Yusuf: Tell 'Em I'm Gone

Seventies star teams with Rick Rubin, puts some grit in his folk

Yusuf Credit: Paul Harries

The former Cat Stevens recently released a memoir, and his first album in five years often feels like it should've been included with copies of the book: "I was born in the West End/In the summer of '48," he sings on "Editing Floor Blues," in which he describes his conversion experiences with rock & roll and, later in life, Islam. With Rick Rubin co-producing, there's a bluesy toughness to the anti-capitalist jeremiads "Big Boss Man" and "Gold Digger," while "Cat & the Dog Trap" recalls the simple folky prettiness and direct, easeful messages that made him a Seventies icon. "God made everything just right," he sings on the laid-back highlight "Doors."