Yusuf marks the 50th anniversary of his first two albums, both released in 1967, by reinterpreting some of his songs from the era, including four from New Masters and others never released at the time. It helps that he’s reunited with his old 1970s foils Alun Davies (guitar) and Paul Samwell-Smith (production), resulting in cleaner, less cluttered arrangements. Northern Wind, in particular, benefits, Yusuf’s gravelly, age-weathered voice now giving it a greater gravitas. The new songs are no less impressive, with the philosophical Don’t Blame Them unexpectedly changing gear towards its end. Throughout, there’s a disarming warmth and thoughtfulness, making for a pleasantly surprising late-career highlight.
Yusuf/Cat Stevens: The Laughing Apple review – a late-career highlight
Phil Mongredien works on the Guardian's opinion desk. He also reviews albums for Q magazine