SP 4280 Tea For The Tillerman
Produced by Paul Samwell-Smith
Released on November 23, 1970
UK CHART POSITION #20 . . . US CHART POSITION #8 . . . GOLD RECORD (5/12/71), 3x PLATINUM (1/30/01)
Find it at GEMM
SP 4280 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

T ea for the Tillerman is quintessential Cat Stevens, containing such classics as “Wild World” and “Hard Headed Woman.” The lyrics may be steeped in the ideology of the ‘70s, but the music is far too inventive and engaging to ever grow outmoded. Playing guitar and keyboards, Stevens and second guitarist Alun Davies achieve a delicate interplay (augmented by Del Newman’s strings) that avoids the pomposity found in the work of Jethro Tull and Genesis. Stevens’ is a gentle muse, letting his emotions spill over occasionally with emphatic phrasings on “Where Do the Children Play?” and “Hard Headed Woman,” but rhythms and not volume are his exclamation point. Tea for the Tillerman is arguably his prettiest album, with “Sad Lisa” and “Into White” two of his prettiest songs. If it’s tinged with melancholy, there are positive messages on “On the Road to Find Out” and “Father and Son” that provide some answers to life’s problems. Stevens has an ear for melodies and unconventional rhythms that can stand up against anyone, something that Peter Gabriel was quick to borrow for his own band, Genesis. Because the songs are shorter, this music wasn’t considered part of the progressive rock movement, but it belongs there as much as the music of Traffic and others. If the themes are humble and spiritually informed, the music is an artful messenger. On the more practical side of things, the record also benefits by placing the best tracks up front. Of minor interest, two of the tracks from this album appeared in since-forgotten films: “But I Might Die Tonight” was featured in Deep End, “Father & Son” in Revolussia.

SP 4280 back cover SP 4280 generic A&M sleeve
SP 4280 back cover SP 4280 generic A&M sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. WHERE DO THE CHILDREN PLAY?    3:48
  2. HARD HEADED WOMAN    3:42
  3. WILD WORLD    3:15
  4. SAD LISA    3:39
  5. MILES FROM NOWHERE    3:30
  6. BUT I MIGHT DIE TONIGHT    1:51
  7. LONGER BOATS    3:07
  8. INTO WHITE    3:23
  9. ON THE ROAD TO FIND OUT    5:07
  10. FATHER AND SON    3:36
  11. TEA FOR THE TILLERMAN    1:00

    All songs by Cat Stevens

CREDITS

CAT STEVENS -- vocals, guitar, keyboards, front illustration
HARVEY BURNS -- drums
ALUN DAVIES -- 2nd guitar
JOHN RYAN -- bass
Del Newman -- string arrangements
John Rostein -- solo violin
Shep -- photograph

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK November 23, 1970 Island LP ILPS-9135 gatefold cover
US/CAN November 1970 A&M LP SP 4280  
AUS'L/NZ   Island LP SIL934028 gatefold cover
BRA 1971 Island LP 410000  
FRA   Island LP 6405008  
GER/NET   Island LP 85678XOT/IT gatefold cover
AUS'L   Island LP L34028  
MEX 1977 Island LP LA-013 gatefold cover
UK January 1978 Island LP ILPM-9135  
US 1984 Mobile Fidelity LP/LPQ MFSL/MFQR-1-035 original master recording,
avail. in quadrophonic
US   A&M LP/CD/CS SP/CS 4280  
BRA 1986 Island LP 7647186  
US 1990 Mobile Fidelity CD UDCD-519 original master recording, gold disc
GER/NET   Island LP 842 352 digital remaster, 180g vinyl
US May 2000 Island CD 546 884 digital remaster
UK 2000 Island CD IMCD 268 digital remaster

 

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