in CAT

C.A.T: Tea for the Tillerman

Cat Stevens – Tea for the Tillerman (1970)

Don’t let that cheesy gnome cover fool you, this is a real gem from the golden age of the singer-songwriter. Released at the height of Cat Stevens’ popularity Tea for the Tillerman is thoughtful folk rock that provides spiritual answers to life’s everyday questions. While he’ll sing about love on a track like “Wild World” he’ll also take the time to subtly address social issues on tracks like “Where Do the Children Play?” The results provide a more sophisticated approach to rock, yet in an enjoyable and pleasant package.

“Wild World” was the track that drew myself to Tea for the Tillerman and is still my favorite Cat Steven’s recording. With his nasally yet pleasing English voice he can effortlessly switch between soft and aggressive tones to better suit the message. A great deal of these tracks I heard prior on the Harold and Maude soundtrack which was a definite push in introducing me to Cat Stevens. I suppose his music worked so well in that film as Steven’s songwriting very much so reflects both the harder moments in life and the moments we should cherish.

The title track of course found popularity as the theme to Extras, can you believe it’s only a minute and three seconds long? I suppose that’s all he needed and am sure many have become Stevens’ fans from just that one minute. Although Cat (now Yusuf Islam) would give up pop music to devote his time to Islam in the late seventies, I’m glad to hear that in the mid 2000s he returned to playing some of his old classics and to playing the same kind of music that made him so beloved in the first place.

Favorite Tracks: “Hard Headed Woman”, “Miles from Nowhere”, “Wild World”


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