Friday, October 28, 2005

Dolly & Yusuf

I learned the other night (October 17) when Dolly Parton was interviewed on The Daily Show that Yusuf Islam accompanies her on guitar on her cover of the Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam tune, “Where Do the Children Play?” The song appears on Dolly’s new album of 60s and 70s covers, called Those Were the Days. Yusuf, of course, had to send in his contribution, since he is still unable to travel to the US. Says Dolly of Yusuf: "He's a precious man. He's got a lot of bad press lately but I think he's out to try to save the world, not destroy it."

Back in the day, I was never, ever a Cat Stevens fan, and I remember “Where Do the Children Play?” (from Tea for the Tillerman) as particularly cloying and annoying. I’m glad to report that Dolly’s cover is simply wonderful, and it made me, for the first time, pay attention to the words. It’s all “green” -- save the environment, raising questions about unfettered development and technology. Here are a couple of lines that particularly struck me:
Well you roll on roads over fresh green grass.
For your lorryloads pumping petrol gas.

When you crack the sky, scrapers fill the air.
Will you keep on building higher
Til there's no more room up there?

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