Tea For The Tillerman² Cat Stevens, Yusuf

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  • 1Where Do The Children Play?04:09
  • 2Hard Headed Woman03:31
  • 3Wild World03:46
  • 4Sad Lisa03:57
  • 5Miles From Nowhere04:03
  • 6But I Might Die Tonight03:12
  • 7Longer Boats02:29
  • 8Into White03:42
  • 9On The Road To Find Out05:48
  • 10Father And Son03:49
  • 11Tea For The Tillerman01:01
  • Total Runtime39:27

Info for Tea For The Tillerman²

Yes, the 'squared' version of Tea for the Tillerman is out. The 11 songs are re-recorded, obviously different production/arrangements, louder than the original is one stand out. Listening to the squared version is well, 50 years on, this sounds politically correct and normalised cover version, both technically and musically.

Tea for the Tillerman² sees Yusuf recast the same eleven songs for a new age with dramatic results. Half a century and an entire universe of experiences after they were originally laid down on tape, T4TT² is a beautiful reunion between the artist and the songs that helped define the melodious '70s. The impact of Tillerman has subtly intertwined with the fabric of popular culture while its songs have magnified and developed a life of their own through their ever-expanding use in film, TV, and numerous reinterpretations by other artists.

The album cover of T4TT² illustrates the same picturesque 'Tea-Time' scene that adorned the original album, fifty years later. The Tillerman has returned from an expedition to outer space only to discover a world that has become decidedly darker. The two toddlers, Grady and Timmy, are still playing next to him - this time streaming the latest music and gaming on their mobile phones.

The concept for Tea for the Tillerman² grew out of a conversation, fittingly, between Yusuf and his son about how to celebrate the album's 50th anniversary. This gave birth to the idea of reimagining and rerecording the songs, and the results speak for themselves. Paul Samwell-Smith was contacted and a week was booked at La Fabrique Studios, in the South of France in the Summer of 2019, close to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence where Van Gogh painted some of his most famous works. The studio itself carries a rich and varied history, having once been a factory for dyeing the prestigious red jackets of Napoleon's famous Hussars and also being home to one of the largest collections of classic French cinema and vinyl records. Providentially, the whole experience was filmed.

Most of the 11 songs were written by a young 22-year-old Cat Stevens in and around his native Soho habitat at the tail end of the swinging '60s, but here are sung and played after a lifetime of introspection, development and a fresh perspective. Already viewed as some of the greatest songs of their, or any other, era, they stand on their own merits all over again, whilst reflecting a new shimmering light on the original recordings, amplifying their ongoing relevance and place in the lexicon of great songwriting.

'Though my songwriting adventures were never limited to Tillerman, the songs on that album certainly defined me and pointed the way for my mysterious life's journey. Since those originative sessions in Morgan Studios, Willesden, in 1970, Tillerman has grown and developed its own gravitas and influence on music history and as the soundtrack to so many people's lives. Like it was destiny waiting to happen, T4TT² feels like the timing of its message has arrived again. (Cat Stevens (Yusuf)

Tea for the Tillerman² sees Yusuf reunite with all the key actors from the original album - producer Paul Samwell-Smith and Alun Davies on guitar. They are joined by Bruce Lynch on bass, a member of Yusuf's band from the mid-70s. Guitarist Eric Appapoulay and multi-instrumentalist Kwame Yeboah on percussion and keys represent Yusuf's current live band and they are supported by Jim Cregan on guitar and Peter Vettese on keys. The session was engineered by David Hefti who has contributed to Yusuf's sound live and in the studio for close to ten years.

Fifty years on from their inception, the songs on T4TT² sonically resonate again, as loud today as ever. The album speaks anew of concern for the natural world and examines some of our most profound relationships, generation to generation, underpinned by a longing for spiritual union in an unpredictable and increasingly broken materialistic world. Yusuf / Cat Stevens' life and career have seen him walk a boundless path and yet the central humanity of his message has remained consistent, radiating a warm and comforting musical accompaniment to the search for peace and understanding between peoples, and in harmony with nature. These permanent values vibrate not only through Yusuf's music but can also be seen in his altruistic endeavors, such as his ongoing Peace Train project peacetrain.org

At this most volatile and uncertain time, such values are entirely deserving of representation and with Tea for the Tillerman² a whole new generation will discover this album all over again. As T.S. Eliot once wrote:

"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."

Cat Stevens, guitar, keyboards, vocals
Alun Davies, guitar
John Ryan, bass
Harvey Burns, drums
Jack Rostein, solo violin
Del Newman, string arrangement

Recorded in July 1970 at Morgan Studios, London
Produced by Paul Samwell-Smith

Digitally remastered

#206 On Rolling Stone's List Of 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time

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Cat Stevens (Yusuf)
“The childlike imagery of the Sixties and Seventies were the daydreams of a generation which believed in Peace and Love; looking back, those are still principles I go by. Today, with the constant drumming of war, we need those principles more than ever before. There are still many people who appreciate my past ephemeral stages and the lessons they represent. The fact that a new generation listens to my records and appreciates them today shows me that there's still something in them worthy to ponder." – YUSUF ISLAM, 2005

Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, has created some of the most spiritual and reflective music to come out of the 1960’s and 70’s. Timeless musing of the pain and pleasure of discovering what life is about during the volatility of youth. His musical legacy and chart successes along life’s way unquestioningly defined his role as one of the most sensitive '70s singer-songwriters, influencing generations of musicians ever since.

Born Steven Georgiou in London, Cat Stevens began his career in the early 1960’s. Discovered as a teenager in 1966, Cat Stevens demonstrated a rare talent for creating hit songs such as “The First Cut is the Deepest” and “Here Comes My Baby,” both of which became Top Ten singles. His debut album, Matthew and Son, released in 1967, spawned another Top Ten hit in the UK with the title track. Over the next few years, Cat Stevens would release eight consecutive gold albums.

The release of Cat Stevens fourth album, Tea for the Tillerman, heralded the heartrending nature of his quest for ‘big’ answers to life and marked his US crossover success with the Top 20 hit “Wild World” and the classic “Father and Son.” Solidifying his position as a master singer/songwriter, Cat Stevens released, Teaser And The Firecat in 1971, which featured the Top 5 singles “Moon Shadow” and “Peace Train.” Catch Bull at Four, released in 1972, and Buddha and the Chocolate Box, released in 1974, and in 1975, Cat Stevens Greatest Hits sold over 3 million copies in the US alone. Cat Stevens also contributed songs to the cult comedy film Harold and Maude in 1972.

After many years of heartfelt, metaphysical exploration, Cat Stevens discovered Islam, just before the religion began to draw the political headlines on the world’s stage. He had been spiritually moved, following his study of an English translation of the Qur’an, and in 1977 he became a Muslim. Subsequently adopting a new name after reading the Qur’anic story of Joseph (the son of Jacob), he became Yusuf Islam. Then, to the surprise of millions of admirers, he haply bowed out and withdrew from the spotlight.

A devoted family man, he has continuously been working for charitable causes especially in the field of children and education. In a historic event, he achieved equality for Muslim families in the U.K. by founding the first government-funded Primary school for Muslim pupils alongside long established existing schools for Christians and Jewish communities.

Most of his royalties have generously been donated to various children’s causes - including his charity Small Kindness - which has helped thousands of orphans and destitute families in the Balkans of Europe.

September 2000 saw the release of The Very Best Of Cat Stevens marking his first gold record in more than 20 years. In 2001, the Cat Stevens Box Set was released from which he donated the royalties to the September 11th Fund and Small Kindness.

Today, Yusuf Islam is arguably one of the world’s most famous converts to Islam. He has been awarded the ‘World Social Award’ for his humanitarian relief work. Previous recipients of this award include Pope John Paul II, Steven Spielberg, and Sir Paul McCartney. More recently, in November 2004, he was honored with the ‘Man for Peace’ award by a committee of Nobel peace laureates and this year will receive an honorary doctorate for his work in education in the UK.

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