I first saw this iconoclast of the folk/rock world in the very early 70’s. At the tender age of 16, I used every trick in the not very large book that a 16 year old posesses, to persuade my parents that I was old enough to hitch hike about 100 miles and spend a hippie inspired weekend. Of course when my own kids wanted to do a similar thing in the 1990’s I said NO.

I had planned well, I had a tent, I had booze (my parents owned a Pub), and I had about $5 in cash! It took no time at all to get to Chelmsford, and not much longer to pitch my tent and get ready for the hippie fun. As I recall I had some black flared pants, and a black long sleeve shirt with flared cuffs. I was all set!

It was a great weekend, although I cannot remember bits of it, or the girl’s name! I do however remember watching Al Stewart on the Sunday afternoon. For once the sun was shining (a rare occurrence in England), Al gave a great set. Just him and his guitar. He played one of his early epic and sweeping songs, ‘Love Chronicles’, I was hooked! Although he had 3 albums under his belt Bed Sitter Images, Love Chronicles, and Zero She Flies, he was relatively still unknown outside of the Folk world. His huge break into the mainstream market came with ‘Year Of The Cat’, this was a hit on both sides of the pond.

Al Stewart is a name that is not usually associated with Pink Floyd, or King Crimson, but in many ways he was just as great an influence. Al tossed out of the window the concept of the 3.5 minute song that contains 3 verses and 3 choruses. Al went for big sweeping songs, Nostradamus, The Road To Moscow, and Time Passages are great examples.

Al Stewart has 16 albums under his belt, and shows no sign of slowing up anytime soon. On June 22, Collectors’ Choice Music will release 13 of Stewart’s 16 CDs, curated by Stewart expert Thane Tierney who has access to the artist’s private archives. Long underappreciated on these shores, these reissues may change that.

Digitally re-mastered, these are CD’s that every Al Stewart fan will want to have in their collection. I will be reviewing these albums for Blogger News Network, and I can’t wait. From Bed-sitter Images that came out in 1965, to Down In The Cellar (2001) that was never commercially released.

I have to admit that I am excited to review these albums. Even better, I heard today that Al Stewart is happy to give an interview. So if you are an Al Stewart fan, make sure that you check back here often. I can not wait to talk to this giant of the folk/rock world.

Simon Barrett


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