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Yes - Yessongs CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.32 | 887 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars "Yessongs" is a feast for fans: three albums originally packaged with an extra helping of ROGER DEAN's artwork that runs through live performances of the band's best material (i.e., "The YES Album" onward). Anyone who's seen YES play live knows that they have the chops to back up their complex studio arrangements, in some cases replicating the majesty of the originals down to the smallest touches. The only knock on "Yessongs" is that it does strip some of the mystery away from the originals; the studio albums somehow transcended mortals playing mere instruments, but the occasionally clumsy nature of human beings reveals itself on some of these arrangements, whether it's the missed vocal harmonies or STEVE HOVE's inspired but ultimately imperfect guitar work. The band isn't merely interested in re-creating their studio albums, however, providing terrific twists on classics like "The Fish" and "Yours Is No Disgrace." RICK WAKEMAN steps out for a solo plug with a crowd-pleasing piece that incorporates snippets of his recent solo album, "The Six Wives of Henry VIII", and is brilliant throughout, often replicating his original solos nearly note for note. The wild card here is CHRIS SQUIRE, who strays from the original arrangements for "Heart of the Sunrise" and a few others, sometimes embellishing his parts to a distracting degree. Although BILL BRUFORD appears on some tracks, even finding time for a solo on "Perpetual Change", newcomer ALAN WHITE handles most of the drums, having been thrown into the fire quickly when BRUFORD left. (He does such a fine job on tracks like "The Fish" and "Heart of the Sunrise" that you never feel BRUFORD's absence.) To their credit, the band conjurs the original magic where it counts: "Close to the Edge", "And You and I", "Roundabout" and "Starship Trooper." JON ANDERSON is remarkably on key almost all of the time, no small feat considering the epic nature of tracks like "Close to the Edge".

Despite a tendency for most bands to slow down the material for live performances, YES actually speeds things up; "Siberian Khatru" (an inspired choice for the opener) kicks some heinie as a result, although "I've Seen All Good People" suffers for it. "Yessongs" may expend more energy than some listeners are prepared to invest in it, but fans will revel in its artful re-creations and definitive selection.

daveconn | 4/5 |


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