Cat Stevens: Teaser and the Firecat – Super Deluxe Edition (Interscope/Cat-O-Log/UMe, 2 LP, 7-inch, 4 CDs + Blu-ray). “Teaser and the Firecat,” originally released in October 1971, was the third in a quartet of albums that made Cat Stevens a superstar. It was the fifth overall album for Stevens, who now goes by the name Yusuf and who has rerecorded “The Wind” and “Bitterblue” for this release. The album’s hit singles include “Moonshadow,” “Peace Train” and “Morning Has Broken.” The album reached the top three in both the United States and Great Britain, while topping the charts in Austria, where it became the best-selling album of the year.

For this deluxe release, which weighs about eight pounds (!), there are 180g vinyl versions of the complete album in alternate versions (also on the second CD) and an LP of 11 tracks from Stevens’ 1971 performance at Montreux (5 on side one) and on the BBC TV and Radio stations (6 on side two). All the live material also is on CDs in the set. The two vinyl LPs are exclusive to this deluxe box, which also has an exclusive 7-inch vinyl recording of the remastered “Moonshadow,” backed with Spike Mulligan’s narration for the “Moonshadow” portion of the 1977 animated short film “Teaser and the Firecat.”

The four CDs include the remastered album on disc one; demos, alternate versions and bonus tracks on disc two; live recordings from BBC sessions and a Yorkshire TV performance on disc three; and the 12-song Montreux performance from May 2, 1971 on disc four. The Blu-ray contains the music videos of “The Wind” and Moonshadow,” the latter with the Mulligan narration, and four live television sessions, totaling 21 performances, backing by guitarist-vocalist Alun Davies, bassist Larry Steele and, occasionally, drummer Gerry Conway. Conway, who went on to play with Jethro Tull and Fairport Convention, also played drums on the album. The Blu-ray also includes 24 bit/48kHz HD audio of the album.

Additionally, there are two books. One is a 44-page, softcover, LP-sized illustrated version of the “Moonshadow” portion of the “Teaser and the Firecat” video, illustrated by Stevens, with his dialogue presented in 10 different languages. There are 21 watercolor illustrations, as featured in the animated video. The second book is a 180-page, 12-inch hardcover volume that features rare photos, new liner notes, track annotations that are recollections by guitarist Davies and producer Paul Samwell-Smith, the lyrics, a forward by Yusuf/Stevens, who was 23 at the time of the recording, and a lengthy essay.

In addition to the three successful singles, highlights on the album include “The Wind,” the more aggressive “Bitterblue” and the bouncy “Tuesday’s Dead,” with its stream-of consciousness lyrics and calypso-style tune and chorus. “The Wind” has a simple guitar melody and occasional deep dips in Stevens’ voice. The subtle duo guitar interplay between Stevens and Davies is great on both “The Wind” and “Moonshadow,” another basically simple number. “Peace Train” has calypso funk, handclaps and a bass drum pedal. For “Rubylove,” there is a backing choir and two bouzouki players. An uncredited Rick Wakeman (Yes) plays piano on “Morning Has Broken,” which takes its lyrics from a Victorian Age hymn, and Linda Lewis is the female vocal on the lovely, quiet ballad “How Can I Tell You.” Also good and on the more aggressive side is “Changes IV,” which includes the lines: “And we all know it’s better/ And yesterday has passed/ Now let’s all start the living/ For the one that’s going to last.” “Changes IV” also has clap-like sounds and flamenco guitar.

Disc two contains an alternated version of each of the album’s songs – also appearing on one of the vinyl LPs – which are mostly earlier versions, except for the newly reimagined “Bitterblue,” with late strings and a new vocal arrangement, and a new performance of “The Wind.” There are eight demos and the playful single B-side “I Want to Live in a Wigwam.” Also playful is “The Day They Make Me Tsar.” “Rubylove” has fewer lyrics here and “Tuesday’s Dead” has a different percussion sound, like tapping on the guitar. There is an extended string mix of “Peace Train” and the non-LP “Fisherman’s Song,” which has a long vocalizing, wordless section.

The Blu-ray disc has two promotional music videos: a new performance of “The Wind” (1:43), with just Yusuf on guitar and vocal; and the 1977 animated version of “Moonshadow” with the Mulligan narration (5:25). There are seven performances (25:16) from May 2, 1971 at Montreux, Switzerland – CD four extends to 12 performances from the same show – and seven songs performed Sept. 7, 1971 on “Out Front” for Yorkshire TV (26:21). It also includes the same two “The Old Grey Whistle Test” numbers from Oct. 5, 1971 (6:58) and the same five “Cat Stevens in Concert” numbers (17:47) for BBC TV on Nov. 17, 1971 that appear on CD three of live performances.

The Montreux show only contains one new song, the closing “Peace Train.” It opens with a fine “Longer Boats,” has Stevens on piano for “Sad Lisa” and the crowd clapping throughout to “Lady D’Arbanville.” Stevens puts a lot of emotion into “Where Do the Children Play.” The “Out Front” show repeats three of the songs in the Montreux video (and five on the CD), with “Moonshadow” and “Tuesday’s Dead” the only new songs. Stevens does talk to the audience quite a bit, explaining it was good to be back from America and in front of a British audience before he sings “Longer Boats.” He also gives a somewhat confused explanatory introduction to “Tuesday’s Dead.”

“The Old Grey Whistle Test” songs are both new, “If I Laugh” and “Changes IV.” All five songs of “Cat Stevens in Concert” are from the new album, including a very good “Bitterblue.” Grade: overall set A+

Elvis Presley: Elvis Back in Nashville (RCA/Legacy, 4 CDs, 4 hours 53 min.). Presley had returned to Nashville in 1970, which resulted in the albums “Elvis Country” and “That’s the Way It Is.” With his manager Tom Parker liking the results, more Nashville sessions, these sessions, were scheduled for 1971. They eventually yielded the albums “Elvis Sings the Wonderful World of Christmas” (1971) and “He Touched Me” (1972), and portions of “Elvis Now” (1972) and “Elvis (Fool)” (1973).

Disc one contains seven country/folk sides, three piano recordings and eight pop sides. Disc two contains 13 religious sides and 12 Christmas sides. Disc three reveals a lot of a generally very genial Presley working in the studio, while disc four has 11 religious outtakes and nine Christmas outtakes. Overall, Presley is in fine voice and even the tracks containing mistakes are worth listening to. There is quite a bit of studio chatter and false starts, especially on the third disc which puts one right in the studio with the musicians.

“Elvis Sings the Wonderful World of Christmas” was his 15th studio album and first Christmas album of new recordings since “Elvis’ Christmas Album” in 1957. Highlights are the title track and a trio of songs about wanting to be home in time, including “I’ll Be Home on Christmas Day,” “It Won’t Seem Like Christmas (Without You)” and “If I Get Home on Christmas Day.” “I’ll Be Home on Christmas Day” appears five times in the collection, including three times on disc four. There is a nice piano-led version on disc two, followed by “If I Get Home on Christmas Day,” featuring a warm vocal. There is a nice “Silver Bells” as well, but the real fun comes on an unedited take of “Merry Christmas Baby,” a bit bluesy take that stretches to 8:41.

“He Touched Me” was Presley’s 17th studio album and third and final gospel album, released on April 1, 1972. The album won a Grammy Award. Included here is a fine version of “Amazing Grace,” plus the upbeat “I’ve Got Confidence,” a nice version of “A Thing Called Love” and the very upbeat “Put Your Hand in the Hand.”

Among the pop sides are covers of Gordon Lightfoot’s “Early Mornin’ Rain” (very nice) and “(That’s What You Get) For Lovin’ Me,” Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” which is the first more forceful track on disc one, and his single version of Buffy Sainte-Marie’s “Until It’s Time for You to Go.” Presley does “Elvis vocal things” on an unedited version of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” which stretches to 9:17, including several instrumental breaks.

The piano recordings include “I’m Still Here” and “I Will Be True,” both written by Ivory Joe Hunter, and “I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen.” All three would end up on “Elvis (Fool)” album – “Fool” is the first song listed right below “Elvis” on the cover – which was released July 16, 1973 as Presley’s 18th studio album. Of the pop sides, the upbeat “Padre” is very good, as is a restrained version of “Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear to Tread).” At the start of his version of “My Way,” Presley admits to “screwing up.” Single-only songs are “I’m Leavin’” and “It’s Only Love.” Also good is “Love Me, Love the Life I Lead.”

Disc three includes short, impromptu recordings of “Johnny B. Goode,” “Lady Madonna” and Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released.” There also is a remake of Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” which this time stretches even longer to 11:11. There are 82 performances in all, with newly mixed audio by Matt Ross-Spang. The 28-page color booklet includes essays by producer Ernst Michael Jorgensen and historian David Cantwell. Grade: box set B+ (a bit too much repetition)

The Replacements: Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash (Twin/Tone/ Rhino, LP + 4 CDs). This is the 40th anniversary limited-edition set of The Replacements 1981 debut album, with 100 tracks, including the newly remastered 18-track original album, rare demos and studio tracks and a whole, previously-unreleased live show from 1981 with the band’s original lineup. The included vinyl disc contains a new, alternate version of the debut album.

The band from Minneapolis was active from 1979 to 1991, reformed in 2006 and then came together a third time from 2012 to 2015. Paul Westerberg was the singer and main songwriter. On this first album, they are more of a punk band, before morphing into an alternative band. The original lineup included Bob Stinson on guitar, Chris Mars on drums and Tommy Stinson on bass.

In the late 1970s, Westerberg was working as a janitor for U.S. Senator David Durenberger. One day while walking home from work, he heard a band practicing Yes’ “Roundabout” in a basement. He talked his way into the band by convincing the singer that the other band members – the two Stinsons and Mars — were going to fire him. The singer quit and Westerberg joined the group. The band was originally called the Impediment, and they played its first gig in the basement of a church, before members of a nearby halfway house. They soon changed their name to The Replacements after several venues declined to advertise the band under its original name. To their fans, they became known as The ‘Mats, as early on, their name was misheard as The Placemats.

The Replacements began performing in Twin Cities punk scene, showcasing Westerberg’s songs in a classic rock/ friendly punk style. The band made three albums and an EP for local label Twin/Tone, before signing to Sire Records in 1985. They made four albums for Sire, each with a different lineup.

The remastered original album features 18 songs in 36:47, with most songs very fast, like The Ramones’ style. Only two songs last more than three minutes. The guitars shine on the declarative “Customer,” and there is stinging guitar on “Otto.” “Kick Your Door Down” is pure aggression and the slamming “I Hate Music” is because it “has too many notes.” The band turns slower and more melodic of “Johnny’s Gonna Die,” written about Johnny Thunders of the Heartbreakers and the New York Dolls and his increased heroin addiction. It is the longest song at 3:32. There is a different kind of beat to “Shiftless When Idle,” while “Somethin’ to Du” refers to the band’s crosstown rivals, Husker Du. Disc one also includes the single “I’m in Trouble,” which has fine guitar on the break, and its B-side, the slow drinking ballad “If Only You Were Lonely.”

That latter song is an example of a recurring theme in Westerberg’s lyrics, that is that if things were slightly different, he would get to go home with the girl. Some of these on disc two include the more melodic “You Ain’t Gotta Dance” and the more rocking “Don’t Turn Me Down,” as well as “We’ll Get Drunk.”

Disc 2 contains the early recordings: 18 demos, six basement versions and a jam. One that did not make the album is the jaunty rocker “Looking for Ya.” Others not on the album that stand out are “Don’t Let Me Down,” “Shape Up” and the early rock-styled “Oh Baby.” “Lie About Your Age” is another song with a good melody. Eight tracks on disc two originally were released on the 2008 expanded edition of “Sorry Ma.”

Disc three includes three studio outtakes – also released on the 2008 expanded version and including the instrumental “A Toe Needs a Shoe” – and 20 alternative versions, 18 of which make up the included vinyl disc. The latter include “Customer,” two versions of “Johnny’s Gonna Die,” “Hangin’ Downtown” and the instrumental “Get Lost.” The disc also includes four solo acoustic recordings, on which the vocals sound rough.

Disc four’s unreleased 27-track concert was recorded on 2-channel stereo Jan. 23, 1981 at 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis. The band performs three covers in The Kinks’ “All Day and All of the Night,” Slade’s “My Town” and, appropriately, Johnny Thunders’ “I Wanna Be Loved.” Of their own material, “Mistake” is humorous and “Slow Down” is a non-album song.

The set comes with a 24-page softcover booklet with classic, mostly black-and-white photos of the band, memorabilia and liner notes by Grammy Award-winning ‘Mats biographer Bob Mehr on the making of the album, with lots of quotes from Westerberg, the two Stinsons, Mars, reissue producer Peter Jesperson, former bandmate Tom Byrne, Jef Jodell who did some early recordings, and Mike Lasley and Steve Skibbe, both of Westerberg’s early band The Dads, as well as others from back in the day. Grade: box set B+