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Cat Stevens' Guitar: Premiere Fan Guitar Tabs


Leonard McCoy
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  • 2 weeks later...

Two Fine People (1975)

The original 1975 studio recording, which shortly aired on radio networks, didn’t age well due to fairly weak instrumental arrangement with mostly keyboards and synthesizers employed. That the song was written on and for guitar can perhaps best be glimpsed at from Steve’s various life performances of this piece on the Majikat Earth Tour in 1976, where he performed the song several times improving upon the original studio recording. This guitar tab takes the live version into account. In terms of composition, while this song is based on “Wild World,” as Steve has stated multiple times on stage, it quickly trails off into its own direction.

Edited by Leonard McCoy
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  • 2 weeks later...

Can't Keep It In (1972)

Clocking in at fourty hours, the time spent on the recording of this one album track was enormous. Co-guitarist Alun Davies went even so far to say, “It hung like a cloud over us for ages. I nearly went mad. I’d go out of the studio, pace up and down and end up banging my head against the coffee machine out of sheer frustration. I couldn’t see anything wrong with the first take, but I was really impressed that, after all that time we spent on it, Steve could still make it better.” Guitars and vocals were recorded in the upstairs studio at Morgan Studios, London, while for some reason for the recording of Gerry Conway’s drums the musicians had to transfer to the downstairs studio. For the metallic sound at end of the song, Steve threw a miked up metal tea tray from the canteen at the floor, the timing of which was so difficult to get down that the effect alone took a couple of takes. In terms of playing the song makes excessive use of palm-muting in a percussive rhythm which takes some getting used to.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've been doing some house-keeping on some of the older guitar tabs that I revisited for a touchup.

Thinking ‘Bout You (2009)

https://catstevensguitar.wordpress.com/yusuf-songs/thinking-bout-you/

A gorgeously descending base line makes this song a pleasure to play, and listen to, on guitar. Best played fingerstyle with thumb and index finger only, swinging the latter like a pendulum. An ideal song to play for the L-body style Gibsonists out there!

 

One Day at a Time (2006)

https://catstevensguitar.wordpress.com/yusuf-songs/one-day-at-a-time/

The composition is very sophisticated, yet simply sublime. First-time players will enjoy the arpeggios and its spiel on alternate or descending bass notes.

 

Miles from Nowhere (1970) - for guitar

https://catstevensguitar.wordpress.com/tea-for-the-tillerman-1970/miles-from-nowhere/

“Miles” very much reflects the stage where Cat stood at the time on his spiritual, self-seeking journey after his reconvalescence from tuberculosis. The song’s arrangement is typical Tillerman, with Cat singing and playing guitar, but a prominent, Floyd Cramer-like piano (also Cat) was being added later on in the recording process which would prove to be the driving force in stage performances of this song along with a 12-string guitar accompaniment.

 

Edited by Leonard McCoy
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  • 3 weeks later...

A new guitar tab with a classical touch inside:

Here Comes My Wife (1968)

After his contracting, and subsequent convalescing from, tuberculosis Steve apparently did one more recording session with Mike Hurst in 1968. The arrangement is the usual bombastic big band sound Hurst prescribed Steve during his entire time with the Dekka label. Steve was heavily influenced by classical music and musicals (e.g., the fanfare intro he wrote for this is inspired by Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture”), so the arrangement is not entirely unfitting, although one has to wonder how a tamer instrumentalization might have impacted the more petite lyrics. Much less so than in his later works, the lyrics here already contain so-called universal mini-truths (“It just makes him better to be there.”) that would prove to be invaluable for pop songs such as this to better stand the test of time.

 

Edited by Leonard McCoy
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  • 3 months later...

I started this guitar tab in 2006 but must have quickly given up (the intro and bridge parts are difficult to figure out) realizing it went way over my head. Fourteen years later and I managed somehow. Life doesn't seem so bad.

Best played on a J-180/185, J-45 or L-00.

Heaven / Where True Love Goes (2006)

The intro and outro of “Heaven” are pure acoustic heaven and played by Steve on a classical guitar no less; the middle part is very upbeat. For this song, Steve took inspiration from the “Heaven” part of his “Foreigner Suite”, a set of songs more firmly coupled together than he might think and touring through a variety of musical genres. The intimate chords Steve used for this piece (transcribed here as played by Steve on guitar) are quite rare to see for this stringed instrument in standard tuning and definitely take some getting used to when playing (cf. fingering at bottom).

Edited by Leonard McCoy
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1 hour ago, Leonard McCoy said:

I started this guitar tab in 2006 but must have quickly given up (the intro and bridge parts are difficult to figure out) realizing it went way over my head. Fourteen years later and I managed somehow. Life doesn't seem so bad.

Bravou - I still lean on your spells when heading into the instrumental maze of Oh Very Young. . 

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  • 9 months later...
Posted (edited)

A new guitar tab:

Moonstone (1967)

The classical influences in this almost Middle Eastern fiction, which is similar to the tale of Aladdin’s lamp, are felt the clearest in the intro. Cat was having fun with lyrics and storylines at the time. That he lived right around the corner of the British Museum certainly had some influence here. The song is very upbeat and has the prescribed Decca Big Band sound new for the time, but Cat’s composition and, to an extend, the song structure are actually more complex beneath the surface. The key change in the second chorus heightens suspense, and the song ends on a drawn-out outro. We have tried to adapt the song to a playing style on guitar that would mirror Cat’s in theory.

 

Edited by Leonard McCoy
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Posted (edited)

A new guitar tab and something a little different:

The Wind East and West (2007 version)

This song first debuted in 2006 in Abu Dhabi on national television in a much different form, with Arabic-English verses and a much more complex song structure including a chorus section. But perhaps the most famous reincarnation of the song is a medley with “The Wind” as opener for Yusuf’s Cafe Session concert in 2007, with a hauntingly beautiful vocal performance by Yusuf. The song is also meant as direct follow-up to “The Wind,” and to be understood in its most symbolic reading, with the wind meaning spirit or Holy Spirit. It also tells the rare story of the artist having seen both worlds, the East and the West. Since chord changes happen on the upbeat, timing your vocals to your guitar playing can be difficult.

 

Edited by Leonard McCoy
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  • 4 weeks later...

About a week ago, I woke from a dream in which my ‘60s brain was singing the old Tremoloes hit from the ‘60s - Here Comes My Baby.  Had to hear it, so I popped it up on YouTube, and along with the Tremoloes version I had rolling around in my head, there was the same tune being done by Cat Stevens!  Even though I once had the Matthew & Son album, I had no recollection of him writing & singing this song.  Don’t know why it surfaced in a dream after all these years, but I’m glad it did!

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