Al Stewart

On the Border/Year of the Cat

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This 2011 Al Stewart collection from EMI is an odd pairing of his 1976 commercial breakthrough Year of the Cat -- by most measures it's both his most popular album and his best -- and a 1998 compilation called On the Border that rounds up album tracks from the '60s, '70s, '80s, and '90s, all emphasizing his folkier side (a ringer is a live version of "Year of the Cat"). On the Border deliberately bypasses big hits -- one that leaps to mind is "Time Passages," a song as enduring as "Year of the Cat," and "Midnight Rocks" is also missing -- so it's not an ideal supplement to Year of the Cat but it's not a horrible one, either, as the music here is generally strong. Still, there are better ways to hear Al Stewart, either on compilations or proper albums.

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