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Yes - Yessongs CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.33 | 908 ratings

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2 stars Ah Yessongs. Every 1970s band worth their salt had the obilgitary live album. Some such as Hawkwind even surpassed their studio efforts by getting their vital live sound down on tape, and creating masterpieces in the process.

Now onto the 'mighty' Yes. For a start, this album is not in perfect sound quality. To be frank, a bootlegger could have made better sound quality by bribing the sound engineer (with Dramamine to keep him awake) and taken a feed off the soundboard. Instead (and probably because Yes are Yes) they had to do it with what sounds like suspended mics, which makes instrument seperation "a good ol' larf". Occasionally one of Wakeman's synths (usually buzzy and cheap) are recorded in a Soundboard manner, so give you a heart attack when you are listening to the album with headphones and suddenly some awful synth comes into play.

And that happens a lot, as frankly Yes decided to ruin every good musical intetion by stretching their ideas too long, overdubbing pointless instruments (yay, a coral sitar, my favorite) or letting Jon Anderson write the lyrics. There is a fool. Jon Anderson, surrounded by ugly musicians he had to fit in by being ugly in the extreme, but boosted his image by being the band's hippy, strumming an acoustic guitar, as if adding acoustic guitar to the horrendous noise of Howe/Wakewman/Squier combined could create a good musical sound. Chris Squier ladies and gentlemen. He played every fret on his Rickenbacker bass about four too many times, and people think that's tallent.

back to the album. Top marks to Steve Howe, he didn't get his guitar to sound good once. Patently lacking in what us axesmen call "gain", when a good thick distortion is in order, Howe finds the limpest, scratchiest sound ever, then manages to magically reduce the sustain of his hellishly expensive Gibson to nought. Not even putting it on a REALLY short guitar strap could save Howe from a wetting. Conversely, lets take the opening to Roundabout. On the original studio album Roundabout's intro is played on an acoustic, an instrument Steve Howe should ONLY play, as everything he does on electric is garbage. Come Yessongs, micing up an acoustic guitar for the intro seemed to get the better of Yes's roadies, so instead Howe pulls out a Gibson switchmaster. For some PERVERSE reason his guitar sound is now totally distorted and too heavy, ruining the subtlty. Good work.

Of course Bill Bruford was in this band, but hell he joined King Crimson. He would rather have Robert Fripp torching his hair than have 4 ugly men, some analogue synths and some dodgy vegan cooking under his nose.

So over all, don't approach Yessongs. I barely like their studio output (and trust me, I am a proghead) so their poor sounding live effort just makes me vomit.

hawkbrock | 2/5 |


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