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Yes - The Yes Album CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.30 | 2652 ratings

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4 stars Review Nš 123

"The Yes Album" is the third studio album of Yes and was released in 1971. It was their first album featuring the new guitarist of the band Steve Howe, after the dismissal of their founder guitarist Peter Banks and it was also the last album featuring the presence of the founder keyboardist Tony Kaye. After friction between Steve Howe and Tony Kaye, due to his reluctance to play electronic keyboards such as the mellotron and the minimoog synthesizer, it was asked to him to leave Yes. He was replaced by Rick Wakeman, another classical trained keyboard player, who left Strawbs.

The line up on the album is Jon Anderson (lead vocals and percussion), Steve Howe (vocals, electric and acoustic guitars and vachalia), Tony Kaye (piano, organ and Moog), Chris Squire (vocals and bass guitar) and Bill Bruford (drums and percussion). The album had also the participation of Colin Goldring (recorders) on "Your Move".

"The Yes Album" has six tracks and was the first studio album of Yes to solely featuring original compositions by them. The first track "Yours Is No Disgrace" written by Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Tony Kaye and Bill Bruford is the first long song of the band and is a brilliant opening track for the album. The lyrics are very simple but musically we can see clearly the progressivity on their music especially due to the guitar and keyboard workings, despite the producer of the song aren't at the same level of their following albums. The second track "Clap" written by Steve Howe is an instrumental and nice short acoustic piece of music. Curiously, it's a live track which was recorded at the Lyceum Theatre, London, 17 July 1970. My remastered edition has also a studio version previously unissued. The two versions are slightly different but are both very pleasant to hear. It's a typical song of Steve Howe, in the same vein of "Mood For A Day", a song written by him for the next studio album of Yes, "Fragile". Despite be a good and nice song it's the weakest point on the album. The third track "Starship Trooper" is divided into three parts: "Life Seeker" written by Jon Anderson, "Disillusion" written by Chris Squire and "Wurm" written by Steve Howe. This is another long musical composition of the group and is also at the same time a great song of the band, which became a classic Yes' theme. This is the first musical suite composed by them, absolutely fantastic, with great individual musical performances by all members of the band. The fourth track "I've Seen All Good People" is also divided but only into two parts: "Your Move" written by Jon Anderson and "All Good People" written by Chris Squire. As with "Starship Trooper" this is also a classic composition of Yes, very well known, and it remains a standard of those days. It's another brilliant song that explores a vast musical world with great progressivity. It has two distinct musical parts, one more calm and acoustic and the other more rock and aggressive. However, the song shows a perfect balance between both parts. The fifth track "A Venture" written by Jon Anderson is the other short song on the album and is, with "The Clap", the other less good track on it. It's the song with the most simplistic musical structure on the album without great adventures of progressivity and with no great ambitious too. However, this is a good and nice song with great vocal work in the usual style of Jon Anderson. The sixth and last track "Perpetual Change" written by Jon Anderson and Chris Squire is another great song of Yes and it has the same quality level of the other great songs on this album. It's also a lengthy musical composition with a typical classic progressive structure of the songs of the group and it has also a nice and strong melody. Probably, it was left to a second place mainly due to "Starship Trooper" and "I've Seen All Good People", but this is very unfair indeed. All in all, I think this is a great song that closes the album in a great way.

Conclusion: "The Yes Album" is one of the most important studio albums of Yes for several reasons. It was their first commercial success, it was their first album to solely feature original compositions of the band, it was the first democratic album of the band with each member making his own significant contribution, it was the first time the band explored lengthy compositions, it was their first release to feature their new guitarist Steve Howe, which became to be a cornerstone in the band, it was the last Yes' album for more than twelve years to feature keyboardist Tony Kaye, until his return in 1983's on their eleventh studio album "90125", and finally, it was their first great musical studio work. "The Yes Album" isn't, in my humble opinion, an inferior album to "Fragile". As I wrote before when I reviewed it, "Fragile" isn't a uniform and cohesive collective effort of Yes because it has only four band's tracks. The other five are individual tracks and some of them are really of little interest. Because of that, "Fragile" is, in my humble opinion, somehow an unbalanced album. On the contrary, "The Yes Album" is a collective effort and its best tracks are practically at the same level of the best songs on "Fragile". On "The Yes Album" we can feel, for the first time, what the band will want to do and we can also hear, for the first time, the foundations of what will be the personal mark of their future music.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |


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