Year of the Cat
Released: October 1976
Chart Peak: #5
Weeks Charted: 48
Certified Platinum: 3/24/77
Mellow album from the man who had a top 30 LP last year with Modern Times features Stewart's cool vocals and exceptionally well-arranged songs that are progressive without being pretentious. Produced by Alan Parsons, who has scored so strongly in the past couple of months with his Tales Of Mystery And Imagination LP. This set was recorded at the Abbey Road Studios in London, and through heavy use of strings has a symphonic, almost classical beauty. Best cuts: "On The Border," "Midas Shadow," "Broadway Hotel," "Year Of The Cat."
- Billboard, 1976.
- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.
Al Stewart, the bed-sit balladeer, was consciously casting off his folk music background and obsessively recurring themes of unrequited love when Year of the Cat was recorded.
Sophisticated orchestrations pad out the guitar and piano based sound. A frequently chosen disc for hi-fi demonstration, Year of the Cat was recorded at Abbey Road with Alan Parsons behind the mixing desk. The CD incarnation reveals little more of the qualities of the original and does nothing to take the "fizz" out of the cymbal sound -- the scale and layering of sound in heavily arranged and carefully produced tracks like "On the Border" are still most impressive however. The Mobile Fidelity CD has a bassier balance. The sound, somewhat like the songs, is undynamic by today's standards.
- David Prakel, Rock 'n' Roll on Compact Disc, 1987.
Stewart's calm delivery gives his songs a reserved, tasteful sense of understatement, especially on the title track, one of those "mysterious woman" songs, which captivated listeners and turned the album into a million-seller. * * * *
- William Ruhlmann, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.
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