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Cat Stevens – Tea for the Tillerman (1970)

March 26, 2013

Tea_for_the_Tillerman_jpeg[Album 162/1001]

From The Simpsons episode titled Old Yeller Belly:
Kent Brockman
: Mr. Simpson, how long have you been a cat person?
Homer: All my life, Kent, I preferred Catsup to Ketchup, and to me, Yusuf Islam will always be Cat Stevens.

I love Technotronic’s Move This, likely because of the fond childhood memories the song evokes.

Recently, a friend (and fellow complete-an-initially-daunting-task-within-a-specified-timeframe enthusiast) praised Tea for the Tillerman for bringing back similar memories.  I’ll extrapolate from this extremely limited data set and predict that she is far from alone.

The difference with our respective childhood memory musical triggers?  Even if you didn’t grow up with Tea for the Tillerman, the magic is still there hearing it for the first time in 2013.  (Conversely, what are the odds of Move This one day being preserved in some sort of Recording Archives as a historically significant musical achievement?  So you’re telling me there’s a chance…)

As with a lot of classics, I didn’t realize how much of this record I already knew.  The oft-covered Wild World, the stellar penultimate track Father and Son, and most surprisingly for me, the title track.

Thanks to the closing credits of the underrated show, Extras, I’d heard Tea for the Tillerman several times recently.  Although the reference is becoming somewhat obsolete, need a one minute song to fill up time on a mix tape/cd?  Problem solved!

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From → 1970s

15 Comments
  1. I love this album. I only own two Cat albums and this is one!

  2. That’s quite the extrapolation. I enjoy that. 🙂

    And note taken for my next Mix Tape. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Nice write-up. I own everything by Cat, and this one is rightfully revered. My favorite is still the underappreciated “Mona Bone Jakon,” but you can’t go wrong with most of his albums and it’s hard to argue about “Tea For The Tillerman” being his defining work.

    • The other Cat Stevens album I own is apparently Teaser and the Firecat. Great album.

      • You own two great ones, Mike. I think those are his most popular. He went on to do a concept album and an album with an 18-minute side-long suite, so it’s clear that he wasn’t just another typical singer-songwriter.

      • What I’d like to get, and what didn’t exist back when I worked at the record store, is a greatest hits album with “all the songs I like”. Heheh. I should check and see what’s come out since then.

      • I know there’s a really good “Greatest Hits” album that’s been around since the late-70s or early-80s, and it’s probably been remastered. I believe it was released after his last 70s album, before he denounced his worldly possessions and became a Muslim. He’s released a few comeback albums over the last decade that are all excellent, but that “Greatest Hits” should suffice. There’s also the excellent 4-CD “On The Road To Find Out” box set, if that’s not too much Cat for you.

      • You know what my difficulty is? I really want the song, “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out”. Checking wikipedia, it’s on Greatest Hits vol 2. Maybe buying 1 and 2 would be a good strategy for me.

      • I never got GH2 because I already owned his catalog, but for a number of years I didn’t own that song (which is one of his best). I knew it from the movie “Harold And Maude” and was thrilled to get it when I bought the aforementioned box set. I think your plan of getting both volumes of his GH should meet your needs.

      • Ooh there’s also a 2 CD set called Cat Stevens Gold that seems to have a bit of everything!

      • Didn’t realize Cat was part of that series. I have several of those Gold compilations for artists that I don’t need to own everything, and they’re usually well-chosen and sound great. And they’re usually reasonably priced. Nice find.

  4. Good info on his discography – that 18 minute sidelong suite sounds promising. The title track was such a brilliant way to end this record – it definitely left me wanting more. And now I know which other ones to explore, thanks!

    • Glad you enjoyed Tea For The Tillerman so much. It’s so nice to see Cat Stevens getting so much respect now after years of his music being forgotten or avoided because of misinformation about his personal life. He’s such a unique talent.

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