Father and Son

Author: Leonard Latest revision: March 17, 2023
Author’s Notes: A song to stand the test of time written as part of Cat’s musical “Revolussia”, which ultimately never came to be. Cat always meant to structure the song as a dialogue with a universal message between father and son, each trying to drag the other into their own direction. Alun Davies plays a great solo here and sings a beautiful second voice. At the bottom can also find extended notes on Cat’s secret-sauce chords for the song, which has never been properly transcribed before, the solo and more. The only record of Cat singing a reprise verse was at his 1970 comeback concert at the Plumpton Jazz & Blues Festival.
Each guitar tab is the author’s own work and represents his or her own interpretation of the song.
Visitors may use the guitar tabs offered here only for private study, scholarship, or research.

                     "Father and Son"
                      by Cat Stevens
                 from the original album
                  TEA FOR THE TILLERMAN 
Standard tuning
(bass to treble) E-A-D-G-B-E

in 4/4 time


   G        C/G      G        C/G      G        C/G      G        C/G
   / . / . / . / .   / . / . / . / .   / . / . / . / .   / . / . / . / .  
   d   d u d         d   d u d         d   d u d         d   d u d       

VERSE 1 (Father.)

          G              D/F#            C               Am7
It's not time to make a change, just re-lax, take it eas-y
        C+9    G                 Em                Am                D
You're still young, that's your fault, there's so much you have to know
        G           D/F#           C               Am7
Find a girl, settle down, if you want, you can mar-ry
    C+9  G        Em              Am  FILL-1  D
Look at me, I am old, but I'm hap-py

VERSE 2 (Father.)

(D)  D2     G                D/F#         C                    Am7
     I was once like you are now, and I know that it's not eas-y  
  C+9  G                 Em                  Am  FILL-1  D
To be calm when you've found something going on
(D)       D2         G                D/F#                   C             Am7
     But take your time, think a lot,      why, think of everything you've got,
         C+9   G                  Em              D       RIFFx2
For you will still be here tomor-row, but your dreams may not

VERSE 3 (Son.)

        G           Bm7/F#        C                Am7
How can I try to ex-plain when I do he turns away again
 C+9    G             Em              Am  FILL-1  D
It's always been the same, same old story
(D)      D2        G            Bm7/F#        C         Am7
     Oh from the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen
           C+9 G         Em          D       G            D      C     RIFFx2  FILL-2
Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away - I know I have to go

INSTRUMENTAL VERSE (See bottom for Alun's guitar solo.)

   G    D/F#      C     Am7      G    Em7 Em   Am7    D  D2
|  /  /  /  /  |  /  /  /  /  |  /  /  /  /  |  /  /  /  /  |
   G    D/F#      C     Am7      G     Em       D  G           D     C    RIFFx2
|  /  /  /  /  |  /  /  /  /  |  /  /  /  /  |  /  /  /  /  |  /  /  /  |

VERSE 4 (Father.)

           G              D/F#             C                 Am7
It's not time to make a change, just sit down, take it slow-ly
        C+9    G                 Em                Am                    D
You're still young, that's your fault, there's so much you have to go through
         G          D/F#           C               Am7
Find a girl, settle down, if you want, you can mar-ry
    C+9  G        Em              Am  FILL-1  D
Look at me, I am old, but I'm hap-py

VERSE 5 (Son.)     
(D)   D2       G             Bm7/F#          C                      Am 
     All the times that I've cried, keeping all the things I knew inside
      G               Em          Am  FILL-1  D
It's hard, but it's harder to ig-nore it
(D)                 G        Bm7/F#            C              !  Am7
     If they were right, I'd agree, but it's them they know, not me
               G         Em          D       G            D      C      G
Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away - I know I have to go


                          Alun as second guitarist juxtaposes, or answers, 
   RIFF____________       Cat's riff like so:
   G        C/G           
   / . / . / . / .           G        C/G           
   d   d u d                 / . / . / . / .  
E|-3---3-3-3-------|      E|------------3---5|
B|-0---0-0-0h1-----|      B|-----------------|
G|-0---0-0-0-------|      G|----------5---5--|
D|-0---0-0-0h2-----|      D|-----------------|
A|-x---x---x-------|      A|-----------------|
E|-3---3---3-------|      E|-----------------|

   Am      Am7 Am7* (D)
   / . / . / . / .   
   d   d   d u d u   d

   / . / 
   d d d 
B|-3-3-1-|   Note: Cat bars the upper two treble
G|-0-0-0-|         strings with his ring finger.

CHORDS (in order of appearance)

   Note #1:    Take a close look at the chords labelled D/F# 
  (chords)     and Bm7/F# here. These are Cat's secret-sauce
               chords for the song. They have never been
               transcribed properly before. The only other
               songs that come to mind that makes use of at
               least one those chords are 'I Want to Live in
               a Wigwam' and 'Into White'.

   Note #2:    In the Instrumental Verse Alun plays a great
   (solo)      guitar solo which we have transcribed for you 
               below. The note lengths are only a rough ap-

                    G      D/F#       C      Am7        G       Em7 Em   Am7      D   D2
                    / . / . / . / .   / . / . / . / .   / . / . / . / .   / . / . / . / .
                    Note: [N.H.] = natural harmonic

                    G      D/F#       C      Am7        G       Em        D   G           
                    / . / . / . / .   / . / . / . / .   / . / . / . / .   / . / . / . / .

                    D       C     G
                    / . / . / .   /

   Note #3:    In Verses 4 and 5 a second voice is juxtaposed,
 (2nd voice)   making for some great vocal swelling. The only
               known occasion where Cat actually sang the son's
               second voice as a separate reprise verse was at
               the 1970 Plumpton Jazz & Blues Festival. We tran-
               scribed the verses of the second voices for you

                 VERSE 4 (Son, 2nd voice.)                      |   VERSE 5 (Father, 2nd voice.)
                    G     D/F#    C   Am7                       |   (D)   D2  G   Bm7/F#  C  Am
                 A-way, a-way, a-way                            |           Stay, stay, stay  
                 C+9   G   Em      Am            D              |   G        Em      Am  FILL       D
                         I    know    I have to make this deci- |        Why    must    you go and make this deci-
                 G     D/F#   C   Am7                           |      G  Bm7/F#    C   !  Am
                 -sion     a-lone                               |   -sion        a-lone
                 C+9  G    Em  Am  FILL D                       |

   G      C/G    D/F#      C      Am7      
3x0003  3x2013  204232  332010  x02010     
R----L  R-M-IL  T-RIMI  RLM-I-  --M-I-     
  C+9     Em      Am       D     Am7*      
x32030  022000  x02210  xx0232  x02013     
-RM-L-  -MR---  --MRI-  ---IRM  --M-IL
  D2    Bm7/F#    Em7                      
xx0230  204432  022030                     
---IR-  T-RLMI  -MR-L-                     

Chord fingering:      T = thumb                
                      I = index finger
                      M = middle finger
                      R = ring finger
                      L = little finger

Tablature notation:   h = hammer-on
                      p = pull-off
                      ~ = vibrato
                    [ ] = natural harmonic (Harm.)
                      / = legato slide (gliss) up the fret
                      \ = legato slide (gliss) down the fret
                      ! = special action (see tablature)
                      > = accentuate part
                      d = downward stroke
                      u = upward stroke
                      x = mute note

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