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Yes - Yes CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.26 | 1383 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Review Nš 144

Yes was founded in 1968 by vocalist Jon Anderson and bassist Chris Squire. In May 1968, Squire met Anderson in a Soho nightclub, where Anderson was working with a band. As they had a common interest in vocal harmony they began working together. After a while, both decided they needed a new drummer and Bill Bruford was recruited from an ad in Melody Maker. As the previous guitarist Clive Bailey left the band, Peter Banks joined them and soon another new member also joined the group, the keyboardist Tony Kaye. After the entry of Tony Kaye, the band was complete and they adopted the name Yes. The name was suggested by Banks, with the argument that the word would be highlighted in advertising posters. According to Anderson, the name was accepted because it represented a very positive word.

'Yes' is the eponymous debut studio album of Yes and was released in 1969. It's considered as one of the first progressive rock albums in the history of the progressive rock music. Although Yes' debut album isn't exactly what they're remembered most for, but still is a decent piece of proto-prog. From quite obvious reasons this is also their most 60's influenced album. Two of the tracks, 'Beyond And Before' and 'Sweetness' dates back from the time when Anderson and Squire were in a band called Mabel Greer's Toyshop. Some of the Yes' trademarks can already been heard here, like the falsetto vocal harmonies and the powerful and distinctive bass playing of Squire. But, this is of course a much more basic and rougher album than their following symphonic progressive rock classics from the 70's.

'Yes' has eight tracks. The first track 'Beyond And Before' written by Squire and Clive Bailey is a good opener for the album. It's a very interesting song with good drumming, a very nice distorted guitar work, and here, we can clearly hear the typical sound of the bass of Squire. The song has also some harmony and beauty, and represents the beginning of Yes' sound. The second track 'I See You' written by Jim McGuinn and David Crosby is the first song on the album that wasn't written by the band. It's a cover of a song of The Birds and I must confess that this is a brilliant version made by Yes of the original song. This is, for me, the really great surprise on the album. Banks is at his best and did a fantastic guitar work and the voice of Anderson goes beautifully on this song. The third track 'Yesterday And Today' written by Anderson is the shortest song on the album. This is a sweet and beautiful acoustic ballad with some nice acoustic guitar and keyboard sounds in the background of Anderson's voice. This is really a very beautiful song. The fourth track 'Looking Around' written by Anderson and Squire is a song that, despite be one of the first songs of the group, we can call it a typical classic Yes' song. It's a song with some musical progressivity and where Banks and Kaye have very good musical contributions. However, the vocal parts are the most memorable due to the great and nice choral work. The fifth track 'Harold Land' written by Anderson, Bruford and Squire is a truly progressive song that reminds me strongly some of the first songs of Genesis. This is, in my humble opinion, one of the first progressive songs ever made. It has everything that should have. It has a pretty vocal performance, nice guitar, great keyboards, good bass line and a fantastic drum work. This is one of the highlights of the album and one of my favourite songs too. The sixth track 'Every Little Thing' written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney is the second song on the album that wasn't written by the band. It's a cover of a song of The Beatles and is also a very good version of the original song. This is a track with great drumming work, a good bass line and fantastic guitar work that opens the song with a great solo. This is a song that shows the great capacity of the band to transform songs in their own way. The seventh track 'Sweetness' written by Anderson, Bailey and Squire is another sweet, nice and pretty ballad. It has good vocal performance, nice background keyboards and good drumming work too. However, this is one of the weakest tracks on the album. The eighth track 'Survival' written by Anderson is, in my humble opinion, with 'Harold Land', one of the two highest points on the album. This is, probably, the best song on the album. It has beautiful vocals, great bass, catchy keyboards, good guitar and nice drumming. It has also beautiful lyrics and great choral work. This is a wonderful musical piece and an excellent example of the early progressive rock songs. This is a great and perfect way to close the album.

Conclusion: 'Yes' is a good debut album of the group. Despite two of the songs are covers and only two other songs, 'Harold Land' and 'Survival', can be considered great, this is a very interesting debut musical work, because even the cover songs are good and interesting versions of the original songs. If we compare this debut studio album with other debut studio albums of some other great bands from the 70's, we can say that 'Yes' is better than 'From Genesis To Revelation' of Genesis, is as good as 'The Aerosol Grey Machine' of Van Der Graaf Generator but is far away from being as good as 'In The Court Of The Crimson King' of King Crimson. So, all in all, 'Yes' marked, definitely, a very decent and solid starting point for a band that would become one of the greatest progressive rock bands ever.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 3/5 |


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