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Chris Squire - Fish Out Of Water CD (album) cover


Chris Squire


Symphonic Prog

4.00 | 492 ratings

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5 stars In 1986, the now late, great self-deprecatory comedian, Rodney Dangerfield, released Back to School, something of his "autobiography" and "magnum opus." In "true" confessional form, we learn of Thornton Melon, the thinly veiled cinematic version of Rodney. Melon accompanies his son on his return to "Great Lakes University," deciding to enroll as a freshman in the university to inspire his less than eager son. Although a wealthy owner of "large and fat" apparel stores, Melon is basically "self-made" with no formal education . . . . Suffice it to say, he secures admittance through a large donation to the university, and, then, the fun begins.

At the end of 1975, the now late, great bassist and co-founder of Yes, Chris Squire, released, for all intents and purposes, his only solo album, Fish out of Water. Like Rodney's later Back to School, Fish out of Water is "autobiographical" and a "masterstroke." The entire album is evocative of not only Squire's, but also pianist, orchestrator. and conductor, Andrew Pryce Jackman's Church of England choir days. So, when Squire set out to produce a solo album, he did. Besides two junctures in which Squire plays electric, 12 String guitars, there are no other electric or acoustic guitars. Obviously, Squire's bass becomes the lead instrument. Of course, even on Yes' eponymous first album, Squire declares this new predominant bass role during the beginning of "Beyond and Before." And with his Rickenbacker 4100 bass, Squire took this instrument into "unchartered territory." Because nothing occurs in a "vacuum," I do need to mention John Entwistle, Jack Bruce, and Paul McCartney.

I recall, in early 1976, reacting to Bill Bruford's exemplary role on this album. It is almost as if Squire said, "You got away from us in 1972 upon completion of Close to the Edge in the studio; you "owe" me this!" Especially in "Silently Falling" and "Lucky Seven," Bruford displays some of the fruits of his tenure in King Crimson.

Saxophonist Mel Collins, also soon after work with Robert Fripp, makes large contributions to Squire's album. Jimmy Hastings from the Canterbury Scene excels as flutist in "You By My Side." Also in homage to Squire and Jackman's Anglican, musical days, Barry Rose, at St. Paul's Cathedral, contributes pipe organ to "Hold out Your Hand." Lastly, Patrick Moraz delivers an intense organ solo and synthesizer performance on "Silently Falling."

Going back to those days in 1976 and following, "Safe (Canon Song), was something of an enigma to me. But, no matter. A survey of Squire's career (almost entirely within Yes) reveals a wealth of legendary performances on the bass guitar. In retrospect, I find "Safe" Squire's most "symphonic" setting for the bass guitar. We all know Squire's signature piece, "The Fish" on Fragile and his live version on Yessongs with Bill Bruford, Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman, and Jon Anderson. "Safe" reveals even more of Squire's dedication to and transformation of the bass guitar.

Later on, during the 90125 tour, Squire, in jest, wore some of the trappings of a medical doctor, and Anderson referred to his colleague as "the Doctor--Doctor Chris Squire." To this day, Rodney Dangerfield remains my favorite comedian; Chris Squire, my favorite bassist. I've been known to do a passable imitation of Rodney. However, I must leave emulation of Chris to Geddy Lee, John Myung, and Les Claypool.

ken_scrbrgh | 5/5 |


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