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Year of the Cat

An all-timer, in my humble opinion....

On a morning from a Bogart movie
In a country where they turn back time
You go strolling through the crowd like Peter Lorre
Contemplating a crime

She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running
Like a watercolor in the rain
Don’t bother asking for explanations!
She’ll just tell you that she came

In the Year of the Cat

I’ve been an Al Stewart fan for a long time, and Year of the Cat, which came out in 1976, has long been a favorite of mine (both the song and the album). Over the years, I’ve seen him and his band multiple times, including once in the 1980’s, up to a couple of years ago when he was doing a tour of the Year of the Cat album, when I went with my adult son (who is also an Al Stewart fan because he would listen to my iPod when he was growing up).

Thus, when I found out Al Stewart was coming to town in late June I was interested in going. When my wife showed little interest in going, I knew it was another opportunity to see a concert dressed, my sixth overall and third in 2023. Another attraction is that the concert was in a new venue, City Winery at the City Foundry, and I hadn’t been there before (although sometimes there is some comfort in having been to a place prior before going somewhere dressed). 

The City Winery, an import from New York City, is both a restaurant and a musical venue, so I arrived early and had a nice dinner. There was a couple and a single guy at my table, so we chatted a bit (make no mistake, I’ve got a guy voice in all presentation modes) and I’m never sure how people will react, so I usually don’t initiate conversations. It’s a small venue, so even though I was in the back (by my choice), I had a pretty good view of the band.

Stewart’s backup band, The Empty Pockets, were the opening act, and they were decent. Then after a short intermission, Stewart came on stage and mixed stories and songs, mostly his “hits”, explaining the stories behind them. For example, “Antarctica”, which I don’t think I’ve heard from an album, but twice in concert, is topically about adventurers going to the South Pole, but he says in reality it’s about how he couldn’t get a woman to sleep with him.

The last time I saw him, for the Year of the Cat tour, he talked about writing Year of the Cat. Another of his musicians was constantly playing the piano riff that starts the song, and Stewart heard it one day and liked it, and the rest is history.

When I retired eleven years ago, one of my informal goals was to learn to play the piano again. I took lessons for six years during elementary school, but stopped when my mom (correctly) observed I wasn’t practicing enough (playing outside with friends was more enticing than playing the piano; funny that). For my planned return to playing the piano, the one song I wanted to learn to play was Year of the Cat. 

Eleven years on, nada.

OTOH, another of my informal goals was to start a blog. I even created a website using my given name, but, like learning the piano, has been something I will eventually do tomorrow. At least having my own website had a side benefit of creating an email address that uses my first and last names.

But….but….that informal goal never included these scribblings about my times out, because eleven years ago the idea of going out wasn’t on the radar screen (well, I dreamt about it, but never could do anything to make it happen).

Until I did.

I reckon this is about my fourth year anniversary of regular posting on Sun-Dees, and the fifth year anniversary of guest blogging here. In addition,, October 2023 represents seven years of going out regularly. Time flies, and I’m still having fun.

Here’s to many more years. (Editorial comment: The stage will always be yours as long as I am able to keep this place up and running, you are the rock upon which Kandi’s Land was built!)

Well morning comes and you’re still with her

And the bus and the tourists are gone

And you’ve thrown away your choice you’ve lost your ticket

So you have to stay on

But the drum-beat strains of the night remain

In the rhythm of the newborn day

You know sometime you’re bound to leave her

But for now you’re going to stay

In the year of the cat


One Response

  1. Dee ,
    We can often list a string of songs that meant so much in our past , it’s funny how this generation click onto our old songs once they’ve heard them . The advertisers aren’t missing that trick either .

    When my daughter was a young teenager she wanted to learn the piano , she wasn’t bad and passed a few exams but then she got married and had a daughter , sounds familiar doesn’t it . The piano was too tempting I had to have a go so I gradually picked up the basic notes so I could string some tunes together . The problem was I was playing from keyboard tutorials , my daughter pointed out I was playing keyboard chords , I excused myself by saying at least my left hand is doing something and not just waving in the air . A kind neighbour lent us a complete Beatles song book , you don’t realise how good they were until you try and play some of their stuff . I would still love to play but the piano was sold and I’ve now got arthritis in my fingers but I enjoyed it at the time .

    Year of the cat , great song .

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