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Yes - Time and a Word CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.32 | 1452 ratings

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3 stars Review Nš 145

"Time And A Word" is the second studio album of Yes and was released in 1970. It was the last band's album to feature their original line up, Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Bill Bruford, Peter Banks and Tony Kaye. Banks was fired before the album's release. With the decision of use string arrangements on the most of the album's songs, Banks' role as guitarist was diminished and tensions within the band increased. Just after the album's recording is completed, was asked him to leave the band, which he reluctantly did. Then, Steve Howe would join the line up, replacing Banks.

"Time And A Word" also includes two songs that Anderson wrote with David Foster, a former band mate in The Warriors, the band formed by Anderson and his brother Tony Anderson, in 1964. So, as happened on their eponymous debut studio album "Yes", two of the eight songs of the album are covers. However, this was the last time that Yes recorded songs which were not made by the group. "Time And A Word" marked another difference in the band. From now on, the lyric writing of Anderson began to move from the simple love themes to subjects of a more big scale.

The UK and USA artworks for the album were different. The UK front cover used a black and white photo-montage of a nude woman with a butterfly. As this was inappropriate in the USA, because the American Puritanism, the USA front cover showed a picture of the band. Curiously, the picture shows Howe instead of Banks, despite he doesn't play on the album. However, the back cover of both versions of the album shows a picture of the original line up of the group.

"Time And A Word" has eight tracks. The first track "No Opportunity Necessary, No Experienced Needed" written by Richie Havens is the first cover song on the album. It's a strange way to open the album, because is unusual a band start an album with a cover song. However, I think that happened because this is the most energetic song on the album. It's a very good version of the original song, very powerful, full of energy, with fast drums and a great rhythmic bass line. It reminds me the great western movies, which isn't surprising because it features an orchestral musical arrangement of the main theme from the 1958 film "The Big Country". The second track "Then" written by Anderson is a very good song with some complexity, well elaborated, with interesting musical structures and radical musical changes. The voice of Anderson is very sweet and the addition of violins was an interesting choice. It's a very good and interesting track. The third track "Everydays" written by Stephen Stills is the second cover song on the album. This time is a Buffalo Springfield song, and is another good version very well elaborated of an original song. It's a song very influenced by jazz and in the beginning is a kind of a ballad, but after two minutes the song becomes more aggressive and fast. The fourth track "Sweet Dreams" written by Anderson and Foster is a bit a pop song very enjoyable to listening. It has a simple musical structure but we can hear on it a fine bass line, powerful keyboards and good guitar too. It's a blues oriented song with nice backing vocals. The fifth track "The Prophet" written by Anderson and Squire is a song with a more complex musical structure than some other songs on the album and is one of the most progressive songs too. It's one of the most epic tracks of the group in their early musical period and I have to mention also the fantastic keyboard work of Kaye. The sixth track "Clear Days" written by Anderson is a very short acoustic ballad nicely sung by Anderson and featuring lovely strings accompanied by a nice piano. As with on "Claugroi", the violins remind me Ray Shulman's violin riffs of Gentle Giant. However, this is probably the weakest moment on the album. The seventh track "Astral Traveller" written by Anderson is another very good song with a progressive rock musical structure. It's a song with great instrumental work by all members of the band, very well orchestrated. This is one of the first songs of Yes that represents the future sound of what will be the progressive songs of the group. The eighth track "Time And A Word" is the title track. It was written by Anderson and Foster and is another highlight of the album that became a Yes' classic song. It's a beautiful song with good lyrics, very melodic, with good chorus and very well orchestrated. It's the best known song of the album and it became a live staple for the band. It's a fantastic way to finish this musical work.

Conclusion: I agree with the opinions of some of my colleague reviewers on Progarchives, when they say that "Time And A Word" was a major step forward from Yes' eponymous debut studio album. But it was still, somehow, very distant of the musical quality of its successors, especially from their fifth studio album "Close To The Edge", the greatest masterpiece of the band. In reality, "Time And A Word" makes an incremental improvement over the previous eponymous debut studio album, because its songs are more mature, adult, cohesive and having, in general, superior quality. By the other hand, the inclusion of an orchestra on their music, despite the risks, shows us that it was an excellent idea. So, concluding and in short, Yes still had some more steps to go before they would reach their creative highlights and definitive masterpieces, but "Time And A Word" is a good piece of early 70's progressive rock, anyway.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 3/5 |


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