Other Cup [Deluxe Edition]

An Other Cup [Deluxe Edition]

by Yusuf (Cat Stevens)
     
 

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The artist formerly known as Cat Stevens has gone through myriad changes in his personal and spiritual life over the 25-plus years since he last released an album, but this return to recording in the secular arena reveals a surprisingly linear artistic development. The singer-songwriter (who set aside his chosen last name of "Islam" for

Overview

The artist formerly known as Cat Stevens has gone through myriad changes in his personal and spiritual life over the 25-plus years since he last released an album, but this return to recording in the secular arena reveals a surprisingly linear artistic development. The singer-songwriter (who set aside his chosen last name of "Islam" for this release) always gave voice to his religious beliefs through compositions like "Moonshadow" and covers of traditional Christian hymns like "Morning Has Broken," so it's hardly surprising that he'd do the same with the Muslim faith he adopted in the '70s. Yet the welcoming An Other Cup is anything but dour and doctrinaire. Songs like "Maybe There's a World" and "One Day at a Time" retain the spare, folksy charm and dramatic depth of Yusuf's work circa Teaser and the Firecat, with his surprisingly youthful-sounding voice drifting dreamily over gently plucked acoustic melodies. Yusuf maintains a warm, intimate vibe even when the arrangements are busier and the lyrics more bitter than one might expect, as on a dark-hued, classically skewed cover of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" -- a clever choice, given the fact that the singer has for years been defending himself against charges that he supports terrorist activities. Longtime Cat Stevens fans will revel in his revisiting "I Think I See the Light," with a renewed energy. And while there are a few heavy-handed moments here, such as the fire-and-brimstone "In the End," An Other Cup is the sort of vessel that invites, and rewards, repeated drinks.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
OK, we'll get it out of the way: Yusuf Islam is the man who was once the internationally renowned songwriter Cat Stevens. His last recording as Stevens, released in 1978, was Back to Earth, a record full of lost and disillusioned emotions and the desire to be whole and to find something more. Now 28 years later, Islam gives listeners An Other Cup, a recording that reveals the benefits and the gifts that his conversion to the religion of Islam gave him. With co-producer Rick Nowels, old mates like guitarist Alun Davies, Jean Roussel, and bassist Danny Thompson, and new ones like Youssou N'Dour, Islam returns to the folk-pop idiom of Catch Bull at Four, the aforementioned album, and moments of Foreigner. While the production on this record is full, it feels more stripped down than most of his work. And what's so interesting is that while he may have left behind the minutely detailed searching scenarios his songs related for more spiritual and general sense impressions, it's about the only thing that's changed. His voice is warm, rich, and inviting, his melodies are as irresistible as ever, and his way of relating his experience is direct. It's true there are a lot more holistic themes on this set, deeply spiritual tomes that offer advice, but they also enthusiastically relate the benefits of what he's found. Is it preachy? Yep, a bit, but so was Bob Dylan's Slow Train Coming. That's not to equate this record in terms of its profundity, but more to say that anyone who appreciates what Stevens did in a previous life can rejoice in the subjective truths related here. Songs like "Maybe There's a World," "In the End," the horn-drenched opener "Midday (Avoid the City After Dark)," and "Greenfields, Golden Sands" are memorable and delightful for their simplicity and directness. There is also a curious cover on this set: a string-drenched arrangement of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" that's about as far from the Animals' version as one can get. It's a bit over the top, and it's more in your face than anything else here and therefore doesn't work. It's downright sappy. Otherwise, this record is a minor but pleasantly unexpected surprise. It also lends a more human face to the man's often distorted life as a devout pilgrim on his way to seeking God. Doing that in a pop setting is a tightrope walk, but Islam obviously doesn't really care, and he keeps his record free from the trappings of trying too hard. If you missed Cat Stevens, meet Yusuf Islam. On An Other Cup, he delivers what you've been waiting for. [This Deluxe Edition features the bonus track "There Is Peace (from Moonshadow)."]
Billboard - Mark Sutherland
This record is uplifting enough to satisfy even a 30-year thirst.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/13/2006
Label:
Polydor Uk
UPC:
0602517050853
catalogNumber:
1705085
Rank:
19698

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Yusuf (Cat Stevens)   Primary Artist,Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Piano,Harmonium,Keyboards,Triangle,Background Vocals,spanish guitar,Synthesizer Strings,Synthesizer Harmonica
Alun Davies   Acoustic Guitar
Ian Thomas   Drums,cowbell
Maria Vidal   Background Vocals
Martin Allcock   Mandolin,Acoustic Bass
Rusty Anderson   Electric Guitar
John Barclay   Brass
George Black   Bass,Percussion
Alec Dankworth   Acoustic Bass
Richard Edwards   Brass
Simon Gardner   Brass
Luis Jardim   Percussion
Charles Judge   Kalimba
Skaila Kanga   Harp
Greg Kurstin   Organ,Synthesizer
Mark Nightingale   Brass
Rick Nowels   Dulcimer,Acoustic Guitar,Percussion,Piano,Harmonium,Keyboards,Electric Piano,Background Vocals,keyboard bass
Tim Pierce   Electric Guitar
Jean Roussel   Vox Organ
Steve Sidwell   Brass
John Themis   Bass,Percussion,Electric Guitar,Baglama,spanish guitar
David Theodore   Brass
Gavyn Wright   Violin
Danny Thompson   Acoustic Bass
Andrew Roachford   Background Vocals
Richard Watkins   Brass
David Stewart   Brass
Peter Bradley Adams   Organ,Piano,fender rhodes,Piano (Grand)
Mehmet Can   Kanoon
Patrick Alan   Background Vocals
Wayne Handez   Background Vocals
Joyous Celebration Choir and Incwenga Voices   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Yusuf (Cat Stevens)   Producer,Engineer,String Arrangements,Brass Arrangment,Bass Arrangement,Composer,Audio Production
Gary Thomas   Engineer
George Black   drum programming
John Brough   Engineer
David Costa   Artwork
Chris Garcia   Engineer
Nick Ingman   String Arrangements,Brass Arrangment,Bass Arrangement
Garfield Jackson   String Ensemble
Charles Judge   String Arrangements
Chris Laurence   String Ensemble
Martin Loveday   String Ensemble
Rita Manning   String Ensemble
Rick Nowels   Producer,Audio Production
Anthony Pleeth   String Ensemble
Cathy Thompson   String Ensemble
Peter Lale   String Ensemble
Patrick Kiernan   String Ensemble
Boguslaw Kostecki   String Ensemble
Bruce White   String Ensemble
David Daniels [cello]   String Ensemble
Julian Leaper   String Ensemble
Everton Nelson   String Ensemble
Perry Mason   String Ensemble
Rik Simpson   Engineer
Emlyn Singleton   String Ensemble
Warren Zielinski   String Ensemble
Kieron Menzies   Engineer
Marc Marot   Management
Morven Bryce   String Ensemble
Emil Dacanay   Artwork
Qutaiba AlMahawili   Artwork
Dogan Ur   Illustrations
David Gordon   Management
George Tandero   Engineer
Gayvn Wright   String Ensemble
Christopher Tombling   String Ensemble
Peter Hanson   String Ensemble

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