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Yes - Yesyears CD (album) cover

YESYEARS

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

3.26 | 93 ratings

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ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer
2 stars This is the start of a very prolific compilation period for Yes : studio boxsets, live CD's, live DVD's. They will produce more than thirty in fifteen years (thirty eight to date to be precise). Quite an expensive YesStory for the fan ! This one is a four CD boxset. What we get here is a chronological representation of their career (which is a quite logical approch). What is less logical is the tracklist, though. I know it is not easy to set it up while realizing such an effort. Apparently, Chris Squire supervised the whole project (maybe because he is the only one to have been a permanent and founding member of the band) with little to none contribution from his colleagues.

Disc one covers the early days : their three first albums and partially the fourth one. "Time & A Word" is over represented IMO in comparision to their first "Yes" album. From "The Yes Album" I can't understand why they left out "Perpetual Change" and include "I've Seen All Good People". "The Fish" does not belong either to their best repertoire (IMO) but since Chris choose the tracklist ...

Disc two covers one of their more interesting period (partially from "Fragile" to "Relayer"). We get the short version of "America (on a quad CD compilation) ! One of their forgotten jewel on this album is "South Side of the Sky" : it will remain forgotten alas ! Worse is to come : no sign of "And You & I" ! "Tales" is represented with "Ritual". I believe "The Remembering" or "The Revealing Science Of God" would have been a better choice since those tracks are really superior. Then "Relayer" : out of the three tracks, "Sound Chaser" is not the best one : but that's the one we get here. No "To Be Over". "Gates Of Delirium" is only represented with the excerpts "Soon" ! (available on disc three - they could at least have put it accordingly on disc two to make a logical break between albums.

Disc three covers the period from GFTO to "Drama". From "Going For The One" we get four unreleased tracks (at that time). They will be issued on the remastered version of GFTO which means that they are just fillers (specially those ones). "Amazing Grace", " Vevey 1 & 2", and "Montreux's Theme" are totally useless. "Parallels" is of course missing. The same is achieved with "Tormato" : two leftovers from the album sessions (which was already quite poor) : although "Abilene" is a good track that would have deserved to be released on the original album (and will only be a B-side for "Don't Kill The Whale", "Money" is just rubbish (both were bonus tracks on the remastered edition). Exit "Future Times - Rejoice" one of the (few) good tracks from "Tormato". "Drama" which was not bad an effort is almost completely forgotten : no "Machine Messiah", by far the best song and no "Into Lens - I Am A Camera", the second best. This CD ends with "Run With The Fox" (absolutely dreadful) which was released as a single (Squire/White) and "I'm Down" a cover song from "The Beatles" and a pure rock'n'roll number. Can you ever imagine Jon Anderson singing a 100 % rock'n'roll song ? Well, I can tell you it is pretty bad. This track is recorded live in 1976 in New Jersey (how lucky they were) ! On top of that, the sound is really poor.

Disc four covers "90125". Four songs of which one bonus track from the remastered CD version and quite good actually : "Make It Easy". "It Can Happen" is a version recorded by the Cinema project before Anderson will join them. This version is nothing from the other world. Three songs come from "Big Generator" (one of their poorest effort ever). Three live tracks : "Changes", "And You And I" and "Heart Of The sunrise". All live tracks were recorded during the "Big Generator" tour. Each of them is a good rendition (but the sound is awful during the intro of &Y&I but gets better afterwards). Very last song on disc four is the rather dull : "Love Conquers All". It is an outake (gosh !) from "Union".

If you are interested in the "unreleased" material from this boxset, I would rather recommend the expanded & remastered versions of the albums (they really sell for cheap : from five to seven ?) and avoid this rather dull and poorly balanced boxset. Two stars.

ZowieZiggy | 2/5 |

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