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Jon Anderson - 3 Ships CD (album) cover


Jon Anderson


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2.56 | 112 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Voyage of the Rochdaleite

So, are the three ships some mystical reference to three lengthy footnotes in a topographic poem? Has the musically complex mind of Anderson come up with another new concept which we shall struggle to get inside of to understand the real message?

Well no actually. This is in fact a Christmas album, the three ships reference coming from the song which goes "I saw three ships come sailing in, on Christmas day in the morning". Anderson may perhaps have been inspired by Greg Lake's surprise success in the singles chart with "I believe in father Christmas", or he may just have wanted to lighten up" a bit.

The album, which was released in 1985, is dominated by Anderson's vocals (of course) and the keyboards of Rhet Lawrence. The latter may be slightly surprising, given Anderson's work with Vangelis around that time. Indeed, Vangelis even writes one of the tracks. A number of well known musicians also contribute, including sometime Yes man, Trevor Rabin.

There is a rather strange mixture of traditional Christmas carols, and Anderson composed originals with a festive and/or peace on earth theme. The tracks are mixed together in such a way that one minute you're singing along with a song you have know since childhood, the next you are entirely unfamiliar with the piece.

On "O Holy night" Anderson duets with Sandra Crouch. While their rendition is pleasant, it does not really capture the majestic power of this carol as well as it might. Anderson is undoubtedly a great vocalist, but his voice is not really suited to such a song. The best track on the album is "Where were you", an Anderson composition in the style of "I believe in Father Christmas", with some excellent keyboards giving it a powerful feel. In a rather indulgent moment (on his part), Anderson's daughter "sings" the final track, "Jingle bells".

While there are occasional hints of "Olias of Sunhillow" (honest!), this is as far from a prog album as you'll find on this site. It is however, a pleasant, well presented Christmas album. Season's greetings!

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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