I think I've seen the light...

Back in 1970, I was turned on to Cat Stevens - and I fell, man, hook, line and sinker - for both his passionate acoustic sound and the extraordinary beauty of his recordings. Mona Bone Jackon was what got to me - that killer 1970 release - but I was a believer through all the rest including "Angelsea."

So you can imagine what a treat it was to find out a few years ago that Cat - now Yusuf Islam - was not only recording but also performing again - even reworking some of his old tunes. And one, "I Think I See the Light" is a perfect example of a song that has always had a deeply spiritual meaning even when it wasn't fully realized by the performer - an example of what I call a "spirituality of rock and roll" where God's still speaking voice is in popular culture at a time when fewer people are interested in organized religion.

Last summer when we were in London, we went to the Central London Mosque - bought a fascinating a capella CD of Islam doing songs for Muslim children and some books - and began to educate ourselves about how an English Muslim might rethink/re-enter popular culture with a message of peace, hope and integrity.

I think brother Yusuf has figured it out and his reworking of this 1970 song kills me... it is so damned fine:

What's more, this is the sound I am sensing our little band moving towards in our New England home: powerful, jazzy, world music influenced with a taste of wild-ass rock and roll on the edges but also sweet and beautiful all at the same time. In my tradition I think Jesus said something about "whoever is not against me is for me." I think I've seen part of the light...


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