler of his next two albums (e.g., “On The Road To Find Out”) without anyone being the wiser, the other half is an important young artist finding his voice. It’s precocious and immodest (the title track is written about his penis), but even this provides an historical context for the far superior serving of Tea to come. [And a fair warning to prog fans: If you bought this to hear Peter Gabriel, you were flaut out robbed. He pipes up in “Katmandu,” barely, thanks for noting.]


  1. LADY D'ARBANVILLE    3:40
  2. MAYBE YOU'RE RIGHT    3:20
  3. POP STAR    4:10
  4. I THINK I SEE THE LIGHT    4:00
  5. TROUBLE    2:50
  6. MONA BONE JAKON    1:38
  7. I WISH, I WISH    3:45
  8. KATMANDU    3:17
  9. TIME    1:26
  10. FILL MY EYES    2:58
  11. LILYWHITE    3:40

    All songs written by Cat Stevens


CAT STEVENS -- front cover illustration
HARVEY BURNS -- percussion
ALUN DAVIES -- additional guitar
Peter Gabriel -- flute
Del Newman -- additional arrangements
Richard Stirling -- photography

UK June 1970 Island LP ILPS-9118  
US/CAN June 1970 A&M LP SP 4260  
AUSL 1970 Island LP SFL-933865  
NET 1970 Ariola/Island LP 88165 XAT  
BRA 1973 Island LP 410020  
US 1974 A&M LP SP 4260 silver label
US   A&M LP SP 3160  
UK   Island CD IMCD-267 digital remaster
FRA   Island CD 842 351  
US May 23, 2000 A&M CD 546 883 digital remaster
US January 31, 2006 A&M 3CD 50280 re-packaged as CHRONICLES w. TEA, TEASER


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