Sunday, September 18, 2005

Sometimes, the Schedule is a Framework
Two CDs a month. A guideline, not a rule. I was listening to some Al Stewart the other day. It's incredible that such a whiny-voiced Brit could make me such a fan but damned if he hasn't. Let me point out that I was not a Stewart-come-lately, heard-"Year of the Cat"-first type fan. Oh no. I found him off the FM Duke ran back in the late 70s. Actually, WDBS was one of the best radio stations I've ever listened to, but that's a discussion for a different day. I heard "Roads to Moscow" off the "Past, Present & Future" album and was absolutely poleaxed by it. It is an eight minute tour de force: a history of the Second World War from the Russian perspective of a single fighter whose war begins with the German attack and ends with his being sent to Siberia by the Bolsheviks for whom he fought.
Having said that, when "Year of the Cat" came out, I hastened to buy it (on vinyl of course) and I still think it's a remarkably good disc even if "Cat" has become a cliché of sorts. But I realized that I missed having it. So, despite having made my monthly music acquisitions, I took a look at eBay. A used copy, with a cracked cover for 65 cents. No bids. Closing in five hours. Could I resist? No even a little. Being eBay, the shipping is where the seller will make the money so I'm paying $4.50 (you do the math) for my CD copy of "Year of the Cat." And I will shoehorn it into my iTunes library with great glee. I'm even considering getting "Modern Times" in a future month.
By the way, in case anyone hasn't noticed the theme, here are thetitles of Al Stewart discs of the mid 70s: "Past Present Future" (1973), "Modern Times" (1975), "Year of the Cat" (1976), "Early Years" (1977), and "Time Passages" (1978). I sincerely doubt anyone else could carry off this history-in-folk/pop so well. Jake has his "Ithaca" which is wicked good but Al has entire albums of it.

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