Thursday, February 25, 2021

From The Pen Of Cat Stevens: 10 60's Cat Stevens Covers

Here's ten tracks written by Cat Stevens and performed by other artists in the Sixties, many were never recorded by him, all tracks are 45's unless otherwise indicated! All images utilized courtesy of are credited where used. Enjoy:

1. MIKE VICKERS-"Matthew And Son" U.K. LP track "I Wish I Was A Group Again" Columbia SCX 6180 1967

Ex Manfred Mann multi-instrumentalist Mike Vickers cut this version of Cat's December '66 U.K. hit on his debut solo LP "I Wish I Were A Group Again". In an arrangement that would make the Mike Flowers Pop's proud it's a kitschy mix of male/female chorus vocalists, marimbas, brass, plucked piano strings etc.

2. DOUBLE FEATURE-"Baby Get Your Head Screwed On" U.S. Deram 45-85004 1967/U.K. Deram DM 115 1967

Duo the Double Feature recorded a cover of "Baby Get Your Head Screwed On" as their debut single for Deram (Cat's version would be released at the same time as a track on his debut LP "Matthew And Son", also on Deram). Theirs is far more powerful as it's cloaked in twangy guitars, brass, sawing strings, congas and the kitchen sink with arranging by Alan Tew.

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3. DAVID GARRICK-"I've Found A Love" U.K. Piccadilly 7N 35371 1967

Pretty boy crooner David Garrick cut this number from Cat's first LP as his fifth single for Piccadilly following his U.K. hit "Dear Mrs. Applebee". It's mundane and nothing special with the full on treatment (horns, strings, thundering drums etc) that does nothing to really make this number anything remarkable.

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4. JACKIE TRENT-"Humming Bird" U.K. Pye 7N 17286/U.S. Warner Brothers 7022 1967

Jackie Trent also plumbed Cat's debut long player, coming up with this track which she cut as her 13th single for Pye. It's total M.O.R. boredom swathed in strings produced by her main squeeze Tony Hatch with arrangement by Johnny Harris. Next.

5. PAUL & BARRY RYAN-"Keep It Out Of Sight" U.K. Decca F 12567 1967/U.S. MGM 13719 1967

Singing brothers Paul and Barry got a crack at this track that Cat himself never released and issued it as their 7th single on Decca. Orchestrated by Alan Tew it's arrangement is nothing short of amazing with freaky descending strings, horns and marimbas all wrapped up in a nice little pop psych package and to my ears is the best thing they ever did.

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6. THE KOOBAS-"The First Cut Is The Deepest" U.K. Columbia DB 8419 1968/U.S. Capitol 2416 1969

Everyone and their brother cut this track that Cat ultimately released as an LP track of his second album "New Masters".  P.P. Arnold had the first stab at it scoring a minor U.K. hit with it in '67 but it's The Koobas 1968 reading that's my favorite. Laden in searing vibrato guitar and a heaviness that would do Vanilla Fudge proud it's unexpected use of vibes along with blistering guitar licks, strings and harmonies galore make it amazing, sadly for the Koobas it was not a hit.

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7. LYNNE RANDELL-"I Love My Dog" U.S. Capitol 2683 1969

Liverpool born but reared in Australia, singer Lynne Randell cut a host of records Downunder before popping over to New York to cut her legendary "Stranger In Your Arms". She went on to cut a slew of other singles in the U.S. (most of which, including a version of "Wasn't It You", made famous by The Action, were only issued in the States). Her stab at Cat's "I Love My Dog" was her final single recorded in America. It's lightweight, like it was tailored for some late 60's variety show and I could easily imagine Lulu cutting it in a similar fashion and barely deviates from the original making it colorless and bland.

8. THE TREMELOES-"Here Comes My Baby" U.K. CBS 202519 1967/U.S. Epic 5-10139 1967

The Tremeloes rollicking version of this track found on Cat's debut LP was a massive success placing at #4 and #13 in the U.K. and U.S. respectively. It's upbeat, cheeky and infectious and possibly one of the only pop hits to have a whistling solo (multitracked by more than one whistler) and yes, a cowbell and always seems to put me in a good mood. Check out this live performance on German TV's "Beat Beat Beat" show where they attempt to whistle in harmony. 

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9. WAYNE THOMAS-"I've Never Known A Lady" U.S. Coral 62521 1967/U.K. Coral Q-72491 1967

I've no idea where this singer hails from but it was recorded in the U.K., it's a track that Cat never cut himself was issued in both the U.S. and the U.K. It's a mellow ballad from a baritone voiced crooner with strings, flutes et al. Total MOR crooner stuff here and dreadful at that! Next!

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10. SASHA CARO-"Molotov Molotov" U.K. Decca F 12744 1968

Here's another one for the obscurity file. Both sides of this (with the cleverly titled "Never Play A B Side" on the flip) were penned, arranged AND produced by Cat. On "Molotov Molotov" he does the over the top spoken monologue at the beginning in a faux Eastern European accent (he can audibly be heard singing in the chorus as well). The number is a strange pop sike ditty that can best be described as a "pop psych drinking song" (there I've gone and created a new sub genre there!). The flip is a freaky little dirge with tongue and cheek lyrics and some quirky musical backing (blistering guitars etc).

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