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Yes - Yesyears CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.30 | 125 ratings

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3 stars I had just bought the excellent "The Return of the Manticore", being that I rarely listen other ELP albums than Trilogy, BSS and Welcome Back My friends, I found it worth the US$ 70.00 that had to pay, so I said why not go with "Yesyears" if it's only 10 bucks more expensive and I'm more a Yes fan?

When you are a fan of a band, probably you have their best material, so you expect rare versions or BBC sessions, not just the same great songs you have heard over and over for decades, and except for Disk III the rest is very uneven and with an incoherent selection o songs, sometimes leaving the essential ones to privilege some that are pretty forgettable, still I don't regret buying it..

One thing I must say is that the set is in perfect order, so it's easy to comment it chronologically, but I will focus in the rare themes rather than in the well known ones that we all know and have been reviewed "ad nauseam".

Disk I

"Something's Coming" is an adaptation of a Leonard Bernstein's track from West Side story originally released in UK as a B side of "Sweetness" in 1969, not a great track but decent enough for a band that's starting.

Then we jump to track N 4 "Then" from a BBC session previously unreleased, we all know the song from "Time and a Word" and "Yesterdays" but it's good to have some rare material, the same goes for the following song "Everydays" from the same session and album, never liked this track too much, a bit like bland Jazz with Jon's voice more annoying than ever..

The other tracks of the disk are classics like "Starship Trooper" and "Yours is no Disgrace" and lesser known ones like "No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Required" but all can be found in the studio albums released and owned by most of us.

Good selection for the first Disk, but some classics as "Dear Father" are missing, still pretty good for a listen once in a while.

Disk II

Now, this disk is a complete disappointment, I honestly haven't paid US$ 80.00 to listen the studio versions of "Roundabout", "Close to the Edge", "Heart of the Sunrise", "Ritual" and Sound Chaser, I already have the albums. Don't they have previously unreleased sessions or rare versions?

Not even the selection is perfect because Gates of Delirium is far superior IMHO, so they didn't went for the best selection but for what the space allowed..

Well, at least "America" is always refreshing, the tracks are good but not for a Box Set in which we ask something more for the cost.

Disk III

Starts with the most boring track in all Yes history, the weak ballad soon, I don't understand what's all the fuzz made with this track, I find it not only depressing bbut tedious.

Despite the weak beginning, the album is probably the strongest one of the box.

"Amazing Grace" previously unreleased Squire's arrangement is like a breeze of fresh air, something never heard before, that's what I pay for.

"Vevey Parts I & II" are simply brilliant, Wakeman and Anderson collaboration is very proficient, the choice for the organ is perfect, another high point, but I believe they should had placed one after the other.

"Montreux's Theme" also previously unreleased is too simple and mainstream oriented for what I expect from Yes, despite this, it's relaxing and new.

"Money" is an unusual song for Yes, sounds more like a Rabin era theme than as an Anderson, Squire, Wakeman & White collaboration, makes me remember some weak Queen themes.

Abilane is Howe song previously unreleased, not great but good enough and with some great guitar moments, to end with the rare tracks, we jump to "I'm Down" which sounds strange in the voice of Jon trying to Rock, but can be listened, again the guitar is simply brilliant.

It was a great idea to add songs from Drama (Why in hell don't they include Machine Messiah?), usually left behind because Jon is not in the vocals, a very solid disk, is the one I listen more.

Disk IV

Now, this would be a forgettable album if it wasn't for the last three tracks, "And You And I" Live, a previously unreleased live version of "Heart of the Sunrise" and "Love Conquers All" also unreleased previously by Squire and Billy Sherwood, not the strongest material, but is an example of what they can do, and the arrangements are very strong.

The rest is Rabin era material for which I wouldn't had paid a dime.

Summarizing, "Yesyears" is a very uneven Box Set with some strong moments and others pretty forgettable, the first and probably last Yes Box Set I ever bought, because I need no more of this, the really essential Yes material is in their first albums.

The presentation deserves an special paragraph, the Box is extremely beautiful, and the LP size booklet is simply amazing. with excellent photos and good information about Yes history and discography, gives more value to your investment.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 3/5 |


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