Cat Stevens, Yusuf – Tea For The Tillerman² (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 39:23 minutes | 446 MB | Genre: Folk
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)
Cat Stevens was only 22, but already impressively bearded and professing worldly wisdom, when he released 1970’s ‘Tea for The Tillerman’, a cosy collection of pop-leaning folk songs. The record made the shy singer-songwriter a global phenomenon. With swooning lead single ‘Wild World’ – a tribute to the Londoner’s girlfriend, actor Patti D’Arbanville – he invented the softer side of dad-rock, and topped it all off with a cutesy cover illustration of the titular tillerman sipping on a nice cup of Earl Grey.
50 years later and Stevens – known as Yusuf Islam since converting to Islam in the late 1970s – has decided to commemorate its release not by packaging it up in a tasty boxset, but by re-recording the whole damn thing. The tillerman of the artwork too has jetted 50 years forward, now sporting a spacesuit instead of his classic Captain Birdseye jumper, and drinking his tea under ominous moonlight rather than next to a blazing sun.
Not just a charming – and no doubt quite fun – thing for Stevens to busy himself with, it’s also a powerful way to track the passing of time. On the original album, opener ‘Where Do The Children Play?’ was a perky acoustic musing on nascent environmental awareness, written when people were beginning to open their eyes to the problems of pollution. Now, after half a century of destruction, deforestation and the looming spectre of global warming, a string section backs the gravelly voiced Yusuf. Sage lines such as “Well you roll on roads over fresh green grass / For your lorry loads pumping petrol gas” seem even more prescient. Swooping orchestration aside, it’s a fairly faithful rendering of the original song.
1. Yusuf / Cat Stevens – Where Do The Children Play?
2. Yusuf / Cat Stevens – Hard Headed Woman
3. Yusuf / Cat Stevens – Wild World
4. Yusuf / Cat Stevens – Sad Lisa
5. Yusuf / Cat Stevens – Miles From Nowhere
6. Yusuf / Cat Stevens – But I Might Die Tonight
7. Yusuf / Cat Stevens – Longer Boats
8. Yusuf / Cat Stevens – Into White
9. Yusuf / Cat Stevens – On The Road To Find Out
10. Yusuf / Cat Stevens – Father And Son
11. Yusuf / Cat Stevens – Tea For The Tillerman