'Peace Train' Rolling Again
Yusuf Islam, better known by his former identity as singer/songwriter Cat Stevens, has re-recorded a version of "Peace Train," one of his best known songs. "'Peace Train' is a song I wrote, the messagYusuf Islam, better known by his former identity as singer/songwriter Cat Stevens, has re-recorded a version of "Peace Train," one of his best known songs. "'Peace Train' is a song I wrote, the message of which continues to breeze thunderously through the hearts of millions and there is a powerful need for people to feel that gust of hope rise up again," the London-based Islam said in a statement.
The newly recorded version of "Peace Train" can be downloaded at the artist's official Web sites: yusufislam.org.uk and catstevens.com. The recording of another revisited song, "Angel of War," will be posted soon on the sites.
"Thirty years later, as Yusuf Islam, I have more right and more reason to reclaim this anthem of my evolutionary Cat Stevens period, that's why I rerecorded it," he writes on yusufislam.org.uk. "As a member of humanity and as a Muslim, this is my contribution to the call for a peaceful solution to the dangerous path some world leaders today seem to be taking."
Islam recorded the tracks at Yellowbrick Studios in Johannesburg, where the artist was among those who were to participate in the Nelson Mandela-organized concert to raise money and awareness of AIDS in Africa. The concert was canceled due to logistical issues regarding a worldwide television broadcast of the event, but Islam made the trip anyway, and worked with AIDS patients in the South African city, according to the statement.
Islam recorded the tracks with local musicians. "Because I don't play guitar anymore, African harmonies and rhythms have been an inspiration to me, I love the raw origin of the sound; it compliments my voice and words naturally," he said.
The artist's career as Cat Stevens has been revisited twice in recent years. In September 2000, "The Very Best of Cat Stevens" was released by A&M. The following year, Universal compiled "On the Road to Find Out," a 79-track box set. Islam donated his royalties from the latter to the September 11th Fund and Small Kindness, a charity he founded in 2000 to provide worldwide humanitarian relief.
"Peace Train" was originally included on Stevens' 1971 album "Teaser and the Firecat," and has been famously covered by several artists over the years, including Richie Havens, Dolly Parton, the Ventures, Don Williams, and 10,000 Maniacs. The latter act included the song on its 1987 breakthrough album "In My Tribe," but the next year pulled the song due to controversy at the time.