‘Tea for the Tillerman’ Part 2 (of 3)
Let’s make this post ‘Tea for the Tillerman‘ Part 2. And you can expect this to be a 3 – part blog post.
The new, RE-RECORDED album from Yusuf / Cat Stevens is scheduled for RELEASE on September 18th, 2020. In my last blog post, Tea for the Tillerman – 50 years later, I had a wonderful time listening to the REMASTERED version of ‘Tea for the Tillerman’ while considering the album cover.
However, I thought I was listening to the new RELEASE of the RE-RECORDED album, rather than the REMASTERED version of the original RELEASE. The music sounded great to me, and arguably I was more focused on the cover album and the story.
Yusuf / Cat Stevens Tea
Well, I heard from a few readers, including Team Yusuf / Cat Stevens, in Dubai. Thank you all for setting me straight!
- The deer in the background is actually a woman—the same woman bringing the rain and mentioned in Tea for the Tillerman. Obvious now when I look closer, but can you see a deer if you squint?
- Tillerman is a farmer or someone who tills the soil. I thought as much, and it is nice to have the details confirmed.
- The tea in the Tillerman’s mug is an English Breakfast Blend. Prepared as Yusuf enjoys “brewed strong with a cardamom pod dropped in, taken sweet with a dash of milk.” That’s what is in his cuppa.
- Tillerman’s single front tooth refers to his (and Yusuf’s) love of sweet things.
Cool, I gladly stand corrected! And enlightened. I always want to know how people take their tea for this Sip Locally blog.
As for the upcoming album due September 18th, there is new artwork. Though, more accurate might be a revised or remastered album cover. The obvious difference is the rich shade of blue connoting nighttime. I’ll wait for the album to share my thoughts on the new cover art. The music will no doubt, guide my art inspiration.
Besides, I have since learned the producer and nearly all of the musicians are back with Yusuf to rerecord the album. Even cooler!
Tea for the Tillerman Part 2 Album Art
Similarly, here is a nugget about the album
“50 years have passed and the Tillerman has returned back to Earth from his intergalactic adventures, only to discover the world is in need of love and friendship more than ever. Always the optimist, he brews a magnificent tea, ready for those who want to join in creating a moment of calm.”
A nice thought, any moment of calm in these turbulent times.
Thanks again, and stay tuned.
Yusuf / Cat Stevens Tea?
The songs sound great, Yusuf sounds great, and the lyrics of Tea for the Tillerman are so familiar they reflexively bring memories to mind. But what struck me was my interest in the album cover.
I listen to music, but I rarely have any interest in album, song, or track art. Whatever it is called these days. Was this some other instinct from long ago?
Actually, I remembered that Yusuf / Cat Stevens was not only a singer-songwriter 50 years ago, but also an illustrator. So, I wanted to see what he sent out into the world with these songs.
Album Cover Art
I have not spent so much time examining an album cover in a very long time. Of course, “Tea” attracted me at first. But what kind of tea? Perhaps the lyrics offered some clues, so I listened to the familiar songs as I sought significance from the cover.
Remember, ‘tea’ also refers to the meal taken at the end of the day. Glynis and her husband taught me that term, and they still use ‘tea’ to refer to many of their meals. Tea is more than Tea.
But on the album cover, the ‘Tillerman’ has a teapot to go with his mug on the table. Then some milk and sugar, it seems. Is the Tillerman waiting to be served his tea?
A tiller-man refers to a person steering a boat or a farmer tilling the soil. Also, the person that steers the back of a fire truck or holds a ladder.
My guess with the deer in the background is either a farmer or this guy could be ferrying things across a river or lake. Perhaps this is how he is paid for his services? Isn’t that how we are all compensated, with food and drink for the work we do?
Further, the hat seems less a farmer’s cap and more of a dock hand’s cap, with a feather of either massive significance or just something that was found along the way?
What’s in the Tillerman’s Cuppa?
My guess is the milk is fresh from a morning milking. The ‘Big Guy’ could be lactose intolerant. Soaking oats, then straining them for a bit of creaminess with his tea, is not that far off or out of the question. What if he farms oats?
The giant sun is up, and so this is midday or late afternoon. With the kids climbing a tree, the tillerman looks happy. Are these his children? Perhaps his wife left the kids with him as she went about a chore.
The only thing I can’t explain is the gorgeous white tablecloth perfectly fitting the table. It seems like a special occasion, but I can’t make that fit. I guess that it could have been easier for Cat to draw a covered table rather than trying to illustrate a seated Tillerman?
Or, what if the Tillerman has been working a nearby plot of land that may have been in his family for a few generations? And recently, the acreage was purchased, retiring the laborer to a life of luxury. And with silver in his beard, maybe he is looking after his grandkids?
That might explain the white tablecloth, and this is how he spends his days now. He will be served ‘tea’ to go with his Darjeeling. Or if this is a cuppa green tea, I would guess an Organic Sencha rather than a fruited Goji Green or an Organic Strawberry Smile.
Tea for the Tillerman Lyrics
The album ends with a concise song I did not remember, ‘Tea for the Tillerman.’ A bit of a clue in the opening…
“Bring tea for the Tillerman,
Steak for the Sun
Wine for the woman who made the rain come…”
Okay, so a farmer waiting for his meal?
I have to do this more often. I really enjoyed gazing at this album art while listening to these classics. The album cover for Tea for the Tillerman holds up as well as the music.
Thank you again, Yusuf / Cat Stevens