Cat Stevens Tea For The Tillerman on Numbered Limited Edition 200g 45RPM 2LP from Analogue Productions
New 200g 45RPM 2LP Pressing / Mastered from the Original Analog Tapes by George Marino at Sterling Sound
Limited to 3,500 Copies, Gold Foil Numbered
Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, Analogue Productions has upped the ante and is introducing Cat Stevens' 1970 masterwork Tea For The Tillerman on 200g 45 rpm double vinyl. If you thought the 33 1/3 version was something to behold, just wait until you hear this. AP's license to reissue this classic is nearing expiration, meaning these 3,500 copies - each gold foil numbered - will become increasingly collectible.
In 1970, Lee Hulko at Sterling Sound cut Tea For The Tillerman for A&M Records in the U.S. and Island Records in the UK using a Telefunken M10 tape machine and a Neumann VMS 66 lathe with a Neumann SX68 cutterhead. Hulko started Sterling in 1968 and was its original mastering engineer. He's considered among the first engineers to advance mastering from just transferring music from tape to lacquer to an art where attention is paid to all the details that result in better sound. AP actually found Hulko's original mastering notes from more than 40 years ago. It's incredible, but Sterling still has all of their notes filed away.
So, it was originally cut at Sterling - as were all of the early original Cat Stevens albums - and the tapes were last used at Sterling. How appropriate then that they should go back to Sterling for this monumental reissue. Using the original tapes, George Marino handled the mastering this time. He used an Ampex ATR-102 tape machine, another significant point of interest. While Ampex has long been revered for their sound, they had never made a preview version so that a mastering engineer could cut a lacquer from an Ampex machine. Mike Spitz at ATR Services made a unique preview modification for Sterling so that they could cut this record using an Ampex. Marino then used a Neumann VMS 80 lathe with a Neumann SX 74 cutterhead.
"I think we've gotten something quite a bit better than what was originally issued," Marino says. "I think this version is much more representative of what was on the tape. And that's not a criticism of what was originally done."
The widely hailed Tea for the Tillerman came only seven months after the start of his comeback with Mona Bone Jakon and its arrangements, performances and songs are all enveloped in a confident grace and lingering beauty. Stevens was able to pull off a rare feat with Tea for the Tillerman in that he was able to achieve pop accessibility without having to sacrifice artistic relevance.
The album is also noteworthy for having four of its songs "Where Do the Children Play?," "On the Road to Find Out," "Tea for the Tillerman" and "Miles from Nowhere" featured in Hal Ashby and Colin Higgins' 1971 black comedy Harold and Maude. A folk-pop landmark immediately recognized the world over by its title alone, Tea for the Tillerman has forever been and will always be an audiophile reference LP!
• New 200g 45RPM 2LP pressing from Analogue Productions
• Mastered from the original analog tapes by George Marino at Sterling Sound
• Plated and pressed by Quality Record Pressings
• Stoughton printing glossy gatefold jacket
• Limited to 3,500 copies, gold foil numbered
Cat Stevens Tea For The Tillerman Track Listing:
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