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Yes - The Yes Album CD (album) cover

THE YES ALBUM

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.29 | 1962 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Dick Heath
Special Collaborator
Jazz-Rock Specialist
5 stars An album that has stood the test of time for me, and I bought the LP a few weeks after the original UK release date. But I waited until after I had seen, what turned out to be a great set by Yes at Kingston Poly (was Queen the support band - I can't remember??), before buying it. I had previously bought and particularly enjoyed large sections of 'Yes' and 'Time and Word' albums , which demonstrated rock virtuosity, without suggesting anything as powerful and original of what was to come as the third Yes album. Nevertheless, with other exciting new bands doing new things out there, I was having serious doubts as to whether to spend my hard earned and limited cash, on this unheard or rather go for some other band's album. That Kingston Poly show, more than hinted that there was something different awaiting on "The Yes Album" and Steve Howe was something else. As a reminder, this was the period when technoflash guitarists were greatly admired (e.g. 10 Years After's Alvin Lee), but clearly Howe had a very large bag of riffs with the occasional trick, and so didn't have to hide behind showmanship to entertain.

With hindsight, this is a recording of a band in transition, moving through a quantrum jump. And again with hindsight, now with access to Steve Howe's back catalogue, I've discovered some of the best riffs here were honed when Howe was part of the band Bodast* - but sounding so much better in Yes compositions/arrangements and played by Yes. And with Tony Kaye's R'n'B roots, he seems to prefer to play the minimum number of keys, there being some reluctance to play synths, so Howe doesn't have to compete that hard for the lead. (Check out the later released Kaye-lead 'One Live Badger' to hear an R'n'B based prog album and clearly what Kaye preferred to play). With the move of Kaye to Badger via Flash, and the arrival of music college-trained Wakeman from the Strawbs, to provide the rococo and virtuosity on keys, you get Yes broadening and deepening as musicians and composers - emerging more fully from the chrysalis as one of a handful of the major progressive rock bands.

And again hindsight: I'm left wondering what Yes would have sounded like if Robert Fripp had been persuaded to join them, instead of Howe.........

*Check out the info at http://www.cherryred.co.uk/rpm/rpm/stevehowe.htm

Dick Heath | 5/5 |

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