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Old 02-07-2023, 04:26 PM   #41 (permalink)
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I disagree. Tales absolutely has hooks for days or I wouldn't like it as much as I do. It slaps.
There are hooks in Tales, and some of them are pretty good, but they're just part of a stream of many different hooks, non-hooks and other musical adventures running into each other. In fact, when I was listening to it the other day, I was thinking that certain passages might have made good standalone songs if they had isolated them and developed them a bit. But instead they're just part of a large stream of stuff going by. Which has it's own appeal, but that's not going to appeal to your average Joe with a short attention span looking for standard rock/pop songs.
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Old 02-08-2023, 09:32 AM   #42 (permalink)
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Album title: The Yes Album
Year: 1971
Personnel: Jon Anderson (Vocals, some percussion), Chris Squire (bass, vocals), Tony Kaye (Organ, piano, Moog), Bill Bruford (Drums, percussion), Steve Howe (Guitars, Vachalia, Vocals)
Track by track:

“Yours is No Disgrace”

What I like about this: Nice long guitar-and-keyboard driven intro, very nascent prog and really sounds like the kind of thing Yes would after this become known for. They may say, also, that size doesn’t matter, but I think in prog rock it often does, and this runs for over nine minutes, the first Yes track to do so at this point. Those by-now-expected vocal harmonies are in evidence, and for not the first time, but close to it, I can hear a really cohesive tune here, as if everyone is pulling in the one direction. I don’t mean the other albums to date were not like that, but of them, I really only remember the closer and title to Time and a Word. This is already, to me, a quantum leap forward and I love it. Some very good bass work from Chris Squire too, the better because of its unobtrusiveness. Great contributions from Steve Howe, his first real work with the band in a studio context. For a nine-minute track this doesn’t drag for an instant, always a good sign.
What I don’t like about this: Not a thing.

“Clap”

What I like about this: Not really a lot; bit self-indulgent considering Howe had only joined. I suppose it’s good if you want to hear Howe wank about, but otherwise no.
What I don’t like about this: It’s a bit throwaway, also has an unfortunate title.

“Starship Trooper”

What I like about this: Powerful guitar opening, which must surely have influenced Alex Lifeson, and it’s a kind of suite, too, broken into three parts, the first called “Life Seeker”, the second “Disillusion” and the third “Würm”. Interesting that each part is written by a different member, in order, Anderson, Squire and Howe.
What I don’t like about this: Not enough keyboard for me.

“I’ve Seen All Good People”

What I like about this: Another suite, great acapella opening, a real vehicle for Anderson’s voice.
What I don’t like about this: Again not too much in the way of ivories here.

“A Venture”

What I like about this: Good piano solo.
What I don’t like about this: Bit too poppy and basic.

“Perpetual Change”

What I like about this: Kaye finally gets to shine, and he does not waste the opportunity.
What I don’t like about this: Again, a bit too guitar-centric really.


Bonus Tracks

None, only single versions of the tracks already here. Not interested in that.


Comments:

The album that, in another dimension or reality, was never made, as Yes could very well have ended a few months earlier. Their van was involved in a head-on collision at Basingstoke in November 1970, resulting in all of the band ending up in hospital and Tony Kaye with his leg in plaster. Could have been the end, but in fact became the beginning: Yes’s third album broke the chart wide open for them, punching all the way to number four, and even scorching the Billboard Hot 100 across the water, where it scored a very respectable number 40 spot. After this, of course, the phenomenon would be unstoppable.

The first time, for me, that Yes begin to sound like a progressive rock band, and you can definitely see the legend beginning to peek out here from among all the more or less standard rock and covers that populated the first two albums. There’s a sense of something great being born here, and while I question titling two albums so similarly, I can see the point in one way, that this is really the first REAL Yes album, and therefore it deserves its title. Not just A Yes album, not ANOTHER Yes album, not the third Yes album, but THE Yes album. From here, everything changes, not just for Yes, but for the entire genre of progressive rock. The first side is pure class, although nobody likes to get the Clap. Sorry, song is called “Clap” isn’t it? “Crap”? No that’s unfair. I think it’s a pointless bit of noodling though. Sandwiched in between “Yours is No Disgrace” and “Starship Trooper” it sounds, to me, an embarrassment.

Order is soon restored though in Yes’s first suite, the three-part “Starship Trooper”, which interestingly runs for just about its entire length without any big keyboard solo, restraint on the part of Tony Kaye, or was it just that there was no place for arpeggios and glissandos when the other three wrote it? He’s there, for sure, but mostly with a sort of organ backing. Wonder if he felt left out? Future classics continue with the acapella intro to “I’ve Seen All Good People”, another suite, this time in two parts, a joint Anderson/Squire venture, again with each writing one part. The opening part, “Your Move”, sort of reminds me of the opening of “Brother of Mine” on the Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe album ten years later. Not too surprisingly, it’s a vocalfest for Anderson and the first part is slow and measured, with kind of minimal instrumentation for much of it, before Kaye’s organ comes blasting in, and there are some flutes in there too I think.

“All Good People” then kicks out the stays in a sort of boppy uptempo rocker with plenty of guitar, again I’d have to say poor old Tony is being brushed aside a little here; definitely the Chris Squire and Steve Howe show. In fact this theory is supported, that not taking part in most of the writing there is no real role for his keys; not that they’re not there, but they’re not upfront and there are no keyboard solos, the only one being on the opener on which, you guessed it, he has a writing credit. Anderson writes “A Venture” solo, the only track on the album where he writes the whole thing, but it’s short and to be perfectly honest a little throwaway for my money. Reminds me more of some sixties band like the Kinks or someone, maybe very early Floyd or even CSNY. Meh. At least Kaye gets to break out his pianner and does a fine job, otherwise I could live without this.

We end then on another epic, nearly nine minutes of “Perpetual Change”, again quite guitar-centric with a big solo from Howe at the start, and once again we’re looking at the vocalist and the bassman as co-songwriters, so Tony can just stay there in the background I imagine. After the initial blast of guitar it settles down to a soft, pastoral-ish almost ballad, more guitar which then morphs into another heavy solo as Howe certainly makes no bones about showing the fans he is the man - Banks is gone, forget him: there’s a new sheriff in town. And he takes no prisoners. Okay well I was wrong: Kaye definitely finally gets given his head here as he blasts out a superb solo in the sixth minute, Howe still trying to edge in over him.

Rating: 8 /10
Yes or No? Yes!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Y6oPS4aLk8

Okay then, next one is the big one! Word to the wise: soaking the rags in kerosene helps the torches keep burning longer. Nothing worse than being the one person in the angry crowd whose damned torch flickers out! See ya then!
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Old 02-08-2023, 10:24 AM   #43 (permalink)
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This is my favorite Yes album. It's easily the most listenable to me though I do like Fragile a lot as well. 1971 was such an incredible year for albums, wasn't it?
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Old 02-08-2023, 12:17 PM   #44 (permalink)
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I couldn't say it's my favourite yet (well, of the 70s - Big Generator, 90125 and Union are my favourites overall) but it's certainly my favourite so far.
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Old 02-08-2023, 04:14 PM   #45 (permalink)
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I've Seen All Good People is one of my favorites Yes songs. The way it opens and develops is just perfect.
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Old 02-11-2023, 08:26 AM   #46 (permalink)
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You can't have ups without downs - you need the valleys to define the mountains, or so some conventional wisdom goes, I believe. With Yes, you need the louder instrumental parts to really bring out the quiet Jon Anderson moments. But those quiet parts are what I like best about Yes, and on this album there aren't enough of them imo, so this is my least-revisited Yes album.
Highlight: Your Move. Low point: Würm
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Old 02-11-2023, 08:53 PM   #47 (permalink)
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You can't have ups without downs - you need the valleys to define the mountains, or so some conventional wisdom goes, I believe. With Yes, you need the louder instrumental parts to really bring out the quiet Jon Anderson moments. But those quiet parts are what I like best about Yes, and on this album there aren't enough of them imo, so this is my least-revisited Yes album.
Highlight: Your Move. Low point: Würm
Yeah, when I said I've Seen All Good People was one of my favorite Yes songs, I'm mostly referring to the "Your Move" part.
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Old 02-11-2023, 10:00 PM   #48 (permalink)
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Würm is my favorite moment on the whole album, the build up is so intense and that guitar solo kicks ass, c'mon.
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Old 02-12-2023, 12:26 AM   #49 (permalink)
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For sure. And the Yessongs version is even better IMO, the addition of Wakeman's gnarly synth solo is a *chef's kiss* moment.
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Old 02-12-2023, 07:29 AM   #50 (permalink)
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Out of deference to your opinions, I gave Würm another listen*, but it still didn't do it for me, I'm afraid. I feel like the introductory section goes on too long and then, when it finally comes in, the guitar solo doesn't quite give the explosive lift I'd like to hear. It's like that time when you're a kid, intently watching a firework that turns out to be a dud.
Sorry, guys.

* in fact two listens: a live Yessongs one and The Yes Album one. It may be my impaired hearing or my cheap laptop loudspeakers, but I didn't really notice much syn soloing on either version.
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