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Year of the Cat

 

[review]

Year of the Cat
1Lord Grenville  
2On the border  
3Midas shadow 
4Sand in your shoes  
5(If it doesn't come naturally)
Leave it
 
6Flying sorcery  
7Broadway hotel 
8One stage before 
9Year of the cat 
10On the border (live)* 
11Belsize blues* 
12Story of the songs* 

 

Original Release 1976
Digital Release 1988
Digitally remastered September 01

*Bonus Tracks on remaster

  

Review: Remastered Year of the Cat

It's increasingly fashionable to 'remaster' CDs; with some justification, as the technology has advanced in the years since albums like YOTC were first released digitally.

Personally, my ears aren't finely tuned enough to feel major benefit from this re-release, and my ancient sound system made no comment, so I have had to concentrate on the 'bonus tracks'

On the Border (live) is taken from the Chicago Radio sessions; it's a fine version, but technically hardly an advertisement for digital remastering. More seriously, those sessions included a ten-minute Year of the Cat, with a four minute keyboard intro, and marvellous sax solo - why isn't that one here?

Belsize Blues owes its presence here to its absence from other 'official' releases, though this version was first released on the unofficial Coldest Winter in Memory collection. The date suggests it could have been a rejected track from the original YOTC - though the flavour is five years earlier. The sleeve notes leave us none the wiser.

Story of the Songs is a commentary on the YOTC album by Al stewart; interesting, but hardly the sort of thing you'd listen to daily on your in-car stereo. Many of the concert albums include highly original and amusing intros, especially to YOTC itself; wouldn't the fictional explanations have been a better addition than a recorded sleeve note?

This remastered album will have nothing to say to new listeners, so it is clearly intended to persuade existing fans to part with their money. The die-hards will - as I did - and I don't regret spending £7.99. But, by gum, I'd have been much, much happier spending £11.99 on a proper job.

Picture it - a twin-cd set with the remastered YOTC on one disc, and the other featuring these bonus tracks, plus a selection of other live versions, complete with intro, guest artists - one YOTC even featured a guest singer - and a sleeve note that truly informed us about the collection, not just looked back to 1976.

Andrew Heenan
23 September 01

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