Alun Davies or never
let a Daydo by
Cat Stevens and
his guitarist Alun Davies spend an afternoon with Michelle
gone and done it. Hes had the guts to do an album of his own, and to show just how
daring he can be, hes chosen to rely almost entirely on his own songsand very
fine they are.
"Daydo" is Alun
Davies, best known as guitarist with Cat Stevens, and it is also the title of his CBS
album, released second week in August.
Recently, Alun dropped over
for a chat and, in the space of a few hours, it was easy to understand why those who know
and love him, describe him, simply, as "a very beautiful person. "
Uppermost in both our minds
was the album acetate he had safely tucked under his arm. Aluns very own solo
LPthe realization of a Iife.Iong dream.
"Until I was about 17,
all my friends called me Daydo," said Alun explaining the title,
"so, when I finally found the time to put down some songs and I had to find a name
for the album, I thought wily not own up!"
Why not indeed, when the
songs express his personality strongly enough as to defy comparison with Cat, whom he has
worked with for the past three years? This is so, in spite of the fact that Cat Stevens
worked on Aluns album as both musician and co. producer with Paul
"I was delighted when
Stevie (Cat Stevens) showed enough interest to work on the tracks with me. I realized
that, by using Steve and some of the musicians who work with Steve, like Gerry (Conway)
and Harvey (Burns), people might say the sound was similar, but I didnt hesitate for
a moment. Steve and I are musical brothers. There are some musicians I get off on and
others I dont."
Daydo," are seven of Aluns own compositions, one of which is written in
collaboration with Jeremy Taylor, Buddy Holly's "Im Gonna Love You Too,"
"Im Late," from "Alice in Wonderland," and the Cat Stevens/Kim
Fowley track from Cats early period, "Portobello Road."
"Waste of Time,"
one of Aluns songs, has been chosen as the A-side of a single to be taken from the
"That was the last
track we put down and the song just came together so easily. Its the most
spontaneous song on the album and thats probably why I like it so much.
A song like Im
Late is obviously more commercial, but it isnt representative of the whole
album and I could hardly follow it up, even if I wanted to should it be a hit.
Portobello Road on the flip and, if you say anything in your article, you
should say Im doing it because the boy needs the money and the exposure!
"The first time I ever
heard the song was when Stevie did it off-the-cuff one night in LA. I really liked the
scuffling guitar accompaniment. I always liked the European rhythms he used right from the
Aluns own rhythm
structures have a Cosmopolitan feel, especially tracks like "Market Place,"
"Young Warrior" and "Vale of Tears," possibly because Alun wrote a lot
of the songs while touring the States last autumn. Some are based on fantasy, others, like
"Old Bourbon," on personal experience.
"We got really ripped
on Southern Comfort one night in New Orleans I find it such an offensive drink,
sweet bourbon, ugh! And we went out and found a little stray mongrel dog. We fed him and
took him back to the hotel. Then room service came up and said wed have to leave him
in the car, downstairs. We unwound a window for him and he got out.
"The song just recalls
the incident. Its a very universal theme-everyone loses a pet at some time in
Only one song comes from
Aluns musical past. Its "Poor Street," which Alun wrote and
performed when he worked with Spencer Davis. Since those days, Alun has been content to
work somewhat in the background with Cat Stevens. Anyone who has seen a Cat Stevens
concert will recall the statue-like position of the blonde boy on Cats right:
"When I work," says Alun, "my breathing becomes so shallow, it almost stops
altogether. If youve ever seen photos of me onstage, theyre all identical. I
In three weeks front now,
though, Alun embarks on the world tour with Cat and he will undoubtedly display a little
more life. Hes doing his own spot, up front, mid-way through the show singing songs
from his album.
"Ill probably be
unbearable," he laughs.
The tour takes Alun through
to next February, which puts paid to the rumours currently circulating to the effect that
Alun is planning to form his own band to include, among others, Nicky Hopkins, who was ini
Sweet Thursday with Alun four years ago. It has also been suggested that Alun
"may" appear with Cat Stevens on his November English dates. No one is more
puzzled by the stories than Alun, himself: I dont know how they start, but
Ill always be working With Steve. We can unite the two things. I love working with
him because hes a total musician. Hes a musical original."
Once you get into
"Daydo," youll discover another "musical original." Sure,
youll hear traces of Cat Stevens if you want to (after all, they have worked as a
team for so long, they must have had some effect on each others music), but
"Daydo" tells such a beautiful, story that only the most narrow-minded will find
it within them to criticize on that level.
odious," it was once astutely observed. In Daydos opinion, theyre a
"Waste of Time."
Tea with the Tilleraman - Disc July 1972 Cat Stevens