cat stevens ‘CATNIP’

Stevens Cat Catnip 2 cv

Only four Contraband titles were ever pressed on colored (blue) PVC: British Blue Jam (John Lennon/The Rolling Stones), Seventy Dollar Robbery (Dylan),  Young Man’s Fancy (Neil Young) and this Cat Stevens release shown here. These were probably pressed around 1972 / 1973.


Stevens Cat Catnip CBM

Stevens Cat Catnip 6

Steven Cat CATNIP lbl

Stevens Cat CATNIP lbl b

Side 1 Moonshadow/ On The Road To Find Out/ Where Do The Children Play/ Longer Boats (w. extra verse)/ Maybe You’re Right/ Miles From Nowhere (Side 1: 22:18)
Side 2: Peace Train/ Hard Headed Woman/ Father And Son/ Sad Lisa/ Changes IV/ Into White (Side 2: 21:20)

Quality rating: HW gave it a “Vgs”; one track is online and sounds “Exm” in my personal rating.

HW says “Live in Boston”, the internet attributes this as “Chicago 1972”, with nothing on the recording to base the city claim on it. There are no songs on here from Catch Bull At Four, the album he released in September of 1972 (some of the 1972 shows include “Can’t Keep It In” and “Sweet Scarlet” or “Ruins”). UPDATE: Now confirmed as having been taped at one of the two shows Cat gave at the Village Gaslight Cafe in Manhattan on either 30 November or 1st of December 1970.

Full set list:

    On The Road To Find Out
    Wild World
    Longer Boats
    Maybe You’re Right
    Sad Lisa
    Miles From Nowhere
    Hard Headed Woman
    Peace Train
    Father And Son
    Charges IV

Compare set lists here:


Comment from the net:

I came by this tape by way of a trade with a Norwegian bootlegger a decade ago.

Quality is standard audience recording, cheap machine secreted in greatcoat. In spite of this, a great moment in time recorded for posterity. Whoever recorded it probably just wanted a souvenir of the show but it sounds as good as the vinyl boots around. The gig was from Cat’s second U.S. tour. The Gaslight was full to its 300 or so capacity. Nice intimate atmosphere!

The tape starts with some setting up of guitar mikes by the crew, you can imagine a few burly guys plugging leads in with plenty of bum cleavage showing! The audience are evident by their chatting, coughing and clinking glasses.

The punters respectfully hush for a perfect opening rendition of Moonshadow. Falsetto ending, decent applause.

Alun and Cat tune up and then into On The Road To Find Out. Powerfully sung over just the two guitars and Alun chipping in with vocals. A great sound and the crowd are appreciative.

Cat introduces Where Do The Children Play by saying he wrote the song about two years ago and dedicated it to kids. Larry Steele provides electric bass on this one and Cat and Alun parry acoustically. The version doesn’t deviate greatly from the studio version although there’s no percussion.

“Now my first hit over here” Cat purrs in an American accent to introduce Wild World to a few chuckles. The song is well received.

Again they tune up and Cat calls for Alun’s bass to be turned down. “A song about spaceships, y’know what I mean?” Cat has difficulty getting his old star studded Gibson in tune and says “wouldn’t it be great if you could just press a button and it would be in tune…guitars are only human anyway.” Assuming it’s his Gibson as he says it’s old fashioned – The Everly Brothers used the same model. A lovely guitar intro to Longer Boats and then my tape chews up slightly, a flaw on the original tape. A shame as the best song so far in my opinion. Cat sounding confident and great choppy timing. The extra verse adds a new dimension to the vague lyrics of the song. Perfection!

Cat takes to the piano for a few songs:

Maybe You’re Right – just Cat with Alun strumming, the piano and Cat’s voice carry the bluesy melody just right. The melancholy feel continues with Sad Lisa, sounding sparse without the violin. Miles From Nowhere completes the keyboards set, again very blues based and powerful.

Cat introduces Hard Headed Woman, you can tell they’re all having a good time.

Some tuning up then Peace Train chugs along with the audience clapping mostly in time. Cat and Alun harmonise exquisitely.

Straight into Father And Son, again it’s close to the album version. Cat’s voice descants between the split personality of dad and headstrong son. Alun’s contribution on guitar and vocals is superb – his sweet voice complementing Steve’s harsher tones.

There’s lots of audience chat as the trio take a breather.

Then Changes IV rocks with more crowd participation! It’s flamboyant and optimistic and you’re left wanting more as the tape shuts down. Sadly you’re cheated, there’s no encore preserved. At least someone had the good sense to record the show albeit crudely.


This album was also released/re-pressed by someone in California (not Berkeley Records, as I had first thought):

Stevens Cat Catnip 5

Stevens Cat Catnip 2

As well as a WCF release (with wraparound slip sheet) with matching “Catnip” labels:

Stevens Cat Catnip lbl

Steven Cat Catnip

Stevens Cat Catnip b

  1. Larry said:

    Me and two friends made the original recording of “Catnip”. It was recorded at The Gaslight in NYC around winter of 71-72 as I recall. We lived in Rochester, NY and on a trip to NYC took the opportunity to make a bootleg just for the fun of it. I recorded it on a Sony stereo cassette recorder and later copied it over onto a 2 track 1/4 inch tape so that mastering labs could use it easily, adjusting the equalization as best I could. Had it mastered in NYC at Audio Matrix and did a run of 1,000 pressings. Figured that would be it. Sold them ALL in Rochester!…so we ran another 1,000 and that was it as we had done what we set out to do. The cover is a photo produced by taking the 35mm. negative, contact printing a positive of it, then placing the two in the enlarger slightly out of register to make the final print. It’s usually assumed to be a drawing but it isn’t. I still have a few pressings still in their shrink wrap!…and still have the 2 track mastering tape also. ALL of the other issues of this are just copied from one of the original vinyl discs, so if you one of the originals it’s number X out of 2,000. Maybe I’d even part with the mastering tape for a price LOL. Larry

    • Larry, thank you so much for stopping by and filling in the details. What type of label did you use on the first and second pressing? Regarding the year you mentioned, he played the Village Gaslight Cafe on November 30th & December 1st 1971 and when he came back to New York, he played Carnegie Hall on 5 June ’71 and Philharmonic Hall in October of ’71.

      • Larry said:

        As has been said: “Now you know the rest of the story”…I figured I’d set the record straight after 45 years or so (no pun intended). I’m glad I still have the mastering tape. It’s a fun kinda memory to have since so many people really enjoyed the vinyl release. If I still had my Teac A2010 10 inch reel, 15 inches/sec machine I could produce Cds these days instead of vinyl pressings…oh well, don’t even know if there’d be a market now…

    • Too bad it’s not on cassette. I have 3 Nak tape decks around the house but no reel to reel machine.

      • Larry said:

        Yeah…the original cassette is WAY long lost!

        • Sorry to hear that, Larry but of course that’s what happened to most masters of 70’s bootleg vinyl.

          • Larry said:

            Well, it really doesn’t matter that the cassette got lost as the dub of it to the real master tape, what the record companies use to call the RTM for release to manufacturing is better equalized. Also, I dubbed it over to the quarter inch two track at 15 inches/second so there would be little audible tape hiss added. The problem these days is there are VERY few reel to reel decks left that will take 10 inch tape reels secured by NAB center hubs(National Association of Broadcasters) not the usual 7 inch reels with spindle mounts. There aren’t too many of these around anymore, only in the used market. Here’s the beast, except mine was in a portable aluminum case with a removable hinged cover and the one pictured is a standard four track where you could record in one direction the flip the reels over to record in the other direction Machines that do this have narrower tracks to acomodate the 4 tracks and therefore have more dropouts and hiss. A 2 track has wider tracks and therefore less dropouts and hiss. This is probably more than you wanted to know LOL.Copy and paste this link into your browser if you want to take a peek:


            • I do appreciate the info, Larry. Do you have any plans to get it digitally preserved? I’d certainly be interested in a copy.

            • Larry said:

              I don’t have a machine that can handle that format of tape anymore and don’t know anyone that does. I’ll think about casting around for a studio that can do it, maybe in the spring. It’s boxed up somewhere and I broke both bones in my lower leg by falling down the stairs in the wee hours of the morning so my mobility is severely limited !*&^%$!….will save this thread and if I get it done I’ll let you know.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: