A&M's 32-track retrospective of eccentric singer/songwriter Cat Stevens manages to cram into two discs what 2001's On the Road to Find Out box set tried to accomplish over four. While not as informative or "rarities"-heavy, Gold tells the artist's story with utter succinctness, from earnest, post-counterculture semi-hedonist to Islamic recluse. All of the key tracks – digitally remastered from the original two-track masters – are here ("Wild World," "The Wind," "Another Saturday Night," "Moonshadow," "Where Do the Children Play?") as well as deeper cuts like "18th Avenue (Kansas City Nightmare)" and all 18 minutes of "Foreigner Suite." Also included is Stevens' most recent composition. Originally released as a digital download, the emotional and surprisingly rousing "Indian Ocean" was recorded for Stevens' Small Kindness charity to benefit children from the Aceh region who were affected by the December 2004 tsunami.
Making a name for himself from live performances and a successful first release, being proclaimed the heir to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Stevens shows himself to be a more mature, evolved guitarist, writer and performer. While not as raw as his freshman effort, Blue Drops of Rain, Stevens continues to build a rock-solid career. Road to Zen features more of Stevens' guitar style as well as a tighter production spearheaded by Edward Tree. A passionate performer, this comes through clearly. Especially effective is the Linda and Corey Stevens effort, "Only One for You," a tribute to their partnership; also good are "Lessons of Love," "Take It Back" and "Charles Bronson Vibe." With all cuts written by Stevens this time, he establishes himself as a talent to be reckoned with in several different arenas.
Michael Barrett (born 4 March 1948), known as Shakin' Stevens, is a platinum-selling Welsh rock and roll singer and songwriter who was the UK's biggest-selling singles artist of the 1980s. His recording and performing career began in the late 1960s, although it was not until 1980 that his commercial success began. His most successful songs were nostalgia hits, evoking the sound of 1950s rock and roll and pop…
Every year it's an issue: how does one stomach the onset of holiday music? With an endless stream of overplayed pop stars stirring what Sufjan Stevens calls "That Creepy Christmas Feeling," how does one navigate the sound of the season? Back in 2001, Stevens began making annual EPs of traditional carols and songs mixed with his own holiday-themed tunes. With 2006 and Volume 5, he's compiled a perfect gift for the Christmas-inclined indie rockster: all five EPs in one box, separately slipcased, plus a booklet filled with lyric sheets, chord charts, a Rick Moody essay, and more.
Hits of Shakin' Stevens is a detailed single disc featuring 16 tracks the rock & roll revivalist recorded for Epic in the '80s. Anyone looking for a comprehensive collection of his best recordings should pick this up as it features the original versions of "This Ole House," "You Drive Me Crazy," "Oh Julie," and the Dave Alvin penned "Marie Marie".