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  • Catch Bull at Four

    Released in 1972, Cat Stevens’ Catch Bull at Four takes its title from the fourth stage of the Ten Bulls of Zen, a series of short poems and pictures that illustrate the stages of the Buddhist journey towards enlightenment. This particular stage is one of great struggle, during which the bull (a metaphor for enlightenment or one’s true self) keeps escaping, and this is reflected on Side Two. In contrast to the celebratory Side One (which perhaps represents the triumph of catching the bull), the second half of the album is nightmarish, even apocalyptic. The discipline required at this stage of the journey is conveyed on “O’ Caritas,” a Greek prayer sung partly in Latin and featuring bouzouki and Stevens on Spanish guitar and drums. The following song, “Sweet Scarlet,” is a song of lost love referring to Stevens’ relationship with Carly Simon. Catch Bull at Four continues Stevens’ personal search for truth but with a more direct delivery and rougher-edged voice. He also utilizes synthesizer, electric mandolin, and strings, and plays piano himself on a few songs. With the exception of opening track “Sitting,” the album did not produce any big hits, but it was Stevens’ most rapidly successful album in the U.S. and topped the Billboard charts for three consecutive weeks.

    Catch Bull at Four Catalog Number: A&M SP-4365

    Catch Bull at Four Track Listing:

    Side One

    1. Sitting – 3:15

    2. The Boy with a Moon & Star on His Head – 5:57

    3. Angelsea – 4:30

    4. Silent Sunlight – 3:00

    5. Can’t Keep It In – 2:59

    Side Two

    1. 18th Avenue (Kansas City Nightmare) – 4:23

    2. Freezing Steel – 3:38

    3. O’ Caritas – 3:42

    4. Sweet Scarlet – 3:47

    5. Ruins – 4:23

    Get Catch Bull at Four on Vinyl:

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