Is Cat Stevens worthy of a critical upgrade? I’m not suggesting that he get upgraded to the level of an early-1970s folk-rock legend, like Neil Young or Joni Mitchell, but would you rather listen to 5 Cat Stevens songs or 5 by Jackson Browne?
I can’t be the only person who would rather hear “Wild World” or “Peace Train” over possibly any James Taylor song excluding “Fire and Rain,” can I? Did our judgmental views over Cat’s conversion to Islam take him out of the running for the solid respect we allow for Sweet Baby James?
I’ll take it one step further, that step that inevitably leads me into a pile of cow manure: How great is the distance between Cat Stevens’ peak period and the three albums Nick Drake released? What makes T. Rex‘s bubblegum glam-folk peak that much better than Cat’s bubblegum-singer-songwriter records? How many smash hits away from a Greatest Hits, vol. 2 was Stevens, which could have placed him in the realm of Elton John?
Ignore the preceding paragraph, but know that I put it out there as a straw dog, a sign of the confidence of have in my initial question. I sense music lovers have backed off from holding Yusef Islam‘s religious beliefs against him. Is it time we acknowledge that the guy was pretty good, even Rock Town Hall Foyer of Fame worthy?
Where’s Townsman hrrundivbakshi when we need him?