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Yes - Going for the One CD (album) cover

GOING FOR THE ONE

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.04 | 1442 ratings

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uduwudu
4 stars Yes - Going For The One 1977

Going For The One is an interesting sum of its parts. Its original in that the whole album has no effect like it on any of their previous albums; a lot less mystic but still lyrical. Still creative and dreaming in a practical way; they experiment with more instruments and approaches per number than virtually any other since. The title track is a bright and positive rocker. Lyrically its an allegory between sporting achievements and the futility of mankind's lesser but more prevalent and worthless ambitions. Not bad for a rock and roll number with plenty of pedal steel guitar from Mr Howe. Restrained and fluid organ work form the returned Rick Wakeman indicate an arrangement idea Yes (and Asia) will use later, that is to put the keyboards in the rhythm section; here it works very well. Turn Of the Century is pure lyricism and romanticism. It's about preservation of failing life to be caught in stone forever. The harp, classical guitar r and piano embed this piece in a flowing river of strong gentility. Parallels is introduced by a heavy church organ which in my lesser opinion suffocates the song a little. Parallels is Chris Squire's tune and rocks out rather well and probably would have benefited with a piano rather than organ as the spaces that would allow the piece to breathe are filled with an audio version of polyfilla. Still, it's a great song and Yes are not afraid to experiment and do their damnedest to be original. Many others think the organ sounds great so it's just my odd little idea. Wondrous Stories is a softer ballad, rather charming and restrained a very dignified tune. Awaken is the work that gets the majority of attention. An awesome construction with drama, pomp, complex structure, mystery, musicianship, imagination and again oddly, restraint it does have a certain return to mystical Anderson lyrics. Everything works here, the whole focused and in its mini concerto structure quite tight. Flawless. It begins with a piano theme and the High Vibration theme which bookends this journey. The next section is church organ, guitar solos and harmonies in glorious technicolour. A morass of lyrcism in music that is all a yes fan could desire. The rhythm section underlines everything with occasional emphasis and considerable restraint as the melodies dominate. Classic Yes as anyone could wish for.

For those who wonder about the bonus tracks the standard of the album falls with these inclusions, again just my opinion. All the studio demos might work on a budget box set compilation but do not add to the album. Frankly none of the bonus tracks do as Yes conceived their albums as entities. Therefore the bonus tracks can be their own liability and may take away from the impact of the album as statement. That said there is some gold here. Previously issued Montreux's theme is Yes at work on an unfinished piece. Vevey Revisited is an Anderson and Wakeman piece on Harp and church organ. There is footage of the GFTO session that includes this little gem. Incidentally among the footage is the emergence of Wakeman as comic raconteur, very often at Anderson's expense. Politically incorrect as can be Wakeman is so very funny. So much for the popular perception of Wakeman as overly serious musician the guy is a good laugh as well as all that talent. Which is why I got him (and Howe and Squire) to autograph both my CD copies of this wonderful record. Back to the album. A strong rendition of Chris Squire performing a bass solo of Amazing Grace is followed by a demo version of the whole album except for Wondrous Stories. Parallels is a straight ahead rocker that even in roughed out form sounds leaner without the organ. The footage (bootleg at this stage) and other demos from these sessions show parallels to rock out with a fluid power and lack of obvious chorus (no hit single here!). None of the album released demos have been issued before and the work that goes into developing the pieces is interesting. But in no way do these add to the artistic statement of the original album. The contemporary politics of rock at the time puts this album into ambivalent territory. But Yes were about music rather than fashionable stances and their energy and talent far outweighs the perceived significance of punk's often stupid nihilism. For this Yes would be criticised as would their contemporary progressive rock bands. Apparently being supremely talented is a disadvantage in rock. The effect of the punk politics would be to corporatise (ie ensure a song formula was adhered to) and ensure experimentation and progression was kept close to the edge of rock for Yes and their derivatives. The albums would be good (not sloppy or disinterested) but to those who want Gates of Delirium, Awaken, et al, it would often be a frustrating time. So the last great album question? Going For the One is like no other of Yes album. While it's not a concept album as such though the theme of individual against the forces of fate can be exemplified on the cover, perhaps they mad their own unique statement. This was often in, er, parallel to that of punk frustration but with something to say rather than mere destruction. There's no Roger Dean painting which is as much from artistic differences than any particular desire to have a different visual slant on their work. But the effect is the same what ever the reasons behind it. Hipgnosis do a striking job anyway. So, a great album of different tracks, none like the other but with a monumental work to place it in the pantheon. I must admit that had their been another two or three excellent songs rather than Awaken the effect of the album would be that of a superior Tormato. As it is GFTO is the really first album of the new era but no one realised that then. Oh yes, it is essential for Yes and a Prog rock collection. You may disagree with my perceptions of the content but diversity of opinion is encouraged. I doubt you'll be disappointed. Nearly five stars. Awaken does get five stars.

uduwudu | 4/5 |

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