CATNIP was the first Cat Stevens bootleg, riding on the tails of the commercial success of his Tea For The Tillerman album and the “Wild World” 45 in 1971. CATNIP is most often found in the CBM version, released in 1972. This post will look at three of the four releases by distinct producers.
WCF produced two different versions of this (I don’t know which one came first). Here, the BOGART Records version.
And the CATNIP Records version, with a wraparound insert saying “INCLUDED FREE POSTER” on the front and “CAT STEVENS LIVE” on the reverse:
Perhaps the insert is supposed to be the poster? I have never seen this offered with an extra fold-out poster. Dittolino Discs would later copy this insert for their own version (see below).
USA: late 1971 / early 1972
Was CATNIP a WCF original? I am not sure but if it wasn’t, which was the original version? There seems to be only this candidate left, after discounting CBM & Dittolino as copies:
With a what looks like a printed cover:
It is sometimes seen with this sticker (either this inspired WCF’s “poster” comment or it was the other way around):
A typed and what looks like duplicated via a mimeograph, included track list:
This CLS-42471 version also exists with blank white labels.
In December of 2016, the following comment was left under my CATNIP – the CBM version post (the link to that is at the end of this post, if you wish to review the original comment thread):
“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 [ I still believe it was Nov./Dec. 1970 ]. 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.“
I’ve been asked if I believe that the person who had left the comment, Larry, was responsible for the above version and my response is by way of exclusion: Larry wasn’t behind WCF or CBM or Dittolino Disc, so which version is left (unless I am still missing the original one).
Here then is the Dittolino Disc version 1:
And version # 2:
Matrix: CS-A S-2654 / CS-B S-2655
Source: The recording is usually listed as Chicago 5/12/1971 (or Boston in HW) and despite the US date format written as May 12th ’71, which seems doubtful. I did attribute it to the Gaslight in NY’s Greenwich Village on 30 Nov./01 Dec. 1970 but I have so far not found any of the vinyl sources online for final confirmation (as we have a ply-by-play description of the Gaslight recording).