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Various Artists (Tributes) - Tales From Yesterday: A View From The South Side Of The Sky (Yes tribute) CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Tributes)


Various Genres

3.11 | 48 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Wonderous songs. . .in another way

The temptation with tribute albums is to dismiss them as second rate facsimiles, and in general terms such an approach is well advised. This collection however gains credibility through a) the Roger dean cover, b) The presence of Steve Howe and Patrick Moraz, c) Sleeve notes by the editors of the Yes fanzine "Notes from the edge" and d) The top names in the line up.

There is no house band here, this is a collection of interpretations by a diverse range of bands and artists. The tracks are from Yes's early days, starting from "Time and a word" and going up to the "Tormato" album. The common denominator between the artists is that they are signed to the Magna Carta label. This is one of a number of projects by that label which uses tributes to well know bands to promote their own artists.

Robert Berry kicks things off with a transformed version of "Roundabout". Berry is probably best known for his brief time with Emerson and Palmer in the band "3". Here he boldly removes the familiar intro altogether slowing things down slightly and giving the song a more powerful atmosphere. Steve Howe adds a guitar "cadenza" but everything else you hear is performed by Berry.

Stanley Snail may not be a familiar band name, but when you notice that the line up includes Nick D'Virgilio (Spock's Beard), Mike Keneally and Kevin Gilbert, it takes on a super-group connotation. Their rendition of "Siberian Khatru" is reasonably faithful but with a Flower Kings like instrumental middle section.

Steve Morse performs a fine, if unadventurous version of Howe's "Mood for a day". Magellan offer a decent take on "Don't kill the whale", while bringing out the heavy side of that song to the full. Trent Gardner adds a Wakeman like synth solo to the track. Steve Howe returns to pay tribute to himself further on "Turn of the century". The vocals here are provided by Annie Haslam of Renaissance, her fine tones being perfect for this gentle number.

Shadow Gallery's chosen track "Release release" is the second here from "Tormato". The pitch of singer Mike Baker's voice is similar to that of Jon Anderson this version as a whole being rather superfluous. Billy Sherwood's band World Trade on the other hand present a tasteful cover of "Wonderous stories". While the vocals are once again Anderson like, the arrangement here is thoughtful and emotional.

Cairo, a band known for their Yes influences, take on "South side of the sky" from Fragile. It a decent enough version but, as might be expected, sticks reasonably close to the script. Patrick Moraz pays tribute to his own involvement with the band by performing the "Soon" section of "Gates of delerium" on solo piano. The rendition is highly effective, Moraz resisting any urge to jazz up the piece.

Enchant's delivery of "Changes" is best described as "safe". It is not one of my favourite Yes songs anyway, and this rendition does nothing to change that. Former Yes guitarist Peter Banks transforms "Astral Traveller" into a virtuoso guitar solo, perhaps in order to demonstrate that his replacement by Steve Howe was not the necessity it was deemed to be. It is certainly an entertaining piece, and possibly the best track on this album. Robert Berry (see the first track) provides all the instrumental support.

Steve Morse returns for a second solo slot with "Clap", unfortunately still misnamed as "The clap" on the sleeve. This effectively acts as an introduction to the closing "Starship trooper" performed by Adam Wakeman's band Jeronimo Road. Damian Wilson (of Threshold, who also appears on the "Wonderous stories" tribute album) provides the vocals here, with Rick Wakeman getting a name check in the credits for no explained reason. The version here is based on the live Yes version on "Keys to ascension" which includes the speeded up conclusion.

In all, as tribute albums go, this one has an element of class usually missing from such affairs. I could not describe it as essential by any means, although Peter Banks' reworking of "Astral Traveller" does come close to that accolade.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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