Much of the excitement around the release of the erstwhile Cat Stevens’s third album since his 2006 comeback has centred around the role of producer Rick Rubin, renowned as he is for giving a contemporary sheen to third-age actsincluding Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond and Black Sabbath. And yet equally prominent here is the influence of Tinariwen, another of his collaborators, their desert blues informing the sound of several songs towards the start of the album. The rest of this strong collection – half covers, half self-penned – owes more to American blues and R&B, the likes of Gold Digger and I Was Raised in Babylon suggesting that, almost half a century into his career, there’s plenty of life in Yusuf yet.
Phil Mongredien works on the Guardian's opinion desk. He also reviews albums for Q magazine