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Yes - Yesyears CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.30 | 124 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Frustrating

I must admit to some disappointment with this box set.

"Yesyears" is undoubtedly lavishly produced, complete with 4 CDs and an informative booklet, but the contents leave me largely frustrated. The selection of tracks for any box set is a subjective process, but the process used here is in my opinion flawed.

For a sprawling 4 CD set, there's simply not enough of the classic Yes tracks included. The compilers seem to have been torn between selecting tracks representing "The best of" Yes, and including a host of (sometimes for good reason) unreleased tracks. This results in the inclusion a number of BBC sessions and tracks from the less appealing pre Yes album days. This gives the set an inappropriate bias towards that period.

There are a number of other interesting "Previously unreleased" songs, but no hidden gems as such. Most of these tracks have since been added to the expanded remasters of various Yes albums.

Other criticisms are: - The innovative but relatively rare version of "America" appears only in edited format. - The studio versions of "And you and I" and Siberian Khatru" are missing altogether (although a live version of AYAI appears as an afterthought.)

- "Heart of the sunrise" appears twice (one is a live version)

- "Topographic oceans" is represented only by "Ritual" (in full). "Yes years" was perhaps the perfect opportunity to include edited highlights of the best of all four sides of "Tales from Topographic Oceans" (I'm sure Rick Wakeman would have approved!).

- Relayer is only represented by what is for me the poorest (and it appears generally least liked) track on the album, "Sound chaser", and a single version of "Soon".

- The great "Parallels" (from "Going for the one") is omitted

- CD 3 has too many doctored and unreleased tracks.

I could go on, but you get the picture. Many of the greats are here, but they are surrounded by mediocrity.

In all, a collection which falls between two stools. It is neither a collection of the finest Yes tracks, nor is it an indispensable treasure chest of Yes rarities. Probably best avoided The more recent "In a word" box set is much better.

By the way, don't confuse this CD box set with the DVD of the same name. The DVD is an excellent documentary of the band from their early days, up to the time of the "Union" tour.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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