yusef and the old actor

It started with me finding audio from the old film Harold and Maude, soon the algorithm played Tea For The Tillerman and I remembered that movie catapulted Cat Stevens into the consciousness of zillions of people. Soon a Tea For The Tillerman rabbit hole which was enjoyable while being stuck on the 401 highway. Lots my younger ears never noticed like the low budget, no orchestra but a cello mixed loudly, acoustic guitar, upright bass, violin(s), piano, vibes and a very sparingly used drum kit entering not until the last verse, usually no snare, usually no hi hat but lots of floor tom even timpani sometimes and like Joni MItchell’s 70s records, he sings his own background vocals as if he is a separate group not just making a parallel harmony with his own vocal melody but a response melody which I find more creative. Some doubling of his lead vocal too. Listening years later, I wonder about the perspective of the younger song writer. I don’t know what he’s trying to say in Longer Boats are coming to win us “they’ll be taking the key from the door”. There’s a sort of fear of technology or the direction of society making people expendable. Is that what he means, they’ll capture the locals and confiscate their property, taking them away? I don’t get Father and Son either, like why he sings so much more emotionally in the son verses rather than as the father verses. Don’t us old guys get to be emotional too? Come to think of it, I never met men into that song, it was always Cat Steven’s female fans who got emotional about it at the summer camps I went to. Where Do The Children Play mirrors it again, technology out of control with the living, with raising kids. I like hearing Ruth Gordon’s voice when Spotify randomly brings back Harold and Maude. I like the arc of her playing a woman in a relationship with a man at least forty years her junior or later as Rosemary’s Baby satanic cult member. From her I get a sense of being ok not controlling the world and not needing to complain about it.

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