Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

STEVE HOWE

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Steve Howe picture
Steve Howe biography
Stephen James HOWE - Born April 8th, 1947 (Holloway, North London, UK)

During his childhood he was troubled by 'Fellini-like horror fantasies and nightmares' for some years. He only could get asleep when he listened to music (like "Teensville" from CHET ATKINS). So music became an essential safety valve, if not an obsession pretty early on. When he was 12 years old, Steve got an acoustic guitar from his parents. A few years later he bought his first electric guitar (a Japanese Guyatone) and started to copy solos from the Fifties and Sixties rock-scene note-by-note (from Les Paul, Frank Beecher, Scotty Moore, Link Wray and Chuck Berry to Wes Montgomery, Django Rheinhardt and Barney Kessel). He was also influenced by Jazz icon Miles Davis, the classical composers VIVALDI and STRAVINSKY, classical guitar player Julian Bream and organ player Jimmy Smith. Steve incorporated all these influences and developed his unique style. He soon turned from a 'bedroom-guitarist' into a semi-professional player and became a 'hot session-musician'. Steve joined his first band THE SYNDICATS ('63-'65), followed by THE IN CROWD ('66-'68) and received a "cult-hero-status' in TOMORROW (1968), a kind of psychedelic update from the previous THE IN CROWD. Steve even played one gig in THE NICE when he replaced David O'List and he also did auditions for JETHRO TULL and BLACK SABBATH. But this didn't work out for him and he joined BODAST ('68-'69).

In '71 he made his legendary move to YES after a phone call by Chris SQUIRE. Steve HOWE's solo career started in '75 with his first solo album entitled "Beginnings". He also collaborate on albums with an impressive list of known musicians like Lou REED, Rick WAKEMAN, FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD, PROPAGANDA, Stanley CLARKE, QUEEN, FISH and even the BEE GEES! Between '81 and '95 Steve HOWE joined the commercially successful ASIA ('81-'83 and '91-'93) and GTR ('84-'87), he founded ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE (YES minus Chris SQUIRE) and did a YES-reunion ('91-'92). Special projects/concerts: the album "Guitar Speak" from '88 (with Andy Powell, Randy California and Robbie Krieger), the Magna Carta YES tribute "Tales From Yesterday" (with Annie Haslam) and the Montreux Jazz Festival in '79. From '95 he's again a member of YES and recently did a world tour, more than 30 years after he joined this legendary 'symphonic rock dinosaur'!

His first solo album "Beginnings" from '75 is a fine effort, showing HOWE's varied style and his amazing collections of all kind of guitars (from Gibson and Fender electric to the banjo, Portuguese guitar and pedal steel guitar) but I don't like his vocals. In my opinion his second record entitled "The Steve Howe album" is his best effort but my favourite is the live-album "Not necessarily acoustic" (from '94). This one contains all his best material like the virtuosic "Meadow rag" and the fragile "Surface tension". It also features songs from YES like "Excerpts from Tales from topographic oceans", the Spanish climate from "Mood for a day", the exciting "Clap" and the 'stage favourite' "Roundabout". These compositions shows an amazing variety: Spanish, classical, rock, ragtime, romantic or jazz. If you listen to Steve HOWE, you listen to a guitar-hero who scouted all kind of musical borders to become one of the most influential and acclaimed progrock guitarists of all time.

: : : Erik Neuteboom, The NETHERLANDS : : :
Fan & official Prog Archives collaborator

STEVE HOWE forum topics / tours, shows & news


STEVE HOWE forum topics Create a topic now
STEVE HOWE tours, shows & news Post an entries now

STEVE HOWE Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Show all STEVE HOWE videos (3) | Search and add more videos to STEVE HOWE

Buy STEVE HOWE Music



More places to buy STEVE HOWE music online

STEVE HOWE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

STEVE HOWE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.66 | 148 ratings
Beginnings
1975
3.45 | 145 ratings
The Steve Howe Album
1979
1.81 | 28 ratings
Paul Sutin & Steve Howe: Seraphim
1988
3.37 | 69 ratings
Turbulence
1991
2.85 | 47 ratings
The Grand Scheme of Things
1993
2.30 | 23 ratings
Paul Sutin & Steve Howe: Voyagers
1995
2.59 | 25 ratings
Homebrew (1)
1996
2.76 | 35 ratings
Quantum Guitar
1998
3.19 | 34 ratings
Portraits Of Bob Dylan
1999
3.26 | 22 ratings
Homebrew 2
2000
3.54 | 52 ratings
Natural Timbre
2001
3.33 | 33 ratings
Skyline
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
Steve Howe & Martin Taylor - Masterpiece Guitars
2002
2.77 | 41 ratings
Steve Howe's Remedy: Elements
2003
3.56 | 51 ratings
Spectrum
2005
3.24 | 24 ratings
Homebrew 3
2005
3.83 | 30 ratings
Steve Howe Trio: The Haunted Melody
2008
3.08 | 12 ratings
Motif, Volume 1
2008
3.35 | 17 ratings
Homebrew 4
2009
3.27 | 35 ratings
Time
2011
3.33 | 15 ratings
Homebrew 5
2013
3.15 | 13 ratings
Homebrew 6
2016
2.75 | 15 ratings
Virgil Howe & Steve Howe: Nexus
2017
3.67 | 12 ratings
Steve Howe Trio: New Frontier
2019
3.60 | 34 ratings
Love Is
2020

STEVE HOWE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.76 | 34 ratings
Not Necessarily Acoustic
1994
2.20 | 13 ratings
Pulling Strings
1999
3.86 | 7 ratings
Steve Howe Trio: Travelling
2010

STEVE HOWE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

2.00 | 2 ratings
Classic Rock Legends (DVD)
2001
2.00 | 1 ratings
Live Legends - Careful With That Axe
2003
3.33 | 11 ratings
Remedy Live
2005

STEVE HOWE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 2 ratings
Guitar Player
1989
3.00 | 6 ratings
Steve Howe: The Early Years with Bodast
1990
0.00 | 0 ratings
Mothballs
1994
4.75 | 4 ratings
Homebrew 1 & 2
2002
3.91 | 13 ratings
Light Walls
2003
4.83 | 6 ratings
Guitar World
2003
4.29 | 14 ratings
Anthology
2015
0.00 | 0 ratings
Anthology 2 (Groups and Collaborations)
2017

STEVE HOWE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 4 ratings
Lily's In The Field (with Annie Haslam)
1995

STEVE HOWE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Love Is by HOWE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.60 | 34 ratings

BUY
Love Is
Steve Howe Crossover Prog

Review by Heart of the Matter

4 stars I must concurr with the general rating given to this album, lighthearted and breezy as it sounds. A record doesn't need to be always verging on the obscure or dense end of the spectrum to be progressive, don't you think? I do indeed, so what I find here is not only an effort with some virtues that are already usual in Steve's career ( such as his impressive dexterity and ductility with acoustic & electric guitars of all sorts, and the gorgeous tunes he's used to come up with), but also with some other ones he adds for this particular occasion:

First, there is a beautiful blend of voices, very reminiscent of Asia's "One Step Closer", he maintains with John Davidson (Yes current official singer) along vitually each vocal track here. Steve's own voice sounds much stronger than usual also (listen track 10 - On the Balcony).

Second, the track sequence alternating instrumental (like the opener) with vocal songs brings a balance to the overall sound, that you may not always find in Steve's recorded output, and is welcomed here.

Third, the ensamble sounds tighter now than it did on several of his former releases, with son Dylan well established behind the drums, and possibly emerging as the band's anchor.

Enough for you? It is for me.

 Beginnings by HOWE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.66 | 148 ratings

BUY
Beginnings
Steve Howe Crossover Prog

Review by Psychedelic Paul

4 stars Guitar legend STEVE HOWE (born 1947) is best-known as a long-standing member of the Prog-Rock supergroups YES and ASIA. He began his illustrious career in the 1960's with the Psychedelic Rock bands Bodast, Tomorrow and the Syndicats before joining YES in 1970 for their third studio outing "The Yes Album" (1971). He appeared on the following seven YES studio albums up to and including the "Drama" album in 1980 before leaving to form ASIA together with keyboard player Geoff Downes. In 1985, he formed the supergroup GTR with Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett and they recorded one self-titled album together in 1986. Steve Howe featured on the "Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe" album in 1989, which was a YES album in all but name, and he returned to YES for the "Union" album in 1991. He didn't feature on the following YES "Talk" (1994) album, due to the age-old band problem of "artistic differences" over the recording of the preceding "Union" album. You can't keep a good musician down though and he returned to YES in fine form for the "Keys to Ascension" album in 1996. He's appeared on all of the following six YES studio albums, up to and including the most recent album "Heaven and Earth" (2014). Steve Howe launched his solo career with the "Beginnings" album in 1975, after the rigours of recording the YES "Relayer" (1974) album, when all of the YES members were taking a well-deserved long break from the band to each record a solo album. He followed the "Beginnings" album with "The Steve Howe Album" in 1979, which was generally well-received by critics. Altogether, Steve Howe has recorded twelve studio albums throughout his long career, as well as six albums of re-recorded material released as the "Homebrew" series. He even found the time to form a Jazz group in 2007, imaginatively named "The Steve Howe Trio", and they've so far recorded three albums together. Steve Howe wrote all of the music and lyrics for his first solo "Beginnings" album and he bravely takes on lead vocal duties, although Steve Howe's not normally noted for his vocal abilities. The album featured some of Steve Howe's YES bandmates, Bill Bruford & Alan White on drums and Patrick Moraz on keyboards. The fantasy cover artwork was designed by Roger Dean.

It's time to wake up and smell the coffee for "Doors of Sleep". The most surprising thing about this first song is hearing Steve Howe's lilting tones for the very first time, and he does a pretty commendable job as a singer too. The song has all the trademark ascending arpeggios and descending diminuendos that we've come to know and love from Steve Howe during his YES years. Not surprisingly, this music is very reminiscent of YES, and one thing's for sure, you won't be falling asleep to the sound of the chiming chords and rousing chorus in "Doors of Sleep". This is no hushaby lullaby. This is a cadence and cascade of crashing crescendos in the best traditions of powerful and pulsating polyphonic prog. We're heading for a land down under next for "Australia", which sounds like it could be an ad for the Australian Tourist Board with Steve Howe urging us all to "Come to Australia". It's an optimistic feel-good travel song with some nice proggy YES-style power chords, although one can't help thinking the song would have sounded better with Jon Anderson on vocals. Riding in on the next wave is "The Nature of the Sea", an instrumental number with enough staccato stop-starts and sudden chord changes to keep even the most hardened of prog fans happy. The music opens in tranquil fashion, conjuring up a beach scene of being sat on a deckchair and watching the waves gently lapping over the shoreline, but watch out for the tide coming in because there's a tsunami of passionate and powerful prog arriving on the next wave. The next song "Lost Symphony" is an up-tempo and uplifting Jazz-Rock song of surging and symphonic splendour, with the sound of a cool saxophone very much at the forefront. This particular song represents quite a departure from the sound of YES, but variety is the spice of life, so they say, and this lively song could liven up many a dull evening spent indoors.

Side Two opens with the title track and longest piece of music on the album: "Beginnings". It's a seven-and-a half-minute long classically-inspired pastoral piece of music, sounding like a Bach Cantata, with sweeping violins, charming cellos, gently tinkling pianos, a woodwind section, and of course, featuring the magnificent maestro himself, Steve Howe on classical guitar. It's a delightful piece of classical music that conjures up a peaceful Bachian image of a green and pleasant meadow where sheep may safely graze on a warm summer's day. The next song appears like a "Will o the Wisp", and represents a return to more familiar Prog-Rock territory, sounding like a curious cross between Renaissance and YES, with a pounding bass guitar making its presence loudly felt in the formidable style of YES bassist Chris Squire - although it's actually Colin Gibson. Charging in next is "Ram", although this is a gently playful acoustic guitar ram that wouldn't hurt anybody. It's a perfect opportunity for Steve Howe to showcase his magnificent talent. Next up is "Pleasure Stole the Night", a gorgeously mellow and mellifluous slice of pastoral Prog-Folk. This lovely music sounds as English as strawberries and cream at Wimbledon, or maybe a troupe of Morris Men gaily prancing around the Maypole - well, maybe not THAT English! "Pleasure Stole the Night" is a real pleasure to listen to though - at any time of the day or night. Sadly, the "Beginnings" album is now coming to an end because we're about to "Break Away From It All" for the final song. Steve Howe treats us to another dazzling display of stunning guitar virtuosity in a song that sounds like a funky version of YES, with shades of "Owner of a Lonely Heart".

As with any first solo album from a longtime band member, this is an album where Steve Howe really stretches his wings and displays his versatile musical feathers in magnificent plumage by firmly establishing his Jazz and Classical credentials, long before The Steve Howe Trio came into existence. Steve Howe might not have the strongest voice in the world, but the marvellous music on this debut album more than makes up for any vocal deficiencies. Although the music is generally a bit of a departure from the familiar sound of YES, it's still very proggy and there's enough glittering guitar glissandos and captivating chord changes on offer here to keep any ardent YES fan happy.

 Live Legends - Careful With That Axe by HOWE, STEVE album cover DVD/Video, 2003
2.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
Live Legends - Careful With That Axe
Steve Howe Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
2 stars It is possible that the contents of this "cheapie" DVD are the same as in the former (2001) Steve Howe interview DVD with a Roger Dean cover art, but since it has no reviews or any information of the contents, I can't tell. I didn't know this DVD is basically an interview, not a live performance collection, when I ordered it at a pretty low price. But as such, this is quite OK actually.

Steve Howe talks about his musical path beginning from childhood and his very first guitars and juvenile band memberships, most of the time with one of his many guitars at hand, and gives brief demonstrations of them. Starting and ending with an acoustic guitar solo, in between he plays (I think it was three) various electric guitars. The interviewer is not seen or heard -- apart from a few words in the end. As a non-native English speaker I always hope DVD's to have subtext, but this has no any.

Naturally the classic era of Yes is dealt in this 52-minute dvd. The archival live clips (that really could be longer!) include e.g e.g. 'Yours Is No Disgrace', 'Clap', 'Roundabout' and 'Tempus Fugit'. A nice feature is showing all the Yes album covers from The Yes Album to Drama, plus the mid-70's solo albums of the Yes members.

In my opinion, musician interviews tend to be rather tiresome to view. Of couse usually they are just bonus material on concert DVD's or re-releases. As this DVD lacks the main thing, so to speak, one cannot value it very highly in the first place. That said, this was, after all, well worth the minimal price I paid. The technical quality is fairly good and there is music enough to keep the viewer interested. 2½ stars -- you can round it upwards if you're into musician interviews and a dedicated Steve Howe fan.

 The Grand Scheme of Things by HOWE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1993
2.85 | 47 ratings

BUY
The Grand Scheme of Things
Steve Howe Crossover Prog

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The Grand Scheme of Things is Howe's fourth solo album, coming just two years after his third. His prior two albums (Turbulence (1991) and The Steve Howe Album (1979)) had contained a total of two vocal songs, only one of which Howe sung by himself - - and then for less than one minute. This, of course, followed pretty universal criticism of his singing on his solo debut Beginnings (1975). My own main criticism of Beginnings was what I saw as Howe's lack of preparation, or maybe confidence. By 1993, that was no longer an issue, and the vocals are back. (Howe sings on seven of the sixteen songs on The Grand Scheme of Things.)

The album opens with two unmistakably Hovian* tracks: the vocal title song and "Desire Comes First," an instrumental. Although some of the remaining songs stray a bit from Howe's past work, The Grand Scheme of Things hangs together as a cohesive package, including "The Valley of Rocks," his solo-acoustic offering this time around. As we've come to expect from Howe, there are also more than a few minutes of nice guitar playing with relatively unobtrusive accompaniment (mainly keyboards and violin).

The confidence which allows Howe to sing as much as he wants on The Grand Scheme of Things extends to the lyrics. As the album title might suggest, there are more clichés here than you can shake a stick at: the couplet "the die is cast; I know the score" is representative. But the clichés aren't limited to trite turns of phrase; unfortunately, many of the ideas seem to be stock, anti-modernist "common sense." There's even a song called "The Fall of Civilization." On "Blinded By Science," Howe sings, "once the food was pure to eat ... side effects now interfere ... in the fridge and microwave / frozen food in cellophane / from caffeine to poisonous colors." I'm as suspicious of Corporate Big Ag as the next guy, but several of the tracks sound more like screeds than songs. Oddly, among Howe's most significant musical heroes is the master of the protest song, Bob Dylan. In fact, Dylan Howe is the drummer on The Grand Scheme of Things, playing on eleven tracks.

Also joining Howe here is his Tomorrow bandmate Keith West, who's credited harmony vocals on six of the seven vocal tracks (I'm pretty sure he's on the seventh as well). Violinist Anna Palm also provides backing vocals on one song. This results in much better multipart vocals than on prior Howe albums, although most of the vocals are Howe singing alone.

Compared to Howe's other albums to this point, The Grand Scheme of Things is most like Beginnings. Whereas Turbulence and The Steve Howe Album were niche recordings, intended for fans of guitar-based music, Beginnings seemed aimed at the mainstream, or at least the part of the mainstream occupied by Yes in the mid-1970s. Unfortunately, this approach doesn't suit Howe's strengths; I get the feeling that detrimental compromises were made to effect a more commercial product.

So The Grand Scheme of Things pales in comparison to the all-instrumental, mostly electric Turbulence, but not only due to its scattered focus; Turbulence's compositions were also superior, and Turbulence is the place to start for Howe's 1990s output. I'd recommend The Grand Scheme of Things only to Howe fans and Yes collectors.

*this eponymous adjective was coined, I believe, by Henry Potts.

 Natural Timbre by HOWE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.54 | 52 ratings

BUY
Natural Timbre
Steve Howe Crossover Prog

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

2 stars By my count, Natural Timbre is the seventh proper Steve Howe solo album. (I'm not including the two Paul Sutin / Steve Howe releases, nor his Homebrew compilations.) If Turbulence (1991) was Howe's electric album, Natural Timbre is his acoustic set.

The first fifty-four minutes of Natural Timbre is made up of fifteen new songs - - thirteen Howe originals and two covers: a movement from Vivaldi's The Four Seasons (c. 1717) and an arrangement of a lute piece by 17th-century composer John Dowland. While this seems sufficient for an album of the CD era, the final eleven minutes of Natural Timbre is comprised of reinterpretations of three Yes songs.

This album can genuinely be called a "solo album" - - more than half of the songs feature only Howe, usually playing several tracks of guitars and related instruments. Keyboardist Andrew Jackman appears on two of the Yes songs, and violinist Anna Palm and drummer Dylan Howe (the artist's son) accompany Howe on a handful of others. Some sources credit Jackman as playing the recorder, probably on "Your Move." As was the case with Turbulence, there are no vocals on Natural Timbre.

Many of the songs are pensive, and I'd call more than a few amorphous: in the middle of the album, it almost seems like Howe hit 'record' and started playing a tune he had only sketched out, and then another, and another.

The Yes tunes are the strongest here: Jon Anderson's "Your Move," Chris Squire's "Disillusion" (both from The Yes Album, 1971) and the Relayer (1974) composition "To Be Over," which is credited to Yes as a whole, but was apparently largely written by Howe. Of course, regardless of the official writing credits, these were originally largely Howe-arranged pieces. All three are excellent, but it's not enough, in my opinion, to assign Natural Timbre three stars. To Yes fans, I'd strongly recommend downloading these last tracks. Otherwise, Natural Timbre is inessential.

 Not Necessarily Acoustic by HOWE, STEVE album cover Live, 1994
3.76 | 34 ratings

BUY
Not Necessarily Acoustic
Steve Howe Crossover Prog

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Did Steve Howe never embark on a solo tour until 1993? Apparently so. Not Necessarily Acoustic was recorded on tour to promote Howe's fourth album, The Grand Scheme of Things. All twenty-two pieces are performed by Howe alone, mostly on acoustic guitar.

The song selection is very good; in addition to including Howe's three best solo pieces ("Clap," "Ram," and "Masquerade"), Not Necessarily Acoustic has a cross-section of songs from Howe's career to that point. Interestingly, three of Howe's solo albums - - Grand Scheme (1993), Turbulence (1991), and Beginnings (1975) - - are represented here by just one song each. Four songs from The Steve Howe Album (1979) are also included.

The remaining fifteen songs fall into a variety of categories. Five are from Yes albums - - his solo turns "Clap," "Mood for a Day," and "Masquerade," plus "Roundabout" and "Excerpts from Tales from Topographic Oceans," - - and one, "Sketches in the Sun," is from GTR. Four others are, as far as I know, previously-unreleased Howe compositions ("Second Initial," "Heritage," "Bareback," and "Dorothy"). Finally, five tracks represent a total of nine songs from the 1920s through the 1950s: "Whispering," a pop hit from 1920 revitalized in the early 1960s; "Swedish Rhapsody," a Hugo Alfvén piece which had been arranged by Chet Atkins in the 1950s; "The Glory of Love," a #1 pop hit for Benny Goodman in 1936 and a #1 R&B hit for the Five Keys in 1951; "Arada," one of Federico Moreno Torrobaand's earliest (1926) solo-guitar compositions; and the five-song medley "Country Mix."

Howe's guitar performances are superb, as is to be expected. Nonetheless, the adage about most live albums is true here: the studio versions (at least of the 13 tracks of which Howe had created studio versions) are better. That's even true of the solo acoustic pieces like "Mood for a Day" and "Masquerade;" these seem rushed to me. Meanwhile, the previously unreleased songs don't add much to the proceedings; a palpable sameness begins to creep in before the half-way mark. Since Howe's vocals are always an item of discussion, I'll add that he sings on just three songs (unless I'm forgetting one) and that the vocals aren't great, but neither do they detract from the album as a whole.

The sound is very good, but a minor annoyance (to me, anyway) on Not Necessarily Acoustic is the crowd-noise editing. In several places the audience claps before the listener realizes the song is over. I realize that a performer's silent cues can indicate when a song is over, and I've only been to one Howe solo concert, but the crowd responses seem too perfect, which, at least for me, is a distraction.

Anyway, Not Necessarily Acoustic is a good, enjoyable album, but nothing more. I'd recommend it to Howe fans or to fans of serious, though not classical, solo acoustic guitar.

 Turbulence by HOWE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.37 | 69 ratings

BUY
Turbulence
Steve Howe Crossover Prog

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Turbulence is Steve Howe's third solo album, and his first since The Steve Howe Album in 1979. In addition to Howe, who plays guitar and bass throughout, the primary musicians are drummer Bill Bruford and keyboardist Billy Currie. Howe composed the songs, all of which are instrumentals.

Although this isn't Howe's most ambitious work, it's the best of his first four albums because it's focused on a clear goal - - melodic art rock led by Howe's electric guitar playing. As has been pointed out, much of it sounds like Union, the Yes album released the same year, although they only have one song with any common passages ("Sensitive Chaos" here and Union's "I Would Have Waited Forever"). Bruford, who also appears on Union, is excellent throughout. (Nigel Glockner plays the acoustic drums on two songs here, while Bruford uses what I assume is his period Simmons (electronic) kit.)

Turbulence is a strong offering from Howe, and one I can comfortably recommend to Yes fans as well as fans of instrumental, guitar-based rock.

 The Steve Howe Album by HOWE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.45 | 145 ratings

BUY
The Steve Howe Album
Steve Howe Crossover Prog

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The Steve Howe Album is much as advertised. Four of the songs feature only Howe (I'm counting "Cactus Boogie" here - - Clive Bunker is credited with percussion but it's hard to make out), and on three others, he's backed only by an orchestra, string section, or solo violin.

But to me, the three best tracks are the ones with rock instrumentation. "All's a Chord" is played by Howe with former Yes members Bill Bruford on drums and Patrick Moraz on the piano. It's the only song Howe sings on The Steve Howe Album, and his vocals - - restricted to a one-minute span toward the end - - don't detract from the song. I won't say they're particularly strong, but they are endearing. Only two other songs include drums or keyboards: "Pennants," the album-opener, and "Look Over Your Shoulder." Here the organ and synthesizers are played by Ronnie Leahy and the drums by Yes drummer Alan White. "Look Over Your Shoulder," the other vocal song on the album, is sung very nicely by Claire Hammill. The other two songs on the first side of the vinyl, "Cactus Boogie" and "Diary of a Man Who Vanished," are also very good, making Side One the stronger of the two.

Side Two contains both of the album's solo-guitar pieces, "Meadow Rag" and "Surface Tension." While Howe is capable of composing and playing captivating guitar-only songs (e.g., "Clap," "Ram," "Masquerade"), these aren't among his stronger solo-guitar pieces. Similarly, Howe's arrangement of "The Continental," the Con Conrad - Herb Magidson song originally sung by Ginger Rogers in 1934, is inoffensive but nothing special, other than featuring some nice violin (or is that fiddle) playing.

The final fourteen-plus minutes of The Steve Howe Album is taken by two symphonic pieces, Howe's "Double Rondo" and Vivaldi's "Concerto in D, 2nd Movement." "Double Rondo" probably sounded like a good idea on paper - - a piece to establish Howe as a serious composer for the guitar, perhaps - - but in practice it drags on much too long. Unfortunately, this had already been a problem on "Beginnings," the centerpiece of Howe's previous album. If there was a lesson in Howe's failure to coax a 'mini-epic' out of "Beginnings," "Double Rondo" suggests Howe hadn't put it into practice until sometime after 1979. The Vivaldi piece, which nearly everyone will recognize as a famous lullaby, represents a very strange way to close this album. And while "strange" can be good - - like much of Howe's playing on Yes's Relayer, for example - - "Concerto in D, 2nd Movement" is stylistically disconnected from the rest of the album, even given its placement after the similarly mellow "Double Rondo."

But overall, while The Steve Howe Album is a must-have for fans of Howe and of Yes, it's also an album that many fans of symphonic or guitar-based prog will enjoy.

 Beginnings by HOWE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1975
2.66 | 148 ratings

BUY
Beginnings
Steve Howe Crossover Prog

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

2 stars All things considered, Beginnings is a fair effort from Yes guitarist Steve Howe. Created in parallel with the debut solo albums of each of the other members of the band, Beginnings suffers from the absence of his usual co-musicians Jon Anderson and Chris Squire. But whereas Anderson's Olias of Sunhillow (1976) and Squire's Fish Out of Water (1975) are internally consistent, self-produced works, Howe's lack of experience in overseeing the creation of an album is clear on Beginnings. For decades, the knock on this record has been the quality of Howe's vocals, and while this is an entirely fair criticism, I'll bet it'd be repeated less often if Beginnings's compositions were stronger.

Side One is relatively short (16½ minutes), but relatively strong. It's comprised of "Doors of Sleep," the album-opener and most Yes-like tune here, and three rock tracks, "Australia," "The Nature of the Sea," and "The Lost Symphony." On each of these last three, Howe moves from one style to another, with mixed results. The 22½-minute second side is even weaker. "Will o' the Wisp" and "Pleasure Stole the Night" are in the same vein as the Side One songs, but much less interesting, and "Beginnings" fits the core prog-rock stereotype: unnecessarily long (7:31) and unreasonably pompous (featuring a Patrick Moraz-arranged string and woods ensemble). The closing track, "Break Away From It All," is a return to the mixed-bag quality of, say, The Nature of the Sea" and "The Lost Symphony." I think I hear some echoes of George Harrison here - - not so much in the guitar soloing, but in the composition itself. The only gem on side two is "Ram." Although it's played here with (I think) two guitars, a mandolin, and a washboard, its basis is one of Howe's best solo acoustic-guitar pieces. It's true that "Ram" begins with an interpolation of "Clap" (from The Yes Album), but I disagree that it's not a distinct composition.

Beginnings might have been a good EP. Perhaps, with the collaboration of Anderson or Squire, this LP could have been the groundwork of a very good Eddie Offord-produced Yes spinoff album. It seems that, unlike Anderson, Squire, and Moraz, Howe wasn't yet ready to realize his solo-album ambitions. It's not a poor album, nor unlistenable, but it's really for Steve Howe or Yes fans. For those who don't fit that description, but are interested in Howe's work, I'd suggest starting with The Steve Howe Album or Turbulence.

P.S. Is it just me, or is "Australia" a prototypical Asia song? I'm not saying it sounds anything like Asia, but the stacked, rhythmic vocals and certain instrumental sections seem to represent the building blocks of the Asia sound.

 The Steve Howe Album by HOWE, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.45 | 145 ratings

BUY
The Steve Howe Album
Steve Howe Crossover Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 226

'The Steve Howe Album' is the second solo studio album of Steve Howe, and was released in 1979. As happened with 'Beginnings', Howe invited Yes' members Alan White and Patrick Moraz and the ex-Yes' member Bill Bruford to participate on the album. Beyond them, he also invited the Jethro Tull's drummer Clive Bunker, the female singer Claire Hamill, the keyboardist Ronnie Leahy, the violinist Graham Preskett, an orchestra and a string ensemble.

'The Steve Howe Album' has ten tracks and all songs were written by Steve Howe except 'The Continental' written by Conrad and Magidson and 'Concerto In D (Second Movement)' which was written by the classical composer Antonio Vivaldi. The first track 'Pennants' is a very good song to open the album. It's a simple and melodic song full of electric guitar sound in a rock style with a very alive rhythm, what makes us feel that this is, musically, a different work from his first solo album 'Beginnings'. This is a great and very pleasant instrumental track. The second track 'Cactus Boogie' is the smallest song on the album. It's a very simple, catchy and nice song with a southern boogie sound, as it name implies, and it sounds like old country music. It has nothing special and is probably the weakest song on the album. The third track 'All's A Chord' is a good song very emotional and with a very beautiful guitar work. It's the only song on the album sung by Howe and surprisingly his voice isn't unpleasant and even is emotional and nice too. I think this is because his voice can't be used in a high tone and only should be used as harmony singing. The fourth track 'Diary Of A Man Who Vanished' is another short instrumental nice song and once more in a country style. Despite be very pleasant to hear and featuring nice riffs, I think it's, with 'Cactus Boogie', the second weak point on the album. The fifth track 'Look Over Your Shoulder' is a great and beautiful song composed in a classical style. This is the second track on the album with vocals, but this time we can hear the wonderful and beautiful female voice of the great singer Clair Hamill. This song has also a very good orchestration job. This is, in my humble opinion, the first great moment on the album and one of the best parts on it. Here, we can have Howe at his best. The sixth track 'Meadow Rag' is another short song but this time this is totally an acoustic song. It's a classic acoustic piece of music in the same vein of 'Clap' of 'The Yes Album', 'Mood For A Day' of 'Fragile' or 'Ram' of 'Beginnings'. With this song, Howe demonstrates once more his great virtuosity with acoustic guitars. The seventh track 'The Continental' is another song on the album with 'Cactus Boogie' and 'Diary Of A Man Who Vanished' in a country style. This time, we are in presence of a version of an original song dated from 1934 that appeared in the movie 'The Gay Divorcee'. Howe's version is more in the jazz style and has the presence of Presket on violin. This is also a nice track, but sincerely this is, for me, the third and last weaker song on the album. I really don't like country music. The eighth track 'Surface Tension' is another great acoustic classic guitar piece composed by Howe. It's another song in the vein of 'Clap', 'Mood For A Day', 'Ram' or 'Meadow Rag'. However this is, in my humble opinion, a much better song than 'Meadow Rag' is and represents also with 'Look Over Your Shoulder', the second highest moment on the album. This is, for my taste, one of the most elegant, beautiful and lovely classical guitar pieces of music composed by Howe. The ninth track 'Double Rondo' is a classical piece of music composed by him for an electric guitar accompanied by an entire classical orchestra composed by 59 members and conducted by Andrew Jackman. This is really an incredible and great piece of music that takes the concept of symphonic rock to the extreme. With this piece of music, Howe proves that he could have been a successful classical composer. This is, for me, the third great moment on the album. The tenth and last track 'Concerto In D (Second Movement)' is Howe's interpretation of the classical oeuvre of Antonio Vivaldi, the famous Italian composer of the Baroque period. It's a fantastic and lovely musical version of one of the most beautiful compositions ever made, which ends the album in a very high level. It represents the fourth great musical moment on the album and where Howe pays tribute to one of the best composers of all time, one of his favourites and one of my favourites too.

Conclusion: 'The Steve Howe Album' is considered, by many, the best Howe's solo studio album. Sincerely, I don't know if that is true because I only know 'Beginnings', 'The Steve Howe Album' and 'Natural Timbre'. The only thing I can say is that 'The Steve Howe Album' is much better than his debut 'Beginnings'. One of the most curious things about this album is its balance. This album is quite varied, and Howe shows himself as comfortable in many genres. It's also notable that over half the album is instrumental, and thankfully, Howe almost doesn't sings. It's also true that some of the songs sound a bit dated today and especially I dislike the songs with a country style. However, the album has some great musical moments too. With this album, Howe proved that he was able to make great music outside of Yes.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Thanks to TR for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.