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Yes - Going For The One CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.03 | 1934 ratings

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4 stars Yes's eighth studio album, 1977's GOING FOR THE ONE, was their last truly essential work. All serious followers of this first-rank prog band should have this great disc in their collections!

After the meandering excesses of TALES FROM TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS, and the short stint with Patrick Moraz behind the keyboards for the atypical, harder-rocking RELAYER, GOING FOR THE ONE represented a compelling return to form. Keyboard virtuoso Rick Wakeman, who had left in disgust after TFTO, was back in the band, and the writing approach - in contrast to that of TALES, which had largely been a Jon Anderson project -- was now much more communal. As a replacement for the ousted Moraz (who had simply gotten too big for his britches), Wakeman was originally intended to be a mere well-paid session man, but he was enticed back into the fold fulltime because, quote: "(Yes) were writing songs again." The positive atmosphere was further enhanced by the band's decision to record in scenic Montreux, Switzerland, with their families around them, and the Alps towering majestically in the background.

The welcome presence of Wakeman, the reinvigorated group spirit, and the renewed attention to songwriting together give the grateful listener five of the stronger selections of Yes's classic era. RELAYER's hard rocking sensibility is back on the opening title track, which features some stirring slide from guitarist Howe, and sounds unlike anything else in the Yes catalogue to this point (though it would herald a harder, tighter future sound).

Next up, "Turn of the Century" is a pretty, sentimental piece that tells (in relatively straight-forward fashion -- who says Anderson's lyrics are always obtuse?) the tragic tale of a sculptor and his lady, who dies before he can finish immortalizing her in clay. Still, the power of undying love lifts the artist out of his despair, and he finishes the project both as a tribute, and a means to reconnect with his dear departed. Feeling piano, and some stirring acoustic and electric guitar help to make this one a winner. (If this song doesn't at all move you, perhaps you've never really loved, or mourned a lost loved one - in that case, just play "Going for the One" twice!)

"Parallels" finds Wakeman rocking out on a genuine church organ, in company with some terrific trademark bass runs from Squire, and driving guitar and drums from Howe and White. Anderson's vocals and lyrics, in turn, are hale, hearty and triumphal, and it all comes gloriously together in six tight and truly memorable minutes of vintage Yes. All committed fans are strictly enjoined to TURN IT UP at this juncture! Fabulous!

Beauty returns on the sparkling "Wondrous Stories," which won the band some airplay, and their biggest UK hit to that date. Timeless, uplifting and essential!

Finally, the album closes with the near-sixteen minute "Awaken." This epic is the highpoint of an already excellent album, and gives us all we might want in a longer Yes piece: mystic, yearning lyrics, time changes with alternating sections of delicacy and thunderous power, and some of Howe's most blistering axe work ever. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Yes, and this is Progressive Rock! (You'll have to turn it up again here -- if your speakers are equal to the task!)

(Note: I have the recent Rhino re-issue, which sounds great, has all of the original artwork, lyrics and photos, insightful new liner notes, and seven bonus tracks. Some of this bonus material is pretty good (yet it's not essential, by any means), but the bulk of it is rehearsals and bare-bones working versions of the album's fully-realized songs. These might be of interest to some (musicians, maybe?), but I find them to be mere curiosities that don't merit repeated listening: the album proper is by far the real draw.)

I don't know if I can justifiably label this an absolute "masterpiece," and the equal of the standard-setting CLOSE TO THE EDGE or FRAGILE, but it's darned close! If you consider yourself a real Yes fan, and you don't own a copy of GOING FOR THE ONE, what the heck are you waiting for? This is "wondrous" stuff, and would be "an excellent addition" to any prog lover's library.

Peter | 4/5 |


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