Cat Stevens / Tea For The Tillerman – Live and Learn


A blast from the past from 2006.

I have to admit that I was dead wrong when I said that the best copies of this album were the Brown Label A&M pressings. I see now how I made this error. We played four pink label copies and our best A&M LP is only better than three of them.

But it sure isn’t better than this one! I’ve heard a good dozen or so Pink Labels and this is the first one that ever blew my mind. I thought I knew this record, but this copy changes everything.

Our White Hot Stamper Commentary from 2006

This White Hot Pink Label Original British pressing is the ALL TIME CHAMPION Tea For The Tillerman. After a somewhat frustrating daylong search where nearly all of the best sounding copies were also the noisiest, we dropped the needle on this copy, and immediately something became clear. The sound we were hearing on this relatively quiet vinyl was ALMOST TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.

You may remember one of the comments we made about the Hot Stamper Bookends in which we said we felt as though we had threaded up the master tape and hit play — that’s how unbelievably correct and REAL the sound was. Well, we spoke too soon. THIS record is the record that sounds like you’ve threaded up the master tape. I’ve been playing this album for more than thirty years and I can tell you I have never heard ANYTHING like it.

Just drop the needle on any song. Guaranteed you will never hear that song sound better. The mastering is beyond perfection. There’s really no “mastering” to listen for — all you’re really aware of is the music flowing from the speakers, freed from all the limitations that you’ve learned to accept.

There’s no need to go track by track trying to explain why this copy is the Ultimate Tillerman. One drop of the needle will tell you everything you’ll ever need to know. All doubts will be erased within moments. We played this copy against our former top pressings and again and again, no matter what track we played, the sound here was clearly superior.

The last Hot Stamper we put up for this album was back in 2004. I’ve been acquiring many excellent copies for the last few years, but at the same time dreading doing the big shootout because I KNEW how hard it is to find quiet, really good sounding Tea For The Tillermans. For whatever reason, they are practically impossible to find. To say that this fairly quiet amazing sounding Pink Label is rare is an unbelievable understatement. I would say that it’s very unlikely that another copy this good will come my way in the next five years. I may NEVER hear one that sounds like this again. If this record is as meaningful for you as it is for me, I think you will quickly appreciate that it’s worth every penny of its price. All you have to do is drop the needle. All questions will be answered and all mysteries will be revealed.

Owning this White Hot Stamper is a PRIVILEGE that affords the listener insight into Cat Stevens that simply is not possible any other way. The emotional power of these songs is communicated so completely through this copy that the experience will be like hearing it for the first time.

This is, I hope it goes without saying, one of the greatest rock records of all time, music that belongs in any collection. I’ve been playing this album for 30 years and I can honestly say I’ve never once been tired of hearing it. I get tired of hearing bad copies. I become absolutely incensed when I have to play the Mobile Fidelity version of this album, because what they did to this record is a travesty. If you want to know what the guitars on this album are NOT supposed to sound like, play the MOFI. And if you want to hear an even worse version, play the UHQR.

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