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Yusuf / Cat Stevens 'The Laughing Apple' stretches back to pre-Tillerman days / Consequence of Sound

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The forward slash in Yusuf / Cat Stevens' billing says quite a lot about the folksinger's return to conventional Western recording and performing over the past decade. With each album, Yusuf seemed to have one paw scratching about the musical alleyways of ‘70s icon Cat Stevens while the other foot stood bare at the foot of a prayer mat, drawing inspiration from a different type of spiritual well. An Other Cup (2006), Roadsinger (2009), and Tell ‘Em I'm Gone (2014) often found him reaching back to repurpose old works, composing new songs about life's curious journey, and even employing Islamic theology in his songwriting – occasionally, the artist on either side of the slash appearing to be the odd man out. Now, with The Laughing Apple, that paw stretches even further back into the pre-Tillerman days, and yet never has the pilgrim and pop star sounded more in harmony.

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