Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Great instrumental breaks in history. #1: one of Alan Parson's projects.

A sultry late-summer night in 1977, close to midnight.

I dozed in my chair by the open window waiting for the cool change; book cast to one side. The radio in the corner was low, as if playing to itself.

Then the beginnings of a welcome breeze stole in the window. A song came on the radio. 1977 had been the era of disco, and lyrics that could be well described as having been typed, not written. But this was different.

On a morning from a Bogart movie
In a country where they turn back time
You go strolling through the crowd like Peter Lorre
Contemplating a crime

I sat up, listened.

She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running
Like a watercolor in the rain
Don't bother asking for explanations
She'll just tell you that she came
In the year of the cat

Then the break, led out by cellos and crying violins dripping teardrop-shaped notes, parrying together for a few bars, like lovers parting. Then a searing slide guitar note splits them like a hot knife through butter and rises to a crescendo of pain and defeat. A synthesiser offers sympathy before a sax takes over, mournful again, sweetly nostalgic, a little the wiser, but sad nevertheless. Sad like only a sax can sound.

By the blue tiled walls near the market stalls
There's a hidden door she leads you to
These days, she says, I feel my life
Just like a river running through

The sax dies away like love's last and the vocal takes over before the sax returns.

But the drum-beat strains of the night remain
In the rhythm of the new-born day
You know sometime you're bound to leave her
But for now you're going to stay
In the year of the cat

'Year of the Cat' - by Al Stewart, produced by Alan Parsons


Melbourne Girl said...

One of my favourites KH...thanks for reminding me just how wonderful it is

Dr. Alice said...

I remember this song well. I always liked it.