Q - 12/03, p.1594 stars out of 5
- "...Among these 24 tracks are some of the best-loved songs of the past four decades..."
Producers include: Mike Hurst, Paul Samwell-Smith, Cat Stevens.
Compilation producer: Bill Levinson.
Digitally remastered by Ted Jensen.
Personnel: Cat Stevens (vocals).
Audio Mixer: Paul Hicks.
Liner Note Author: Malu Halasa.
Photographers: G. Hanekroot; Michael Putland; David Redfern.
It is impossible to compile a single-disc greatest-hits compilation for Cat Stevens that will come close to satisfying all of his admirers. The Very Best of Cat Stevens is the fifth major attempt to do so and, like its predecessors, it is challenged by its subject's success. Remember Cat Stevens: The Ultimate Collection is the longest of the five (24 tracks) and may be the most comprehensive. But The Very Best of Cat Stevens, released just a year later, has several advantages that make it more appealing. To begin with, it is the only compilation to sequence chronologically songs from every one of Stevens' albums, including the experimental Foreigner. It also contains the delightful folk creed "The Wind," which was a glaring omission from the so-called Ultimate Collection. Most significantly, it contains the previously unreleased "I've Got a Thing About Seeing My Grandson Grow Old." Stevens recorded a demo of the song during the Mona Bone Jakon sessions in 1970, but it never saw the light of day until it was remixed for this collection. Perhaps this was because it was considered too eccentric for public consumption, straddling the line between the hook-rich pop of Stevens' '60s records and the groundbreaking folk-rock of his '70s efforts. If so, the public was vastly underestimated. The song is a buried treasure that fits in perfectly in the company of Stevens' best work. ~ Evan Cater