CAT STEVENS – ” Mona Bone Jakon ” Super Deluxe 50th Anniversary Edition

Posted: October 22, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Buy Online Cat Stevens - Mona Bone Jakon

Back in 1970 and following a period of illness and recuperation, singer-songwriting troubadour Cat Stevens re-emerged with a new record deal with Island Records and a spiritual and artistic rebirth. ‘Mona Bone Jakon’, his first album for Island, showcased a markedly different change in direction for Cat, unveiling with it a remarkable set of new  compositions that included classics like ‘Trouble’, ‘Maybe You’re Right’ and the UK hit single ‘Lady D’Arbanville’.

To commemorate the album’s 50th anniversary comes this definitive super deluxe box set of ‘Mona Bone Jakon’. Sounding as fresh as the day it was recorded, the original album is represented here by a brand new 2020 remaster of ‘Mona Bone Jakon’ by Geoff Pesche at Abbey Road, overseen by original producer Paul Samwell-Smith 2020 on CD, as well as a new 2020 Mix by David Hefti on both CD and LP. The set also includes an exclusive third CD of previously unreleased demos, and a fourth featuring 18 live performances from 1970/71.

This box is rounded out with a live 12” etched vinyl E.P. of a rare audience recording of ‘Live At Plumpton Jazz & Blues Festival’ from August 1970, and with a BluRay disc featuring the original promo video of ‘Lady D’Arbanville’, plus eight live TV performances, and the HD audio of the new Mona Bone Jakon 2020 Mix. Also included is a 98-page beautifully illustrated hardcover book with extensive new sleeve notes. Finally there’s also a selection of memorabilia including Island Records press kit, two Island press photos, a replica 1970 Plumpton Jaxx and Blues flyer, a Cat Stevens tour sticker and ‘dustbin’ greetings card and pop art print in a card envelope. 

Hitting shelves that day will be 50th anniversary editions of Mona Bone Jakon and Tea For The Tillerman.  Released within 7 months in 1970, these albums saw Stevens redefining his sound.  Following a battle with tuberculosis and a lengthy stay at in the hospital, Stevens had begun looking inward, exploring literature and meditation, and reflecting on who he was as an artist.  Beginning on these two albums, he stripped away many of the production excesses of his late-’60s Deram albums in favour of a more soulful, introspective sound that would dovetail with the burgeoning singer-songwriter movement.  This metamorphosis began with Mona Bone Jakon, produced by ex-Yardbird Paul Samwell-Smith and featuring long time collaborator Alun Davies on guitar along with John Ryan on bass and Harvey Burns on drums.

The 4-CD/Blu-ray/LP 50th anniversary box set edition of Mona Bone Jakon features a new remaster of the original mix (overseen by Paul Samwell-Smith) on CD 1, a 2020 remix by David Hefti on CD 2, and on LP, unreleased demos on CD 3 (including the new single “I Want Some Sun”), and 18 live performances on CD 4.  Among the live performances are legendary television appearances on French TV, Beat Club in Germany, and two different BBC sessions.  Another highlight is a 6-song set from the Plumpton Jazz and Blues Festival in August 1970 which sees Stevens tackling songs from Mona Bone Jakon, the as-yet-released Tea For The Tillerman, and even “Changes IV,” which would appear on Teaser and the Firecat in 1971.  The Plumpton set is also featured on an etched LP in the set.  Rounding out the Mona Bone Jakon box is a Blu-ray disc featuring high-resolution audio of the 2020 mix, plus the original promotional video for “Lady D’Arbanville,” television appearances on Pop Deux and other French TV programs, as well as “Maybe You’re Right” from BBC’s In Concert series and “Lady D’Arbanville” on Beat Club.

Finally, it wouldn’t be a deluxe box set without some memorabilia.  Inside the Mona Bone Jakon box you’ll find a replica Island Records press kit, two Cat Stevens press photos, a replica flier for the 1970 Plumpton Jazz and Blues Festival, a tour sticker, greeting card, and a pop art-inspired dustbin print.

Slimmer editions of Mona Bone Jakon will also be available.  The 1-CD standard edition will feature the 2020 remaster of the original album mix housed in a book set.  A similarly presented 2-CD deluxe edition pairs this remaster with a disc of studio demos and live highlights.

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