In this wild world and miles from nowhere, Judge Roy Hrab once had cream tea and scones with a tillerman.
A Classic Concert.
Back in the late 1960s and through the 1970s, Cat Stevens (real name: Steven Demetre Georgiou) was one of the most popular singer-songwriters around. He hit his prime in the 1970s with a number of hit songs and multiple records reaching "Gold" status in the United States. Songs of Stevens composed the soundtrack for the cult film Harold And Maude. Further, his music has been covered by numerous others, for example, Rod Stewart and Sheryl Crow covered "The First Cut Is The Deepest," and "Wild World" has been covered by Mr. Big, UB40, and James Blunt.
However, in 1977, Stevens converted to Islam and, in 1978, changed his name to Yusuf Islam. Not soon after, he stopped performing altogether to pursue his new faith. However, over the past few years he has made a return to the popular musical scene.
In 1970, Stevens released his most influential album: Tea For The Tillerman. On June 8, 1971, Stevens traveled to KCET Studios in Los Angeles to give a small concert. Cat Stevens: Tea For The Tillerman Live is that concert, featuring 7 tracks from the album, plus one ("Moonshadow") from his follow-up album Teaser And The Firecat. Stevens sings:
Sitting on a stool, along with a couple of band mates, what makes Stevens great is on full display. His gentle voice rolls through the program without a hitch, allowing the strengths of his songs to come through: simple, mellow lyrics and melodies that are easy to listen to and sing-a-long with. And, unlike many folk singers of the '70s, his work is not preachy or overly sentimental. "Wild World," "Father And Son," and "Hard Headed Woman" are my personal favorites among the songs here.
Of interest are the amusingly dated clothes and crowd. The small crowd, no more than 50 people, is composed largely of long-haired hippies with bad moustaches, beards, tie-dyed shirts and vests galore. Most of the crowd is sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of Cat, except for a few people in chairs and one person in a rocking chair(?!).
As a Cat Stevens fan, I must note that he does not sing the entire Tea For the Tillerman album at this concert. Unfortunately, the songs "Sad Lisa" (another favorite of mine), "But I Might Die Tonight," "Into White," and the title track, are not present.
Following the concert is the 1971 psychedelic animated short film Teaser And The Firecat that was used to promote the song "Moonshadow." The cartoon follows Teaser and his cat as they travel the world while sitting on the moon, which has fallen from the sky. The film is voiced by Spike Milligan (Yellowbeard) with, of course, Stevens singing "Moonshadow."
The video is viewable, but not great. The picture is soft, lacks detail, and the colors are faded. The audio, on the other hand, is on the money. The music sounds great.
There are no extras.
Not guilty of anything, except for being too short. Those well versed and those being introduced to Cat Stevens for the first time will enjoy this release.
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