Al Stewart circa 1976
Twenty-five years ago, I spent a couple of weeks on a canal boat with my schoolfriend Will Brook and his folks. It was one of those mythical, warm English summers, and boating on a canal is a particularly lazy way of spending a summer. Anyway, what I most remember from the canal trip was listening over and over again to the album Year of the Cat
by the folk-pop singer Al Stewart
. I grew up, Will and I fell out of touch, and life happened.
Then on a whim, through the good graces of i-Tunes, I downloaded the album, and all those songs (as well as, disturbingly, all the lyrics) flooded back and I'm fifteen again and floating down a canal. Jeez: talk about nostalgia, with all its melancholic baggage attached. Anyway, I commend the album, with all its 70s charm (when else would you have "coolly" rhyme with "patchouli"?) and flared-pants, pre-aerobicized gentleness. Maybe it'll take you back as it did me.