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YESSONGS

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.29 | 680 ratings

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zravkapt
Special Collaborator
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars Originally released as a 3-LP set for a special price, this was some people's introduction to Yes in the 1970s. The artwork Roger Dean did for this set is some of his best, but the sound quality of the music itself is not too great; even for a recording from this time period. This is the first release to feature new drummer Alan White. He only had days to learn Bruford's parts for this tour. Bruford himself appears on two tracks. In general, I find the vocals here to be inferior to the studio versions.

Yessongs opens, as their concerts did at the time, with a recording of Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite" being played. "Perpetual Change" has Bruford on it and he does a drum solo at the end. I don't like what Wakeman does with this song. The dissonant part with two different sections playing against each other...that part does not come off well in concert. "And You And I" is not as good as the album version. "Mood For A Day" is better than the album version. Even though I'm not much of a Wakeman fan, I still think "Excerpts from 'The Six Wives Of Henry VIII'" is one of the highlights of Yessongs. Rick included Handel's "Messiah" done on Mellotron.

Wakeman's contributions to "I've Seen All Good People" are good. "Long Distance Runaround/The Fish" also features Bruford and is probably the best track on the whole set. "The Fish" is longer and better than the Fragile version. Squire improvises a lot here. This features the whole band except Jon until the end. "Close To The Edge" is not as good as the album version. I like the jazzy beginning of "Yours Is No Disgrace". Both Wakeman and White do a good job on what I've always considered one of Yes' best songs. Howe gets lots of space to solo. I don't really like Wakeman's synth solo during the 'Wurm' part of "Starship Trooper", but the Mellotron choir was a nice addition.

So, some songs are better than the originals, others not. It would have been cool if they added "America" to this. It also would have been nice to hear this line-up(s) do some of the songs from the first two albums. The performances are great but the sound is lacking. This might be a good introduction to the group, but I still think the studio albums are the way to go. 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |

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