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Anderson Bruford Wakeman  Howe - Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe CD (album) cover


Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe


Symphonic Prog

3.21 | 329 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars No one writing a series of Yes reviews, as I have lately, can ignore this album. This was set in train as a solo Anderson project after he left Yes in a huff following Big Generator, but was persuaded to bring in his old pals by his then wife Jennifer. Legend has it that some of the band members were less keen on the idea than others - Bruford was quoted as saying he was asked to do drums on the project, got off the plane, and then exclaimed Oh no, Not Yes! when he saw Howe & Wakeman.

The band were legally excluded from using the Yes name by Yes West (Squire, Rabin, Kaye, and White), so invented a title that sounded somewhat like a firm of very expensive solicitors and embarked on a hugely enjoyable and lucrative tour with the moniker An Evening of Yes Music Plus.

I really like this album. Not a perfect five by any stretch, but still a huge improvement on Big Generator. Aside from Anderson, who remains my favourite vocalist, I feel that the star is Bruford. He tried out his all electronic set of drums for the album and I think it sounds fantastic.

Themes starts really well instrumentally and Fist of Fire is a pleasant song which doesn't really give much of a clue as to what is to follow. Because Brother of Mine is exceptional, from the first piece of Anderson majestically singing So... right the way through some exemplary ensemble playing by the band. You know from listening to this, in spite of many reservations, just how glad they all are to be getting on and playing together.

I like Birthright. Howe starts it off with a fine acoustic piece, and Anderson proceeds to tell a story well of how the British treated appallingly a set of islanders during the Cold War by relocating them from their home (birthright) because of nuclear testing. This actually became quite a famous High Court case in the UK later.

The Meeting is also exceptional, rightly a favourite live. Wakeman shows us all just how much we have missed him by playing exceptionally sensitive and intelligent piano to Anderson's gentle ballad.

Quartet has a fantastic Howe opening and is a good solid group effort. It is also very clearly a sly old dig at Yes West, who were still floundering without a vocalist.

What follows this is without doubt the worst thing all four have ever been associated with - Teakbois is genuinely shocking, a pale and limp cod reggae piece that deserves to be well and truly dumped into the dustbin of history - if you download this album, take the option of leaving this one out. This track alone takes one star off the overall rating.

The long epic of the album is Order of the Universe, and I really like this track. There is some exceptional lead guitar work, also very complex, by Howe, whilst Milton McDonald also plays very well backing Howe. The track is the rockiest of the album, Bruford plays exceptionally, and the keyboard main sequence by Wakeman is a joy, especially the beginning of the closing sequence which features Anderson's voice soaring la las.

Let's Pretend is the album's closer, a nice ballad.

It is really difficult to rate this album. I still enjoy this, and enjoy even more the video of the concert in America that followed not long afterwards. All four musicians, and their exalted guest Tony Levin (one of the finest bassists of all time), play excellently and there is only really one bum track on it.

It's certainly not perfect, but falls between good and excellent, i.e. 3.5 stars. Certainly much recommended to Yes fans.

lazland | 3/5 |


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