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Billy Sherwood

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Billy Sherwood Universal Garden album cover
1.97 | 3 ratings | 2 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 2015

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Universal Garden (6:02)

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- Billy Sherwood / everything

Thanks to SouthSideoftheSky for the addition
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BILLY SHERWOOD Universal Garden ratings distribution

(3 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(0%)
Good, but non-essential (0%)
Collectors/fans only (67%)
Poor. Only for completionists (33%)

BILLY SHERWOOD Universal Garden reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars A good song from an underrated album

Universal Garden is a song that first appeared as the third track on the Yes album Open Your Eyes. The present digital single by the song's original architect Billy Sherwood is a re-recorded version of the song on which Billy sings and plays all the instruments as well as producing.

1997's Open Your Eyes is a controversial album among Yes fans, but I have always found it a good album. Sherwood had just been promoted to full member of the band at the time (after having contributed to Yes for several years as session man, producer, live back-up musician, and song writer). Billy brought a lot of material to the band at this time, several songs of which were originally intended for a project with Chris Squire which was later to materialize in the form of Conspiracy. Universal Garden was one of these songs and it is one of the best songs from Open Your Eyes and Sherwood is rightly proud it. He also performed the song live-in-the-studio with Chris Squire in Conspiracy (which is documented on the live album and video called Conspiracy Live).

This new version is not terribly different from the Open Your Eyes version, but keeping in mind the song's pre-Yes origin, this newly recorded version is perhaps closer to how the song was originally conceived prior to the recording of Open Your Eyes? I wouldn't say that any of the two versions is better than the other, they are both equally good versions. Since the album version of Universal Garden was never released as a single, and given the special significance of the song for Billy, releasing his own version of the song in 2015 makes sense. Yes fans and fans of Billy Sherwood will find this single an interesting listen.

This digital single consists of only a single track and there is thus no b-side included. This is a bit of shame as it would have been interesting to hear more. Hopefully, Billy will revisit more Yes songs in the future.

Review by patrickq
2 stars Billy Sherwood releases albums pretty regularly, so it seemed odd that he'd put out a single-only release. Then again, this is a song he'd already done with Yes, so maybe that's why. Actually it hadn't occurred to me that "Universal Garden," originally from Open Your Eyes, had originated as a Sherwood song; Jon Anderson really made it his own song on Open Your Eyes back in 1997. I guess it's likely that Sherwood wrote it with Anderson in mind.

If I recall correctly, among the songs on Open Your Eyes, "Universal Garden" was one of those better-received by Yes fans, but to me it was just average; I preferred "Fortune Seller," "Open Your Eyes," and the title track. This solo version is better in some ways than the original; I prefer Sherwood's guitar work here, for example. On the other hand, Sherwood just can't hit the high notes like Anderson, nor does he have Anderson's expressiveness. Overall, the 2015 version of "Universal Garden" is still the same song that didn't really impress me in 1997.

I'm glad Billy Sherwood is back in Yes, and, to echo another reviewer, I'd welcome his solo takes on additional Yes songs.

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