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Chris Squire - Run with the Fox (Chris Squire & Alan White) CD (album) cover


Chris Squire


Symphonic Prog

3.01 | 20 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars You can skip this paragraph if you don't want to hear about my personal history with the excellent 1981 single 'Run with the Fox' / 'Return of the Fox' by then ex-Yes members Chris Squire and Alan White. I'm not sure if I'd ever heard of this single before seeing it for sale at a used record shop in 1990 or so.* But I snatched it right up, and rushed home to the record player. The song was completely fantastic, and quickly became one of my favorite Yes-related songs. The record itself was a very special item until the summer of 1991, when "Run with the Fox" (the a-side) was included as track thirteen on Disc 3 of Yesyears, Yes's first retrospective box set. Five or six years later, I was driving outside of Cleveland a few days prior to Christmas, and for the first and only time, I heard "Run with the Fox" on the radio.** Then, in the early 2000s, fabled Yes fan Steve Sullivan posted a clean .mp3 of 'Return of the Fox,' the b-side; and most recently, in 2018, remastered versions of both sides were included as bonus tracks on a "deluxe" reissue of Squire's 1975 solo album Fish Out of Water. For the past fifteen (or so) years - - since my first iPod - - 'Run with the Fox' has been my most-played song of the Christmas season.

The music which forms the basis of both sides is an old English carol known as "On Christmas Night All Christians Sing" or "Sussex Carol," while the lyrics were written primarily or entirely by preėminent prog-rock lyricist Peter Sinfield. And Squire pal Andrew Pryce Jackman created the orchestral parts - - all of which in essence means that neither Squire nor White necessarily composed any part of the single. For his part, Squire included versions of both 'Run with the Fox' and "Sussex Carol" on his 2007 Christmas album, which makes clear how much the former owes the latter.

The a-side, 'Run with the Fox,' is the vocal version, with Squire singing both leads and harmonies. This side also includes an orchestra and choir - - for the full symphonic-prog effect. The flipside, 'Return of the Fox,' is an instrumental except for a few scattered chorus leads sung by Nikki Squire (Squire's then-wife, later of Esquire). The vocal line, opening flute part, and choir chords are played on a synthesizer by David Greenslade (of Greenslade, naturally). There's no choir or orchestra on this side. The rhythm tracks on the two sides - - White's drumkit, Squire's bass, and the piano, tuned percussion, and sleigh bells - - vary only slightly.

And man, those rhythm tracks! White joined Yes in 1972, but when Squire recorded Fish Out of Water three years later, ex- Yes drummer Bill Bruford (White's predecessor) was the sole drummer. Similarly, Squire didn't appear on White's 1976 solo album. But by 1981 White and Squire had become inseparable, both in the recording studio and in terms of their interlocking grooves, as made plain on Yes's Drama. White's drumming has never been especially idiosyncratic, but on this single he sounds exactly like Alan White, especially his use of the tom-toms and the kick during his fill-ins. Meanwhile, Squire pulls out a fair number of his usual bass-guitar tricks, although 'Run with the Fox' doesn't have a signature bass line ą la 'Tempus Fugit' or 'Heart of the Sunrise.' Instead, the rhythmic hook is the piano part (possibly played by Squire, but just as possibly White).

And as good as the rhythm, orchestra, and choir are, 'Run with the Fox' may represent Squire's best vocal performance ever. Its closest competitor, in my book, is 'You By My Side' from Fish Out of Water.

In sum, the a-side is one of my all-time favorites, and it's an essential part of any serious Yes or Chris Squire collection. I'd recommend 'Run with the Fox' to fans of crossover-prog and symphonic pop as well, even including those who aren't fans of Christmas music. If you dig it, you might want to check out Fish Out of Water or Esquire's self-titled first album. [4 stars on the 4-star scale for singles - - see my review page for scale]


*This was Atlantic K11695, the UK release with the small center hole and the picture sleeve with the photo of the fox head on the front. In the intervening years I saw a few other copies for cheap, and picked up the German release (with the painting of a fox running in a nighttime winter scene in the cover) and the US promo. As far as I know the music was identical on each record.

**I recall this as a WMMS broadcast, but that may be incorrect, as MMS had (temporarily) switched formats from AOR to Alternative during the years the event was most likely to have occurred.

patrickq | 4/5 |


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