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Yes - Ultimate Yes: 35th Anniversary Collection CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.17 | 108 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars A young persons guide to Yes

With most bands, any "Best of" compilation is going to be a subjective project. The tracks included are often their most commercially successful pieces, not necessarily their best. It seems strange then, that with their vast back catalogue, many of the tracks for inclusion in any Yes compilation pick themselves.

The UK and North American versions of this collection have a number of tracks which are unique to one or the other. The North American version for example has "Time and a word", "South side of the sky", "Open your eyes", "Magnification" "America", "Tempus fugit", "Rhythm of love" "Lift me up" and "Open your eyes", while the UK version has instead "Survival", "Ritual", and "Awaken". I'm not sure what logic was used to decide which tracks should appear on which version of the compilation, but the inclusion of an entire side of "Tales from Topographic oceans" on the UK release but nothing at all from that album of the North American one is interesting.

The obvious omission from both is "Close to the edge", presumably due to its length. The other two classic tracks from that album are present, although the UK release originally had the wrong version of "And you and I" on it. An early, "studio run through" version appeared as a bonus track on the expanded re-release of "Close to the edge", but was erroneously included on this compilation in place of the original album version.

On the North American version, the order of the tracks is broadly chronological, offering a picture of how the band's music and style has developed and changed over the period. The UK version however appears to have been compiled with a view to creating a coherent album regardless of the relative ages of the tracks, and thus ends with "Awaken" from the 1977 "Going for the one" album.

It is significant that there is a strong bias in the track selections on both versions, towards the band's early material, such that by the third track on disc 2 of the chronological North American version, we are only up to "Going for the one".

Both versions of this album represent an excellent, reasonably priced, introduction to the music of the band for those who are unfamiliar with the music of Yes. Of course there are the usual compilation failings of edits, remixes, missing tracks etc., which make the album less valid for fans, but it is good to see Yes getting the attention they deserve from the music industry. This resulted in the collection enjoying significant chart success.

The North American release included a short bonus third CD of acoustic tracks which were rather out of place, but probably worthwhile nonetheless.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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