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Yes - In A Word  CD (album) cover

IN A WORD

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.29 | 95 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
5 stars The Ultimate Yes Box Set in 390 minutes of Prog Heaven!

If anyone wants to know why Yes are celebrated as one of the greatest prog bands in history, this box set is the proof. This beautiful lavish set is the ultimate starting point for newcomers to Yes, and I bought this before buying anything else apart from "Tales from Topographic Oceans" and "90125". So for a long time I was married to this box set, devouring all its contents and being completely blown away by this 'new' band that was caressing my ears for months. The cover is adorned with the 'Hallelujah Mountains' and as you open the box, the book beckons you to flick through its pages.

The booklet is a wonderful complimentary gift with the set and tells you everything you want to know about the band, and stuff you wished it did not reveal, beautifully illustrated in glossy colour, with a time line at the end showing the tracks of each album that became my guide as I was beginning to collect every Yes album. But this was my launching pad, the book guiding me like a wise old sage to every album eventually of this genius music band. The book is a whopping 96 pages of Yes. "Tales from the Edge" is written by Chris Welch and researches meticulously the fascinating story of the birth of the band. There are pictures of the early years, the albums, the singles, picture sleeves, the transformation of the lienups, in 6 glorious sections in 53 pages. Then we get a few pages of colour pictorial spreads. The next section is by Bill Martin called "Another green language: still after all these years", which is basically what happened during Magnification, the departure from music and the reunion, up to the present day at the time of release. On Page 88 there is a terrific discography with pictures of the album in timeline format with info about each including the various lineups. The track list is here showing the albums where each song comes from as a guide to the box set. The book is as good as any available on the market and is the best I have seen in any box set, along with the books in The 21st Century Guide to King Crimson box sets.

Strangely enough my entire collection began with this over indulgence in box sets. I took a risk really forking out such an enormous amount of cash for bands I had only heard on the radio, in the case of Yes we all knew Owner of a Lonely Heart, but Yes is so much better. Yes had somehow avoided me in my teens like a guarded secret, and I guess I had avoided it. But music tastes change and I absolutely grew to love the music on this. The great thing about a set like this is it effectively replaces buying stacks of albums, and you can always go back and get the classics over time and still have value for this type of set. The huge booklet, that is packed with info, and the overall packaging are absolutely stunning. The box feels good in the hands as you flick through the 5 CD binders. The illustrations on the box are exclusive Roger Dean's artwork, as are parts of the book. The booklet taught me about Mr Dean and the career of the highly revered band, every member, every album, with all their line up changes and iconic statements in music.

Onto the music: Disc I jams on a full disk of early Yes with some great tracks such as Sweet Dreams, Astral Traveller and Time and a Word. Having heard the early albums, these songs are just about the best tracks. The music really transforms noticeably when we come to the classics Yours Is No Disgrace, and my all time favourite Yes song Starship Trooper. It ends with the legendary I've Seen All Good People. The great thing is these songs are the album length versions, no edits here thankfully. After hearing these songs I knew it would not be long before I owned The Yes Album and Fragile.

Disc II is perhaps the best in the collection, taking classics from Fragile and Close to the Edge. Every song is a killer; Roundabout, the full version, South Side of the Sky, Heart of the Sunrise, and the complete album length Close to the Edge track. It also features a little known track America, and ends with an obligatory track from Topographic. On compilations, it is either Ritual or the opening track, and in this case the much preferred The Revealing Science of God is used. I don't think I ever played it having owned the full album, but it needed to be here.

Disc III is also great Yes, especially with Siberian Khatru, and Long Distance Runaround. I was introduced to Relayer with the full 22 minute The Gates of Delirium, and To Be Over, and of course that is about the whole album apart from the Howe dominated track. The tunes change considerably and suddenly on the next few tracks, after the long hiatus and lineup changes. The best of Going for the One is here and replaced that album for me for years. The best songs on it are represented, the title track, Turn of the Century, Wonderous Stories, and the best of Tormato is represented with 3 songs. It ends with a previously unissued track called Richard, that is forgettable but nice that there is something unissued here. More unreleased tracks are to come on the ensuing discs.

Disc IV features the unissued tracks of Tango, Never Done Before, and Crossfire which is great for completists who may be drawn to this set to get those songs plus the rewards of the booklet. Drama is represented by its best songs Machine Messiah and Tempus Fugit. 90125 is well represented with the smash single Owner of a Lonely Heart, and 3 others, though Changes would be a better choice than Hold On. I had the 90125 album on cassette, my first Yes album, but on CD it is so much better of course. The disappointing commercial sound of Big Generator is here with the 3 songs, but it was wonderful to hear 2 tracks from the ABWH album, both are brilliant. The CD ends with one Union track. Disc V is the worst disc especially as the much maligned mediocre 1990s Yes albums are represented, Union, and Talk with the first 3 songs. I skipped often to the 18 minute epic Mind Drive track which is stunning from Keys to Ascension 2. The 2 tracks from Open Your Eyes are fine as is the mini epic Homeworld (The Ladder) and The Messenger from The Ladder. Last Train is another unreleased track that is OK and from the more recent Magnification is In the Presence of, clocking about 10 minutes and ending on a high note.

As with any compilations there are some big omissions. And You And I is missing for some strange reason though that would have meant the entire Close To The Edge would be here, which is not necessarily a great marketing move. I would have liked to have heard some live material but the live box set available compensates for that. Overall this is the ultimate Yes collection. It should not replace all the classic albums from the debut to Going For The One, but honestly disc 4 and 5 compensates for the Yes 1980s and 1990s albums. The set effectively spans the entire career of one of the greatest Symphonic Prog bands in history so it deserves 5 stars without hesitation.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 5/5 |

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