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Tea for the Tillerman was the first album I ever bought, and is still one of my favourites. I was interested to see what Yusuf would do with this reinterpretation of his music. Overall I’m a bit disappointed. Maybe because I’ve been listening to these songs for 50 years, maybe because I thought there was no way any of them could be improved. Longer Boats has been completely rewritten, both words and arrangement, and not for the better IMO. Most of the other songs have received new arrangements, some good, some not so much. Fortunately Father and Son has been left largely untouched, as has Sad Lisa (which I think is the most beautiful song ever written). The only significant change there being changing from a grand piano to an electric piano. This is by no means a horrible album, and is generally quite listenable. I bought it because I’m a rusted on Cat Stevens fan. Generally I prefer his older work. I’ll put this on from time to time, but the original is the one I’ll listen too on a regular basis.
I really like this and I may add surprisingly so as I thought I wouldn't. Good thing is the arrangements are understated and different to the originals yet not so far removed from them as to be overly strange. A real pleasant surprise.
Might seem strange to some that a celebrated artist would want to re-record one of his classic albums but this is no mere repeat of what has gone before. it is an inspired reimagining of the original songs by the now much older artist who has imbued the new versions with his intervening years of life experience. It is simply magnificent.
Well i couldn't wait to get this on the turntable. I have a huge smile on my face as i write this down. Is it any good? That's a difficult question if you compare it to one of the greatest albums ever produced. I can confirm it is beautifully recorded, sounds amazing and he has been playful and thoughtful in the making of this record. Longerboats has been reworked, given the lyrics and Yusuf's beliefs it isn't surprising. I actually prefer the new version of Father & Son, he hasn't messed with it, but i think it quite wonderful. I'm not going to say anymore other than this record will not be left on the shelf collecting dust, it is brilliant in its own right. It is an old friend, that you know and love, re-imagined. I'm sure some will put it down, but if you are prepared for a re-imagined TFTT, then you are in for a treat. Oh, all the packaging has been beautifully produced too.
When I first heard that Yusuf/Cat Stevens had re-recorded TFTT I wasn't sure what to expect. I've heard artists re-record their songs years later and they've sounded generic, dated and bland. This isn't the case with this album.
Where do the children play was the first 'single' released from the album, and to hear a 72 year old Cat sing this song from that perspective makes the song even more sombre and the accompanying video is fantastic. (Another reminder of everything that is ecologically wrong in the world today.) The same can be said for "Father & Son"... to duet with his younger self from a live 1970 recording is genius. It is just as good as the original, and I'm starting to prefer the new version.
"On the road to find out" was one of my least favourite songs on the original album. I found at just over 5 minutes long it just dragged on. The new version, for me, is one of the standout tracks. I prefer the new arrangement in it's 'minor' key especially along with it's music video.
But I might Die Tonight was always one of my favourite songs, but at just under 2 minutes long I felt it was too short. When i first heard the reimagined version it blew me away.... I had it on repeat...playing loud. For what may have been just a 'tucked away album track' for many, it now stands out on its own as a very powerful song. With it's welcoming additional lyrics in the last minute. It's definitely one of the strongest songs on the album.
I really didn't know what to think of Wild World when I first heard... it's starting to grow on me, but I was expecting it be on the same lines musically as the Mandela concert from 2003, with its tribal chants and pounding drums.... but for a song that's been covered countless times I guess he wanted to do something completely different.
Tea for the tillerman will always be a classic album, and maybe in time, this new recording will also become a classic in it's own right.
OK as a lifelong Cat Stevens fan I may be a tad bias as I actually bought the original 1970 release when I was 7 and have been so looking forwards to this revamp.
Tea for the Tillerman was and is Cats masterpiece album, tea for the tillerman 2 takes nothing away from it still being a glorious rendition of timeless songs, infact its really refreshing to bring a modern twist to classics.
Personally I think the album is superb, its structure has been well thought out and the addition of electronics and seamless guitar work makes it a stunning feast of great music. Tillerman will always be a classic masterpiece and this just brings it right up to date. You won't be disappointed.
Received my copy today, and the mastering for vinyl is utterly superb -- every bit as good as the original album, although whether you prefer this version or the original is a matter of personal taste (I'm mixed and prefer the original of Wild World).
My only disappointment is that I needed to pay again for the MP3 version as, at the time of writing, it isn't part of the autorip service.
The vinyl sounds noticeably better and richer than the MP3 version (when played through the same amp), and is delivered at 256kbps rather than the maximum 320kbps.
PS. My little video was filmed for demo purposes -- don't be put off by the poor quality of my phone recording.
I received the album this morning and immediately listened to it. I have been a fan for all of the 50 years and was eager to hear this take on some of my all time favourite songs. I was not disappointed. It is an excellent album and I particularly liked and enjoyed Miles From Nowhere, On the Road to Nowhere and Father and Son. What a great concept to have Yusuf as the father contrasted with Cat as the son. Inspired. But. The album in general lacks the emotion of the original. Yusuf still has a fine voice and hold his own, but he now sounds like he has somewhat lost the urgency power and passion I have always heard in Cat Stevens. I am not unhappy to have TFTT2, but I still very much prefer the original. Thank you Cat / Yusuf Stevens for all the music.