Sunday, August 10, 2014

Al Stewart: Pretty Golden Hair

I knew Al Stewart as the long-haired singer of The Year of the Cat, which was always on the radio in the 1970s even though it was a much bigger hit in the USA.

This recording, made in 1965 and taken from the BBC's Folk Britannia series, shows him a decade before that with a very different look.

The venue justifies the comment by Rob Young in Electric Eden:
The crossover folk stars of the late 1960s, such as [Roy] Harper, Ralph McTell and Al Stewart, were still men of the people, having worked their way through small city venues, feet away from their peers in the audience.
Such a forthright song about male prostitution and, reading between the lines, abuse at boarding school, challenges our view of the era. If you listen to the treacle that was poured over the recorded version of the song it is clear that not everyone could cope with Stewart's approach.

I wonder if Nick Drake would be so well remembered today he had suffered under the same arranger?

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