Can you believe that it is just a mere five weeks until his first ever concert tour to South Africa!? Cannot. Wait!
Yusuf / Cat Stevens, one of the most influential singer-songwriters of all time, has just released his highly anticipated new album, The Laughing Apple under his Cat-O-Log Records logo exclusively through Decca Records, the same label that launched his career 50 years ago. It is available here in SA at Musica.
The Laughing Apple follows the common ‘60s template of combining newly-written songs with a number of covers – except that all the covers are from Yusuf’s 1967 catalogue. The Laughing Apple celebrates some of his earliest material, presenting the songs as he has always wished they had been recorded.
“There are some I always wanted to hear differently,” he explains. “Many of my earlier recordings were overcooked with big band arrangements. They crowded the song out a lot of times.”
The Peace Train Tour opens in Johannesburg with a sold out concert at the Ticketpro Dome on Wednesday, 8 November 2017, followed by a second concert on Thursday, 9 November 2017 and finishes on Wednesday 15 November 2017 at Durban’s ICC Arena.
Yusuf produced The Laughing Apple with Paul Samwell-Smith, the original producer behind Yusuf’s landmark recordings, including 1970’s Tea for the Tillerman, which contained the classics ‘Wild World’ and ‘Father and Son’. That multi-platinum album became a benchmark of the singer-songwriter movement, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has named it one of the definitive albums of all time.
The Laughing Apple takes listeners to that little garden where the Tillerman sat under the tree, with a charming new illustration by Yusuf. That picture harks back to Tillerman’s younger days when he worked as an apple-picker. Yusuf also has illustrated each of the 11 songs on The Laughing Apple in his naive style, resembling a storybook — for those whose hearts have never really grown old.
When all things were tall, And our friends were small, And the world was new“ Those words of Cat Stevens’ Silent Sunlight now seem to reflect most accurately the sentiments of The Laughing Apple. ‘Mighty Peace’ is the first inspired song Yusuf wrote while still beating the folk-club path in London during the early ‘60s. The song laid fallow for more than 50 years, and, with a newly added verse, finally has made it onto an album.
‘Mary and the Little Lamb’ reflects a similar story: it is an unreleased song that existed only on an old demo, and it also has a new verse. ‘Grandsons’ updates ‘I’ve Got a Thing About Seeing My Grandson Grow Old’, which now has hung around long enough to fulfill its biographical destiny. (Yusuf is the beloved grandfather of eight little grandkids.) The original version appeared for the first time on the 2000 edition of The Very Best of Cat Stevens.
Other highlights of The Laughing Apple include new versions of ‘Blackness of the Night’, ‘Northern Wind (Death of Billy the Kid)’, ‘I’m So Sleepy’ and the title track, four songs that appeared in their original incarnations on New Masters, a 1967 album largely unknown in the US. The album also contains ‘You Can Do (Whatever)’, a song originally intended for the film ‘Harold and Maude’ that remained unfinished until now. Check it out HERE
2017 is a milestone marking 50 years of Yusuf / Cat Stevens’ amazing musical history. In 1967, Decca released his debut album, Matthew and Son, on its Deram Records subsidiary.
A recipient of The World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates’ Man of Peace award and the World Social Award, Yusuf continues to support charities such as UNICEF, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Tree Aid through The Yusuf Islam Foundation in the UK.
Soon Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Yusuf / Cat Stevens will be performing in South Africa. Johannesburg and Durban fans are encouraged to book their concert tickets through Computicket as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
JOHANNESBURG: Wednesday, 8 November 2017 at the TicketPro Dome, 8pm SOLD OUT
Thursday, 9 November 2017 at the Ticketpro Dome, 8pm EXTRA SHOW
Computicket by calling 0861 915 8000, visit www.computicket.com or visit your nearest Computicket service centre.
Tickets: R1200, R1000 R850, R650, R450