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I Love My Dog / Matthew And SonOn September 27th of this year, Yusuf / Cat Stevens, took to the most sacred stage in Nashville to awe the sold-out Ryman Auditorium crowd with his persistent musical transcendence. The day prior, Yusuf took to another Nashville stage entirely and performed to no one in particular - a set for himself, of two songs from his earliest days. That stage was the Third Man Records Blue Room, and that set, consisting of the A-sides from Stevens' first two singles, was recorded direct-to-acetate on our 1955 Scully lathe and is now set for release as the second offering in Third Man's Blue Room Sessions series.
With artwork by world renowned illustrator Jess Rotter, this double A-side 7 features I Love My Dog and Matthew and Son performed by Yusuf and his pared-down touring band with palpable intimacy and a rare calm in the midst of a busy world tour.1. I Love My Dog
2. Matthew And Son$6.997 Vinyl Single - Sealed Buy Now
Tell 'Em I'm Gone
First Album In Five Years From The 2014 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Inductee
10 Brand-New Recordings, Including 5 New Compositions By Yusuf
Features Collaborations With Rick Rubin, Richard Thompson, Charlie Musselwhite, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Tinariwen, And Matt Sweeney
Tell 'Em I'm Gone is the first new Yusuf album since 2009's
acclaimed Roadsinger. Recorded all over the world,
including Los Angeles, Dubai, Brussels, and London, the
album features 10 brand-new studio recordings, including five
originals and five carefully-chosen cover songs. Tell 'Em I'm
Gone features musical contributions from Richard Thompson,
blues harmonica legend Charlie Musselwhite, singer-songwriter
Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Tuareg group Tinariwen, and guitarist
Matt Sweeney, as well as production from Rick Rubin.
Each track on Tell 'Em I'm Gone is threaded together by the
themes of freedom and peace that have prevailed through more
than four decades of Yusuf's musical career. On this album,
Yusuf returns to the roots of his musical inspiration: American
blues and R&B, using these genres to explore the universality
of the desire for freedom with songs that recall the spirit of his
earliest days as a nascent singer-songwriter in London.
"What's powerful and profound, to me, is the overall message
which emerged, lyrically," Yusuf says of the new album.
"It suddenly stared me in the face: the struggle for Freedom!
My God, isn't that what most human beings dream of?
"I hope this record will help revive the spirit of Freedom
and re-kindle some of the excitement of those amazing days,
when every musical door seemed to point us a way out of our
imprisonment," Yusuf says.
Stunning originals like "I Was Raised In Babylon" and "Cat And
The Dog Trap" plus covers of blues-pop standards ("Big Boss
Man," "You Are My Sunshine") and a moving version of Edgar
Winter's "Dying To Live" find Yusuf as strong of voice and as
engaging a performer as ever before.
Having first found fame as a teenage folk singer in 1960s
England, Cat Stevens gained worldwide acclaim for his
intimate and affecting works in the 1970s. His compositions
"Wild World," "Peace Train," "Father and Son" and "Morning
Has Broken" remain staples of the folk genre. Following a
conversion to the Islamic faith in 1978, Stevens retired from
the music business to pursue important causes in the
Muslim community; 2006 saw Yusuf's celebrated return to pop
music with the album An Other Cup.1. I Was Raised In Babylon (Yusuf)
2. Big Boss Man (Luther Dixon-Al Smith)
3. Dying To Live (Edgar Winter)
4. You Are My Sunshine (Jimmie Davis-Charles Mitchell, arr. Yusuf)
5. Editing Floor Blues (Yusuf)
6. Cat And The Dog Trap (Yusuf)
7. Gold Digger (Yusuf)
8. The Devil Came From Kansas (Gary Brooker-Keith Reid)
9. Tell 'Em I'm Gone (originally "Take This Hammer," arr. Yusuf)
10. Doors (Yusuf)$24.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Roadsinger (To Warm You Through The NIght)With his reintroduction to the pop world behind him, renowned singer-songwriter Yusuf (the artist known as Cat Stevens) is ready to once again strike up an intimate relationship with his audience. After retreating from the pop stage following classic '70s multi-platinum albums such as Tea For The Tillerman and Teaser And The Firecat and acclaimed hits such as Wild World, Peace Train, Moonshadow, Morning Has Broken and Father And Son, Yusuf returned in late 2006 with his first pop album in 28 years. Now he's back again with a second album, Roadsinger (To Warm You Through The Night).
I was absent from my audience for so long, Yusuf says, people thought another album would never come. The 2006 album, An Other Cup, was a surprise. With this new album, the distance is much less. I'm back to doing what I do best, painting pictures with music and storytelling on a very human, personal, intuitive level through lyrics and song, so I can help people feel good again. I guess in some ways the new album picks up where the Cat Stevens the public knows left off.
The album, Roadsinger (To Warm You Through The Night), was produced by the now singularly named Yusuf with help from Martin Terefe (James Morrison, Jason Mraz, Martha Wainwright), and recorded around the world. Guests include Morrison, Michelle Branch and Holly Williams (granddaughter of Hank Williams, Sr.).
The new album is a response to the way An Other Cup was received, Yusuf explains. Fans said they wanted to hear more of me with a guitar. So, this album is much more folk-tale oriented. Also, apart from one track, all of it was recorded live. I listened to a lot of' '70s L.A. music, such as Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Carole King, and it inspired me to go back into that intimate style of recording. The songs are somewhat autobiographical but abstract enough so everyone can relate to them and connect them to their own lives.
The title track, Roadsinger, unfolds the tale of an outcast who revisits his old hometown; along the empty street a child peeks from behind a store window and gives an innocent smile out of the shadows of prejudice. The theme of a journey has always been big with me, says Yusuf. A journey that was unexpectedly cut short in 2004 was when Yusuf was flying from his London home to Washington, D.C., en route to a meeting with Dolly Parton, who had recorded Peace Train several years earlier and wanted Yusuf to play guitar on her cover of his Where Do the Children Play. The incident that made headlines was resolved in 2006 and Yusuf's new song Boots and Sand resulted.
There are plenty people who sing, but not enough who have walked far from their block, he says. I embraced an unexpected spiritual path that was confusing for many (converting to Islam in 1977). Sadly, I'm still often misunderstood. Some people want to put me into their own one-sided view, but I don't fit those limitations. My world is still borderless and wide. The removal of conflict and establishment of peace has always been my global objective. It's a shame that lot of people, including some Muslims, overlook the name Islam, which actually comes from the word 'Peace' in Arabic.
The forthcoming album also showcases some songs from his upcoming musical Moonshadow. The story takes place on a planet of perpetual night where only the moon's shine lights the darkness; it is about a boy's meeting with his Moonshadow and the adventures they share in search for the a world of the sunlight and happiness. As well as having many new songs, the surrealistic musical, Moonshadow also weaves classic songs from his past, including Morning Has Broken, Wild World and The First Cut Is The Deepest.
Yusuf's return to his guitar came about when his teenage artist-musician son, Muhammad (aka Yoriyos), brought one home again. One morning, Yusuf was alone in the lounge when he looked over and felt a draw of curiosity overtake him. He slowly picked it up. I put my fingers on the fretboard to make a 'C' chord, he remembers, and surprised myself, It's still there! It felt right. So I started playing again. On the forthcoming album, Yusuf even plays electric guitar on a couple of tracks, along with keyboards. This part of my career feels similar in one sense to when I began, Yusuf reflects. I had to get past the songs on Mona Bone Jakon before I could move on to Tea For The Tillerman, etc. This time around it was the same story: I laid the groundwork with my debut album, An Other Cup, which inspired a great new collection of songs and scribblings. I had quite a few in my back pocket and again it was my son who sparked the next step. He said, 'Isn't it time to start recording a new album?' And it was.
1. Welcome Home
2. Thinking 'Bout You
3. Everytime I Dream
4. The Rain
5. World O'Darkness
6. To Be What You Must
7. This Glass World
9. All Kinds Of Roses
10. Dream On (Until...)
11. Shamsia$24.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Laughing Apple (Pre-Order)The Laughing Apple celebrates the 50th anniversary of the artist's 1967 debut, Matthew and Son, and will come out on Yusuf / Cat Stevens' Cat-O-Log Records imprint, via Decca, the label he worked with back then. It also reunites him with producer Paul Samwell-Smith, who helmed Tea for the Tillerman, Teaser and the Firecat and other releases from his early-Seventies heyday.
Among the old songs that Yusuf / Cat Stevens revived and revamped for The Laughing Apple are Mighty Peace and Mary and the Little Lamb, neither of which ever made it onto an album. Four other songs, including the title track, appeared in their original forms on his 1967 LP New Masters. And You Can Do (Whatever) was originally intended for the Harold and Maude soundtrack but was left unfinished at the time. Many of my earlier recordings were overcooked with big band arrangements, he explains in a press release of his decision to revisit this material. They crowded the song out a lot of times.1. Blackness of the Night
2. See What Love Did to Me
3. The Laughing Apple
4. Olive Hill
6. Mighty Peace
7. Mary and the Little Lamb
8. You Can Do (Whatever)
9. Northern Wind (Death of Billy the Kid)
10. Don't Blame Them
11. I'm So Sleepy$25.99Vinyl LP - Sealed PRE-ORDER Buy Now
Volume 5 (Awaiting Repress)Remastered from a Cassette Copy Source
From the late 1960s until the early 1990s, a vibrant music scene in Somalia's capital Mogadishu was teeming with pop and folk musicians exploring the boundaries of regional sensibilities. With inuences spanning several genres of Somali traditional music, often meshed with Western pop, jazz and Middle-Eastern elements, a swirling diversity of sounds were being created, consumed, supported and encouraged.
Dur-Dur Band emerged during a time when Somalia's distinctive contribution to the creative culture in the Horn of Africa was visible and abundant. Thousands of recordings made at the Somali National Theatre, Radio Mogadishu and other studios, were complemented by the nightclubs at Hotel Juba, Jazeera Hotel and Hotel al-Curuuba, creating a ourishing music scene.
This recording, which was remastered from a cassette copy source, is a document of Dur-Dur Band after establishing itself as one of the most popular bands in Mogadishu. The challenge of locating a complete long-player from this era is evidenced by the delity of this recording. However, the complex, soulful music penetrates the hiss.
By 1987 Dur-Dur Band's line-up featured singers Sahra Abukar Dawo, Abdinur Adan Daljir, Mohamed Ahmed Qomal and Abdukadir Mayow Buunis, backed by Abukar Dahir Qasim (guitar), Yusuf Abdi Haji Aleevi (guitar), Ali Dhere (trumpet), Muse Mohamed Araci (saxophone), Abdul Dhegey (saxophone), Eise Dahir Qasim (keyboard), Mohamed Ali Mohamed (bass), Adan Mohamed Ali Handal (drums), Ooyaaye Eise and Ali Bisha (congas) and Mohamed Karma, Dahir Yaree and Murjaan Ramandan (backing vocals). Dur-Dur Band managed to release almost a dozen recordings before emigrating to Ethiopia, Djibouti and America.
Dur-Dur Band was considered a "private band," not beholden to government pressure to sing about political topics. They practiced a love- and culture-oriented lyricism. Government-sponsored bands like those of the military and the police forces, as well as many of the well-known folk musicians, made songs that were chiey political or patriotic in nature.
In a country that has been disrupted by civil war, heated clan divisions and security concerns, music and the arts has suffered from stagnation in recent years. Many of the
best-known musicians left the country. Music became nearly outlawed in Mogadishu in 2010. Incidentally, more than ten years after Volume 5 (1987) was recorded at Radio Mogadishu, the state-run broadcaster was the only station in Somalia to resist the ban on music briey enacted by Al-Shabab.
Dur-Dur Band is a powerful and illustrative lens through which to appreciate a facet of the incredible sounds in Somalia before the country's stability took a turn. But Somali music of all kinds continues to thrive thanks in part to the diaspora living in cities worldwide. An extensive network of news, music and video websites, along with dozens of voluminous YouTube channels, makes clear an exciting relentlessness among artists. Reports of musicians returning to Mogadishu from years abroad bodes well for the immediate future of music and expression in Somalia.1. Dur-Dur Band Introduction
5. Ilawad Cashaqa
6. Garsore Waa Ilaah
7. Aada Fududey Iga Ahow
8. Tajir Waa Ilaah
10. Amiina Awdaay
11. Dooyo$22.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now