Tag Archives: Yes

Weekly Vinyl – Yes Songs

7 Jul

Yessongs
Yes
(1973)

This is a great live album of Yes performing at the height of its mastery.
How do I know this was the pinnacle of YES as a band? Their drummer Bill Bruford said so – he left Yes at this point because he felt that the band achieved all it could artistically and went on to join King Crimson. Bruford appears on three tracks of this album and if you listen well you can hear his distinct drumming. Yes had a few interesting compositions after this album but in reality, looking back, this was their peak.

What I love about this album is that it is rather unpolished – it is a good depiction of what they most likely sounded like live. Some of the mixes are muddled. There are a few instances where you can hear that the band is not 100 per-cent together – this should be expected as they are playing with a new drummer. I love this as it is raw and real. Prog rock is supposed to be refined symphony-like perfection. This album shows that it is still rock.

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Weekly Vinyl – More Yes

16 Oct

Close to the Edge
Yes
(1972)
SONY DSC

Choosing albums at random from my stack is kind of like rolling dice. Sometimes a run of the same numbers happens.
I’ve been listening to a lot of Yes music lately. August it was Fragile and September it was Wakeman’s Six Wives of Henry VIII.
So now it’s Close to the Edge.
I like this album as it has only three songs and they are all long. The shortest being just under nine minutes. The music here is epic and is pure undiluted progressive rock. Each song is a sweeping opus more akin to classical music – but the mood is of jazz, rock and experimentation.
It is probably the best Yes album as the music is solid and focused and it is clear that the band eschewed any attempt of making a hit song but concentrated of creating an aural masterpiece.
It is a great album but I hope I don’t pull out any more Yes albums for a while.

Weekly Vinyl – Six Wives

18 Sep

The Six Wives of Henry VIII
Rick Wakeman
(1973)
SONY DSC
My record collection is not in any order. I am not as fastidious or obsessive as John Cusacks’ character in the movie High Fidelity. So that being the case – choosing records at random from a random pile will sometimes give you similar things.
This album is an example of that. I selected Rick Wakeman’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Yes’ Fragile rather recently.
This is full blown pompous progressive rock here. It is overblown and grandiose. But it is clever and to the point. There are six tracks here – each dedicated/inspired by one of the wives of Henry VIII. None of the six tracks is too long to be overbearing – the longest clocks in at just under eight minutes. This makes the album very friendly and accessible with no arduous and painful noodling. The musical concepts are crisp and well developed. There is great variation in the themes and the music is lively.
Yes, the music has prog rock’s overblown pomposity but it works so well here that one just hears the great music.

Weekly Vinyl – Fragile

7 Aug

Fragile
Yes
(1971)
YFrag
This might have been the album that got me really into progressive rock. Perhaps it was – I’m not sure. One of the first things that I could play on the guitar was the beginningof the song “Roundabout” – a big hit from this album.
Being a neophyte guitarist and trying to learn that song completely almost destroyed me. Try doing the syncopated rhythm of Em – F#m – G and then all the other riffs and then singing in a different rhythm. I really appreciated the virtuosity of these musicians.
I continued to listen to YES through their glory years and a bit after. As for the guitar – I discovered Neil Young, punk and other more easily playable music. (For the record, I can still muddle through parts of “Roundabout” ant the Steve Howe track “Mood for a Day” on guitar. When pressed and in the mood that is…)
This is a fantastic album, with elements of rock, jazz, classical (“Cans and Brahms” – arranged by Rick Wakeman). The album was fusion at its finest and perhaps the pinnacle of progressive rock.

Must note that the bassist, Chris Squire, passed away at the end of June this year. He was the only musician that was with Yes through all its line-up changes. RIP