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Reviews: Cat Stevens: Tea for the Tillerman

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Reviews: 9

Review by Discspinner October 16, 2011 (4 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Another kudo for Analog Productions.

Before he was Yusuf Islam and after he was born Steven Demetre Georgiou, he was Cat Stevens. The name "Tea for the Tillerman" suggests a moment of reflection after a hard day's work and I think this sacd lives up to that nicely. Most of the songs are on the slowish side and the arrangements typically consist of a few instruments: acoustic guitar, piano, bass (is the bass player using a bow on 'Wild World?'), drums and I think one place where there are violins.

I can't find anything to complain about; the instruments sound very acoustic and natural. In fact, take away the occasional multi-tracked vocals and this would have been an "unplugged" album. There is no heavy handedness involved in the remaster, there doesn't seem to be any spectral manipulation, but I have to wonder how this is so when there is no hiss noticable to my ears. When you take that out don't you have to put something back in?

Strong material as well. I don't find any weak songs on this.

This is beautiful, understated, natural, and recommended.

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Review by John October 20, 2011 (1 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This was played way too much around me when it came out in the early 70s. I got sick of hearing it. After having only heard the occasional song played since, I looked forward to this remaster.

The feeling of immediacy is very strong. The details of Cat's singing and the tiny details of instrumental playing are clear. I keep hearing more detail on each replay.

One of the very best SACDs of a 1970s recording I've heard.

Congratulations to both the original recording engineers for capturing the performances so well and to the SACD transfer engineers for the quality of their work.

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Review by montejay October 27, 2011 (1 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I have enjoyed this album for decades and have listened to it on many formats. My favorite digital (I'm 100 digital myself but sorry guys, the mofi vinyl is stunning) has been the original AM+ series. Last night I compared the two versions.

The difference was pretty obvious.The sacd had more detail and organic feel then the original press which I found surprising. I feel it has to do with the tone this sacd has. You will here it in his voice.I haven't heard it bettered digitally before. It is pretty impressive as I got thoughly absorbed in the album from start to finish.

I'm very happy to add this now in my collection

Regards,

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Review by Kikke November 13, 2011 (5 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I didn't know this album prior to buying this one so I've nothing to compare it with sonically. I didn't know Cat Stevens music very well to be honest. That being said what strikes me about this SACD are the very natural dynamics. It's hard to believe that these wide dynamics came from a tape. There isn't a trace of compression to be found on the entire album. The voice sounds so natural. The difference between the soft passages and the louder outbursts are simply breathtaking. Why don't they record all music like this? This is not a smooth processed modern age recording. This is the real thing including some imperfections in the singing making it a pleasure to listen to. This is music made by humans instead of something processed by a computer.
I already knew and liked 'Wild World' and 'Father and Son' but the rest of the album is equally good IMHO.

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Review by Gmat25 November 23, 2011 (1 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Very impressed with this SACD. Just received it yesterday and compared it to my MFSL gold disc. The SACD is cleaner, warmer, and simply breathes better; whereas the gold disc seems darker and more veiled. I tend to opt for surround SACD's, but as far as stereo goes this disc has excellent sonics. Its exciting to have more SACD's coming our way. Would love to see Teaser and the Firecat next :)

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Review by Jomama! February 12, 2012 (3 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I went to my local record store today, intent on bringing home a new SACD to listen to. I'm relatively new to the world of SACD, having bought a Marantz SA8003 when my regular CD player bit the bust.

I ended up bring home 'Tea for the Tillerman', even though I already had the MFSL gold disc, which I really like. Of course, I compared the two.

Overall, the SACD sounds great. The dynamics are superb, and the clarity of the individual instruments is astounding. There are subtleties and nuances in Cat's vocals that just don't translate on the MFSL disc.

I do think that some of the louder, more 'emotive' vocal parts sound slightly harsh on the SACD, as if the SACD reveals more limitations of the source material. The MFSL disc has an overall 'mellower' sound and seems to blend in these passages with the other instruments a little better.

That said, the MFSL disc sounds great and gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling, but the SACD grabs my attention and makes me catch my breath. It's more dynamic, has better separation, and seems more like the music is being performed right off of the disc.

I had forgotten how much I love this album.

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Review by analogue May 31, 2012 (3 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I m pretty sure lovers of classic folk/ rock were excited by this sacd release. I sure was. This particular Cat Stevens album is very musically excellent all the way through.

Upon my first couple of listens I was fairly impressed with the sound. I felt perhaps that there was a certain smoothness that was odd but by and large I enjoyed what I was hearing.

After several more listens I began to notice some sonic problems with this release however. I hate to be the bringer of bad tidings but we are here to review new music are we not?

I think basically the problem is with the original tape source. When there is an increase in volume to Stevens voice the sound becomes pinched and strained. I have several classical sacds where the actual recording of a voice or instruments is flat lined and hardened by the microphone capture. This is what I am hearing on this sacd. I'm not blaming Mr. Marino as I generally like his mastering. But the hardness is there especially as volume is increased. And ofcourse the volume must be as there is no compression on this disc.

The other thing is the extra smooth, almost artificial buttery smoothness of Cat's voice and also the overall sound on this sacd. It seems a tad unnatural. Perhaps this too is a problem with the source tapes. Who can say??
Hey....Ill bet most people wont even detect what im talking about anyway. So no worries.

This is is still an excellent disc to purchase and the music is simply top notch and has stood the test of time. The sound quality is still very, very good.

Recommended.

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Review by Italian Stallion August 8, 2013 (3 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
No, this is not a good sounding disc. In fact, after owning the original Island CD and MFSL CD this SACD is without a doubt the worst of the bunch. In multiple places, it is harsh and "digital".

They claim to have used the master tapes, but so did MFSL & the AP vinyl, so there must have been some terrible EQ choices made for this SACD. Some songs are worse than others, which makes it even more frustrating.

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Review by lenw September 6, 2013 (1 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is another excellent uncompressed Analogue Productions SACD sourced from the original analogue master tape with good dynamics, body, and presence. While Cat Stevens vocals are dominant at times, I certainly don't hear pinching, straining, or hardening. I would characterize the recording as analogue sounding, which of course it is.

And frankly I cannot understand how anyone can hear a bad sounding disc. Although I haven't heard the RBCD's referred to the critique, I doubt seriously those discs are equal to this SACD given a solidly setup and resolving audio system.

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