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  • New Masters

    The story behind Cat Stevens' second album, New Masters (1967), is rather interesting. After the success of his debut, Stevens was eager to explore a more folk-oriented sound. His producer Mike Hurst, on the other hand, was dead set on replicating the heavily orchestrated pop of Matthew & Son. So, in an attempt to be released from his contract, Stevens made ridiculous and costly orchestral demands. Consequently, New Masters features elaborate arrangements as well as Stevens' ironically masked cynicism. The single "Kitty" is reminiscent of Matthew & Son's quirky pop, but the Celtic-sounding war song "Northern Wind" provides a striking contrast to the happy-go-lucky "Ceylon City" and "Moonstone." New Masters failed to do as well as Matthew & Son commercially, but it further established Stevens' strength as a songwriter. The track "The First Cut Is the Deepest" became a hit for P.P. Arnold, Keith Hampshire, Rod Stewart, and Sheryl Crow, eventually earning Stevens the ASCAP "Songwriter of the Year" award in 2005 and 2006.

    New Masters Catalog Number: Deram DES 18010

    New Masters Track Listing:

    Side One

    1. Kitty - 2:23

    2. I'm So Sleepy - 2:24

    3. Northern Wind - 2:51

    4. The Laughing Apple - 2:39

    5. Smash Your Heart - 3:02

    6. Moonstone - 2:18

    Side Two

    1. The First Cut Is the Deepest - 3:03

    2. I'm Gonna Be King - 2:30

    3. Ceylon City - 2:29

    4. Blackness of the Night - 2:31

    5. Come on Baby (Shift That Log) - 3:52

    6. I Love Them All - 2:12

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