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Various Artists (Tributes) - Tales From Yesterday : A View From The South Side Of The Sky (Yes) CD (album) cover

TALES FROM YESTERDAY : A VIEW FROM THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE SKY (YES)

Various Artists (Tributes)

 

Various Genres

3.19 | 28 ratings

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Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars Having nabbed this out of the bargain bin of a used bookstore, I cannot say I was altogether sure what I was in for, but I have to say that the various covers contained on this disc are generally fair to middling, with a few pleasant surprises in store. Naysayers can cringe all they want, but Robert Berry's stab at "Roundabout" is one of the best covers of a classic progressive rock song I've ever heard. It is boasts a monstrous sound, retaining the overall composition but changing the flavor altogether, using a thick contemporary sound and a decidedly pop vocal. While Steve Howe was not used for the very different, heavy introduction, he ends the piece with a more complex acoustic cadenza. Nothing much has changed for "Siberian Khatru" in terms of sound or arrangement, except for the middle section, which involves out-of-place but interesting jazzy piano fare. That's a shame really, because the instrumental passage of that song is one of Yes's crowning achievements, and instead of unceremoniously cutting it out, they should have at least made a decent attempt to butcher it. The vocals do not sound natural, but instead are strange and stretched, like audio elastic Mike Keneally does an exceptional job handling lead guitar at the end, and transitions right into "Heart of the Sunrise" for the conclusion. Steve Morse appears twice on this album, offering rather superfluous versions of "Mood for a Day" and "Clap." Magellan opens "Don't Kill the Whale" with synthesizer, piano, and other keyboards, and the singer handles the first verse in this lighter manner. The plastic 1990s sounds, including orchestral hits and electronic percussion, sound their worst in the interlude between lyrical sections. The a cappella section is a fanciful touch. "Turn of the Century" is a fairly faithful version with the magnificent Annie Haslam singing- simply lovely, although not as powerful as the original. Shadow Gallery's romp with yet another Tormato track, "Release, Release," is clumsy, ludicrous, and right for all the wrong reasons. I guess it's like somebody on Saturday Night Live parodying it, especially with those cartoon vocals. Billy Sherwood renders "Wonderous Stories" predictably and competently enough, except to say that the swampy bass tone is really out of place on this airy song. Part of the allure of Jon Anderson's vocals is that he brings out high notes with ease and peace, but so many of the vocalists here strain and belt them out with absolutely no finesse. Nowhere is this truer than in Cairo's rendition of "South Side of the Sky," which is somewhat painful to listen to even though it effectively adds nothing new in terms of sound or arrangement (except for a bit of piano foolishness). It is appropriate for Patrick Moraz to handle "Soon," translating it as a solo piano piece, but like many keyboardists who render music in this fashion, he burdens the beginning of it with numerous gauche runs. He even uses tacky flatted fifth notes in certain places as grace notes. "Changes" by Enchant is an exciting facelift for the 90125 number- these amazing gentlemen do not disappoint here, even if the vocals are a bit campy. Peter Banks's appearance on this tribute was surprising to me, given his feeling regarding Yes (and his treatment with respect to the Union tour). Here, he delivers a sizzling version of "Astral Traveler," and it almost has a Stevie Ray Vaughn flavor to it, backed by a shuffling rhythm and a bluesy organ. Finally, I like the heavy and fresh (and later jazzy) arrangement of "Starship Trooper," but the vocal performance is one of the worst on this disc- it's like a bad American Idol audition.
Epignosis | 3/5 |

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