Cat Stevens / Tea for the Tillerman 2

Yusuf re-records 1970 classic for its 50th anniversary

Cat Stevens / Yusuf - Tea For The Tillerman 2

Cat Stevens (now Yusuf, of course) has re-recorded his 1970 album, Tea For The Tillerman, in its entirety for the 50th anniversary of the record.

Tea For The Tillerman2 as it is called – or more dubiously T4TT2 – was recorded last year in the south of France and it benefits from the reuniting of key players from the original album –  producer Paul Samwell-Smith and Alun Davies on guitar. Other players include Bruce Lynch on bass, guitarist Eric Appapoulay, Peter Vettese on keyboards, percussionist Kwame Yeboah and Jim Cregan on guitar.

The original album is a cold-stone classic and includes the songs ‘Wild World’, ‘Father and Son’, ‘Miles From Nowhere’ and ‘Where Do The Children Play?’. You can hear the new version of the latter below.

This ‘reimagined’ version of Tea For The Tillerman comes with updated artwork. The ‘tea-time’ scene that adorned the original album, now depicts the Tillerman returning from an expedition to outer space only to discover a changed world, as the two toddlers, Grady and Timmy, play next to him streaming the latest music and games on their mobile phones.

Cat Stevens / Yusuf has the following to say about the album:

Though my songwriting adventures were never limited to Tillerman, the songs on that album certainly defined me and pointed the way for my mysterious lifes journey. Since those originative sessions in Morgan Studios, Willesden, in 1970, Tillerman has grown and developed its own gravitas and influence on music history and as the soundtrack to so many peoples lives. Like it was destiny waiting to happen, T4TT² feels like the timing of its message has arrived again.

Tea For The Tillerman2 will be released on 18 September 2020, via UMC,  on vinyl and CD.

1. Where Do The Children Play?
2. Hard Headed Woman
3. Wild World
4. Sad Lisa
5. Miles From Nowhere
6. But I Might Die Tonight
7. Longer Boats
8. Into White
9. On The Road To Find Out
10. Father And Son
11. Tea For The Tillerman

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Peter Russo

Tea for the Tillerman, along with the earlier Mona Bone Jakon and the later Teaser and the Firecat, were mostly written during the Cat’s period of convalescence from TB following his burnout from his earlier pop career. There was an introspection, stream of consciousness and, dare I say it, inspired writing from this era. This was definitely his golden era. The subsequent albums never attained the same level of spirituality. Perhaps when you fear death and look “into white” the songs “come through you.”There was certainly a clear demarcation between the two periods. The Paul Samwell-Smith-Smith production was subtle, emotive and enhanced the song. Alun Davies’ second guitar was an integral part of the songs.
Re-imaginings of classic albums feed our nostalgia and put a different face on the original for sure, but they never quite “cut it.” It introduces new listeners but it never quite captures the magic moments of the original. Perhaps the re-imagining should be viewed as an adjunct rather than a replacement. Regardless, it’s good to hear his voice again however and hear these wonderfully inspired songs yet again.

Howard Keese

The November issue of GOLDMINE has an interview with Yusuf/Cat and they mention 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe Editions of both ‘Mona Bone Jakon” and “Tea for the Tillerman” with remastered 2020 remixes, alternate takes, demos and live material.

Any insight into these releases?


Phil Cohen

In the end, either manufacturing or distribution problems meant no U.S.A. release. Though I’ve had the disc on preorder with a U.S.A. online dealer for 6 months, I had to content myself with a free download, and home-burned CD-R disc.
The record company had six months to prepare for this release. There is no excuse for a product shortage.


It’s September 30, 2020 and I have both the LP and CD from Amazon.

Ronald j. Schultz

Yusaf/cat 50 years to re,record t.f.t.t.2 is a brilliant idea . not all artists can sound as well as you.let the skeptics talk,with love&peace,Ron.


Odd that I’ve posted something like this twice and it hasn’t shown up in the comments but I find it interesting that so many of the readers here are applauding this modern day re-imagining and re-recording when Sting’s My Songs (same concept) was met with so much derision by the readers here. What are the reasons for that? Genuinely interested and not trying to start a fight. Just curious why because I loved Sting’s My Songs when so many hated it and I am not moved at all by this new Tea for the Tillerman idea (the new Where Do the Children Play sounds lifeless) and the Cat is a top 5 artist for me.


Perhaps people like Cat Stevens more than Sting (easily done)? Perhaps it’s a better album? Probably a combination of both

Martin F

Don’t know if I’ll buy this but think that Cat Stevens should be applauded for celebrating this classic album’s 50th with his efforts! These days most artists simply do the ‘reissue, repackage, repackage’ drill.
While we might prefer the original Cat Stevens from 1970…why not accept and be thankful for the Yusuf of 2020?

Mauro Costa

Because the original ‘Where do the children play’ is by far better than this awful new version.


Yep, nothing more to say :(

Rett Russell

I know it seems like a dodge for an artist to re-record one of his earlier triumphs, but I find that weathered voice reassuring, and don’t mind the nuanced instrumental differences from the original “Where Do the Children Play”.

Paul Murphy

I’ve been saying for years that it would be a great listen if Bob Dylan re-recorded his debut album, now that he himself is the grizzled, life-worn bluesman whose songs he sang as a callow youth.


T4TT2 = Tattoo?


Tea (T) for (4) the (T) Tillerman (T) 2 (2) = T4TT2

Michael Caspar

Music have a wonderful and sometimes strange power…

The Original is 50 years old and one of my alltime favorites. Father & Son was one of my first ‚five-stars‘ in my personal playlist. ‚Where do the children play?‘ is for me close behind. So I heared the new version and thought: wrong timing! The power of the original has been lost (a little bit). Especially when he sings: ‚ I know we’ve come a long way…‘ I love this part in the original for its power but now it is milder…and it works also.

The strange power of music is: you never forget a detail when you love it. 50 Years between the two versions and I will always know the differences between original and re-recording.

On one side exciting; on the other: the re-recording will never be as relevant as the original!

But it is interesting to hear what 50 years made of this album and – of course – of Cat Stevens/Yusuf.

Peter Anderson

It is without doubt a stone cold classic!

Graham Thomas

I was cynical about this when I read your post, but listening to Where Do The Children Play from a sadder, older voice has changed my mind. Will buy this for sure. Would like to think it’s an analogue recording but my cynicism is sure to make a comeback somewhere. Hopefully Teaser will get the same treatment.

Patrick Neligan

It’s amazing that more artists don’t do this. Early recordings are owned by record companies who pay nominal royalties. Assuming that the artist owns or has an interest in the publishing. A new recording is fairly cheap to produce and is all profit if self released. Jeff Lynne did this with ELOs greatest hits a few years ago. I suspect Taylor Swift will do so too. It is remarkable that bands who tour a “greatest album” don’t record it live and release it on deluxe (highly profitable) vinyl for their fans.

paul wren

Yes, an easy buy decision for me, on vinyl. It will be interesting to go back to back for comparison purposes, ie to see how his voice has changed and so on.

bruce kelso

beautiful,just what we need in this time of unrest. peace for all.

Tarek Sobh

This is great news! Thank you Paul for letting us know. I loved Yusuf’s idea of re-recording some of his old songs from New Masters. The Laughing Apple album included really good new versions of Northern Wind and Blackness Of The Night. I was hoping we would see new material from Yusuf as well, but thinking about it now, I don’t think it would be fair to replace any of the songs on this album… I believe we should expect Teaser And The Firecat next year.

Noel Tiplady

How long does it take before your comments are posted?
I never see my contributions.
Am I doing something wrong?

John McCann'.

No way do you have time for a life!I presume when a comment is posted you read the one that preceded it also?I have nothing but admiration for you!I bet you get no more than 5 hours sleep a night, but its worth it to us, but please don’t burn yourself out,,,we all love you,,

John McCann'

Yes mate I spend most of my lif in a van split shifts, weekend off,now i known wot you mean by that statement,I collect b.f.i dvds and one of the films on them is about coalminers in the 30s, I won’t get onto it, but would urge all readers to buy it,hell on earth! please buy it and think yourself very lucky

Willie M

I can vouch for this Noel, I reviewed Paul’s article and previous comments by others and found no reference to the Universal Music fire, then sent my comment. Then after it appeared I found that Tom M had raised the possible issue before I had. No conspiracy here at all.

Jason M

My fellow Tears For Fears superfan, I have a comment on Yusuf that I have written yet. I’m getting impatient, why did you not post it yet? And the question I have not yet asked about The Seeds Of Love Box? It befuddles me that you have not addressed the possible inclusion of the supposed unedited longer version of Sowing The Seeds? Forget your life, and address my comments before I write them! I know you’re better than that. In all seriousness I have trouble getting in to the new recordings of old classics. Tea is fine as is. But it’s probably going to have more soul than the Def Leppard Hysteria re-recording, that I reserve the right to judge without listening to it first.

Lawrence Geller

What, in God’s name, is on the second CD?

Mr X

Nice to see this was retweeted by Danny Baker, he has a decent number of followers and hopefully will lead to new superdeluxeedition readers!

Trevor Pugh

I think the important thing is, does Yusuf still sound in good voice and judging by the example track l would say definitely yes. I’ll probably buy it out of curiosity, to be honest, as the original album is one of my all time favourites but l wonder if, after a few plays, l’ll just go back to the original.

Tim Teipel

Noones talking about the music?
For me the new version of Where do the children go sounds too tame. But I’m looking forward for the update – still one of my favourite records of all times.

Noel Tiplady

Agreed. The new version has lost the “fire” of the original.
I’ll stick with the original.

James Last

That re-imaging was pretty awful.


I think the new artwork is kind of cornball. Any art change for the new recording should be limited to the text and maybe the placement and size of the main image a la Mofi’s OneSteps.


Imagine how people would complain if the new album had the old cover…


Far Too Expensive – an Easy pass


Tea for the Tillerman would have retailed for 37s. 6d. in 1970, which is the equivalent of about £29.90p today. £9.99p for T4TT2 sounds like a pretty good price to me.

John McCann'.

So in 1970 a new album would have been£30, a double would cost more!, people where earning buttons, so how come records sold in the million?,,in1980, just ten years later when I started buying records£3 99 was the going rate! so how much would that equate to now?,, how much would someone have to pay in 68 for the White album for example £40?

Steven Roberts

Kind of apt that this release should be flagged up on your website alongside Sting’s ‘MY songs’, since my feeling towards both is the same. Y’know – love the originals, don’t see the point of the re-recordings.

My guess is TFTT2 will be similarly be on deal-alert before too long….

Halici Arif

Hi Paul, thanks for news of this release. I hope the results are better than a recent similar attempt by Sting. Regardless, I agree that the original is a “stone-cold” classic. Perhaps you had ice cream on you r mind when you wrote you summary though?

Steve Doble

Never understood why anyone would pay extra for coloured vinyl. Still, each to his own. Personally it’s more important to me that its pressed on nice chunky vinyl and sounds good.


Is it be remastered???
I don’t see any additional track?
Are music version different from original CD?

Willie M

At first I thought it was odd for a 50th Anniversary Edition to be reimagined, but the wondered, were the original master tapes victims of the Universal Music fire of 2008?
How much potentially wonderful Super Deluxe Editions as we destined to never see or to be more accurate hear?

David Bly

Willie M and all…

As for Cat Stevens’ master tapes, it’s hard to tell.

While most of Universal Music Group’s masters from US and Canadian bands were in the US (but not ALL in California, thankfully – a few are in New Jersey), some UK masters (or 2nd generation ones) might still be in the UK.

However, the original list of missing tapes does include Cat Stevens. It also oddly includes Elvis Presley, who recorded only for RCA, except for his early Sun recordings – so maybe they somehow got those.

Interestingly , there was a court filing in LA in February which I never heard about. Linked below is a story, and a PDF of the actual court filing where UMG claims
just 19 (NINETEEN) artists whose original master recordings “were affected” by the fire!!! (see the bottom of page 2 & and the top of page 3 of the PDF).

Later down (pages 9 & 10) there are specific mentions about certain artists’ tapes, but Cat is not one of them.

So who the feck knows at this point?

Universal Music Accused of “Gamesmanship” Over Lost Recordings




David Bly

An addendum to my previous post. While mentioning the above story to a friend, he found a subsequent story and a subsequent court ruling. So for the sake of completeness, here is that info….

Universal Music Defeats Legal Claims Over Destroyed Recordings in Fire




David Binder

Listen to the reimagined version of “Where Do the Children Play” provided above…it’s very different. Not sure whether I prefer it to the original, but it’s certainly an intriguing alternate look at one of his most iconic songs. It certainly whets my appetite for this. It’s like John Martin did with No Little Boy, reimagining, if not a complete album, a number of well known classics from his earlier years (“Solid Air,” “Man in the Station,” etc).

Sometimes you CAN go back!

Tim Barton

It would have been interesting to see it packaged alongside the original remastered. What plans are there for something like a new run of remasters from Universal, if any? Just curious.

Tom M

“What plans are there for something like a new run of remasters from Universal, if any? Just curious.”
I’d say highly unlikely. Cat Stevens was one of many artists whose master tapes went up in smoke at Universal. Maybe that’s why he re-recorded this album.

Matthew C G Green

But how limited IS that blue vinyl version?


Would normally have jumped in at the blue vinyl but quite a hike in price so a miss for me


thesoundofvinyl.com and recordstore.co.uk have an exclusive coloured (Blue) vinyl version for release £25.99 + postage.


Hi Guys
Udiscovermusic have a blue vinyl pressing of this:-
This vinyl edition comes pressed on 180g (heavyweight) blue vinyl in a 12″ gatefold compostable resealable clear bag with a 304 x 618 double-sided poster, all printed on recycled paper stock.



The blue vinyl version on Universal is £25.99 whereas the black vinyl version is only £15.99 on the same site. The weight (180g) is the same, packaging is the same and the poster is the same.

£10 difference for exclusivity?! The start of an obscene expansion of the ‘Let’s charge people more for a different colour vinyl’ strategy that crept in a few years ago?

Ridiculous rip off.

Alan Sargeant

Yes I agree completely – coloured vinyl used to mean a limited run of the same product for the same price but obviously the vinyl being in a different colour to the standard black ( which lets not forget is a kind of colour itself !) but now it seems like a licence to print money. One rushes to buy these ‘limited editions’ only to find years down the line they are still available but for less money in sales etc ‘Wings – Greatest Hits’ being a prime example. I preordered the Wings album as I had to have it in blue vinyl and thought it was a limited edition….I still see it in sales for half the price I paid even now years later ….this is not the spirit of coloured vinyl.


Yeah doesn’t seem to be a limited run, just a tenner more for the blue vinyl. I’m so glad the Cat is back though so will just settle for the black vinyl which ya a great price. Wish he’d do some limited litho prints of his album artwork mind. Quite surprised to here that the new version of ‘Children’ is sounding fantastic!


Yet, you do not have to buy the blue vinyl, so no “rip off”. See how this works.



There is a podcast in Germany made by three guys of the younger vinyl collectors generation (they’re all between 35 and 40 now, so used to cds when growing up) where they clearly state that to them the colour of the records (and the sleeve art) is more important than the music on those when making buying decisions.

So printing music on coloured vinyl in limited quantities seems like a license to print money nowadays…