Cat Stevens – Notes from an Early Shootout (2007)

More of the Music of Cat Stevens

More Reviews and Commentaries for Mona Bone Jakon

This album is one of Cat’s top four titles both musically and sonically. Tea and Teaser are in a league of their own, but this album and Catch Bull At Four are close behind. The music is WONDERFUL — the best tracks (including I Wish I Wish and I Think I See The Light) rank right up there with anything from his catalog. Sonically, it’s not an epic recording on the scale of Tea or Teaser but with Paul Samwell-Smith at the helm you can be sure it’s an excellent sounding album — on the right pressing.

Both sides here are AMAZING! From the moment the needle hit the grooves, we heard superior clarity, better bass, and silkier highs than we had heard all day. It’s super full-bodied with more weight and whomp down low than the average copy. The presence and immediacy are staggering — play it loud and it will be as if Cat is strumming his guitar and belting out the heartfelt tunes right there in your living room.

Trouble sounds OUT OF THIS WORLD here — it’s rich and sweet with a lovely delicate quality to the acoustic guitar. Just listen to all that room around Cat’s voice!

I Wish I Wish sounds off the charts as well. It’s lively, musical and super transparent with tight bass. It’s rich and full with a wide soundfield. 

In Search Of Amazing Mona Bones

There are at least 3 original stampers for both sides one and two. We’ve spent countless hours on different occasions playing them against each other. It’s very time consuming when you have multiple copies of the same stampers that don’t sound the same. Add to that that we have a couple of nice Import original Sunray pressings, and you have quite a project.

But it was all worth it because I’ve learned a lot, and I’m happy to share with you what I discovered.

To make judgments about the relative merits of each of the pressings, you have to find the right tracks that are the most revealing of the particular side’s strengths and weaknesses.

None of the later pressings I have ever heard sound remotely as good as the right originals. The original British & German imports, of which I have had a few over the years, are decent, but they don’t sound as good as these original domestic copies. They tend to be either too smooth, or too bright and therefore spitty on the vocals.

In fact, now that I think about it, the best stampers for this record are simply the ones that have the most correct tonal balance from top to bottom. For whatever reason, this record was obviously very difficult to master. (And press for that matter.) This is the only explanation I have for why it is so difficult to find good sounding copies of this album. There are lots of good copies of Tea and Teaser. Many of them have been put on the site and we still have many more to list.