It doesn’t get much hippier or dippier than this, Daevid Allen, (ex-Gong and Soft Machine) hair no doubt down to his ass, plucking away on an acoustic guitar on some remote commune, everything smelling of patchouli, waxing loose and cosmic on various things relevant to the plight of the poet in modern times. Except he suddenly starts to bite at the end. Like he’s been doing a Rip-Van-Winkle for the past decade, but he’s suddenly snapped awake, and holy shit, it’s 1977, punk rock’s erupting off in the distance, and this anger stuff, it feels good, it feels vital. It actually makes him happy.
The lazy take on Cat Stevens is that he was a hippie singer songwriter type who lost his nut somewhere along the line and suddenly decided Allah was Great and death to the infidels (or whatever). Which is mostly wrong. And rather completely misses the point that, even with all the MOR hippie hits (most of which weren’t really that bad), he could still genuinely surprise on occasion. Case in point, Bitterblue, particularly the guitar bit near the beginning, when it suddenly kicks from standard strumming into an almost mystical overdrive. Allah be praised.
Way back when in 1968, T-Rex was still known as Tyrannosaurus Rex and Mark Bolan was pretty much a complete unknown prone to spilling his cosmic hippie soul (and related poetry) all over the place, which made for some great records even if, sadly, Debora probably wasn’t even listening.