Tell ‘Em I’m Gone was produced with the legendary Rick Rubin and sees Yusuf explore some of his bluesier influences. In many ways the album ties in with Foreigner and Numbers in that he is temporarily putting aside his more recognisable folky sound in order to indulge in the other musical traditions that have had a significant impact upon him. True fans may be aware that Leadbelly has always been one of Yusuf’s favourite artists and for the first time this is overwhelmingly evident in his music.
Alongside its original compositions, Tell ‘Em I’m Gone contains a number of cover versions of songs that are dear to Yusuf such as Edgar Winter’s “Dying to Live”, and Luther Dixon/Al Smith’s “Big Boss Man”, and there’s even a bluesy reworking of Jimmie Davies/Charles Mitchell’s “You Are My Sunshine”.
Sonically the album has strong grooves and simple arrangements that feel authentic to the blues genre, but the presence of Yusuf’s unique musical sensibilities is unmistakable.
The album cover of the Sony Legacy release was a photograph by Danny Clinch. Yusuf had an illustration made for the album as well by the artist William Stout, which was used for the vinyl of the record.