Thursday, October 12, 2006

What About Al Stewart?

I did a post yesterday about Al Stewart and Gordon Lightfoot and got a lot of comments about Gordon Lightfoot. We found out that Gordon Lightfoot almost died several years ago and is still touring.

I thought you might also like to know that Al Stewart is still touring and making music. His most recent CD, Beach Full of Shells, is wonderful and his voice is as clear and pure as it ever was. My friends Jack and Susan are big Al Stewart fans and say he puts on one of the most entertaining shows you'll ever see. (If we're lucky, Jack will do a post similar to his Hurricane Rita post with links to all of his Al Stewart concert and album reviews.)
(Edited 10/13 to add: Here's a link to Jack's comprehensive Al Stewart post.)

I've always enjoyed Al Stewart's music but am only familiar with Time Passages, Year of the Cat and the songs on Beach Full of Shells and Rhymes in Rooms. Even if I were a more dedicated fan, though, I'm pretty sure Year of the Cat would always be my favorite. I can't think of any other song that runs through my mind so beautifully, both visually and emotionally. Here are the lyrics...

Year of the Cat
Al Stewart & Peter Wood

On a morning from a Bogart movie
In a country where they turn back time
You go strolling through the crowd like Peter Lorre
Contemplating a crime

She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running
Like a watercolour in the rain
Don't bother asking for explanations
She'll just tell you that she came
In the year of the cat

She doesn't give you time for questions
As she locks up your arm in hers
And you follow 'till your sense of which direction
Completely disappears

By the blue tiled walls near the market stalls
There's a hidden door she leads you to
These days, she says, I feel my life
Just like a river running through
The year of the cat

Well, she looks at you so cooly
And her eyes shine like the moon in the sea
She comes in incense and patchouli
So you take her, to find what's waiting inside
The year of the cat

Well, morning comes and you're still with her
And the bus and the tourists are gone
And you've thrown away the choice and lost your ticket
So you have to stay on

But the drum-beat strains of the night remain
In the rhythm of the new-born day
You know sometime you're bound to leave her
But for now you're going to stay
In the year of the cat


Jack said...

I'm going to have to take this opportunity to recommend that everyone go to and order Al Stewart's career-spanning five disc box set "Just Yesterday." It really is an excellent set, and it contains a lot of good stuff from albums that have been out of print for years. The packaging is about as nice as I've seen too. It's in book form with 70 pages of pictures and text and pockets for the discs.

It's $90 on, or about $60+shipping from some of the other Amazon sellers, but the best way to get it is from (which is where I got mine). For U.S. orders, the total with shipping and after deducting the VAT is £26.03, or just a little under $50. And apart from being cheaper, it's fun to get a package from overseas now and then.

If $50 seems like too much to spend on a set from a guy who hasn't had a hit since the 70s, there's a shorter two disc anthology called "Piece of Yesterday" that can be had for about $20 on Amazon, or a little less (even with shipping) from

Larry Jones said...

Thanks, Laurie. I've heard the song many times, but I never knew the lyrics. Now the picture in my mind is clearly the movie "Casablanca" (only in color), although the girl in the song is obviously not in the film.

BTW, I've been listening to your "This and That" Pandora station at work - I'm sure "Year of the Cat" will turn up some day...

Laurie said...

Jack - Thanks! I'm going to buy that tonight.

Larry - I got the "This and That" station from Jack's Pandora stations. It's a good one.

Jack said...

Laurie said: "If we're lucky, Jack will do a post similar to his Hurricane Rita post with links to all of his Al Stewart concert and album reviews."

Consider it done. Because it's done.

Laurie said...

Jack - And a beautiful thing it is. Thanks!

Sophmom said...

Cool. I loved that song, way back when.

Lorna said...

I'm still loving it.

Laurie said...

Sophmom and Lorna - It's timeless.

D. B. Cooper said...

Time Passages and Year of the Cat are the only two of his songs that I recognize but I like 'em both.

Laurie said...

D. B. - They're his best known but there's so much more out there. I'm just a beginner myself.

hipster said...

there is a new,extensive biography out now on al stewart. should be available through amazon

Laurie said...

Hipster - Thanks! I'll check that out.