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Yusuf/Cat Stevens “Tea for the Tillerman²” Visits The Past


You’ve forgotten the feeling of returning to an elder’s home. After a long time of living and a million life experiences your memory fades and fogs.

You remember the settee as a pale cream color but when you enter the parlor you see it’s actually a deeper beige, almost terra cotta- it’s not new, it’s exactly the same, you’re unsure of how the color changed- false memory or ravage of time.. dunno.. It’s darker.

You sit to a meal and it’s your favorite. It’s the soup to nuts of your youth you have dreamt of ever since you last were there. God damn that soup just radiated with every swallow. The texture of mash was like warm silk engulfing your senses. Comfort on a fork.

But today it’s a bit salty and there is a bit too much humidity in the air from where the steam rises from the pot. That soup is rather.. I don’t know bland? is it missing something and why, seriously, did they add tarragon- wait is that tarragon I can’t tell cuz the TV is too fucking loud- is that CNN? Jesus turn it down.

You wander to the garden and the grass is less bright and I swear I just swear that this extended back so much further- and you glance at the bushes that were tiny and now are 3ft high…

Tea For the Tillerman 2 is visiting the past. Some people expect it to be the same or improved. Some people may even impose its value. The album isn’t a time capsule. Yusuf- for he is no longer Cat, can we please respect him for that is an old uncle whose home is worn but because of love and wisdom not neglect. Yusuf has been busy living a beautiful life and is in no way the same man he was 50 years ago. He may have an ‘old man’s voice’ but he is an old man- how brave of him to share the ravage of time with us. How honored we all are.

Take this album and hear the depth of history. Convert these words to today’s world stage.

OK some of the backing vocals are ridiculously bad- that’s the only flaw I found. But otherwise – this entire album brought me to tears. It was like curling up in the big chair under a fluffy blanket with a long lost family member as they stroke your hair and you can feel them inhale and exhale and their hands are veiny and their skin is thinner but……they are THERE and so are you and everything is going to be


I got to visit an old friend and listen to them tell me what they’ve been saying all along…only now I’m older and wiser and I really “get it”.

Plus I have the tattoo…. so there’s.. That.

God I fucking love this album past and present

1 Comment

  1. Robert Nevin on September 20, 2020 at 11:18 am

    Great review, Helen! I’ve always enjoyed your music reviews. Good to see you back!

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